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Featured Artist: Tri-Cities native Katherine Thrower does a bit of everything

Jonathan Roberts • Jun 3, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Katherine Thrower might be one of the most versatile artists you’ll meet. Whether it’s fine art, mural painting, photography or makeup, she does it all — and then some.

Currently working on a series of murals in Wise County, Virginia, Thrower can “find beauty in anything” and finds a lot of inspiration for her art in “found objects.” She’s not big on brands, and prefers to use whatever she feels is best for the job, saying “it really just depends on what you’re doing or what you need it for.”

Born in Southwest Virginia, she came to Johnson City to attend East Tennessee State University at the behest of her high school art teacher, who attended ETSU himself and thought she had a lot of potential in art and that she needed to go somewhere other than her hometown.

She graduated from ETSU with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with a dual concentration in Sculpting and Painting in 2011, and initially thought she might have to leave the area to have a successful art career, but soon realized her versatility would allow her to make it work here.  

You do a lot of different types of art, but what got you started in them?

Well, it’s what people want. Almost everything I do is because it’s what people want. Obviously when I was a kid I was really into arts and crafts and when I was young me and my friends would paint each others nails and, lo and behold, Kat’s really good at painting nails so then it became ‘Kat, paint everyone’s nails’ and then it went from that to me doing makeup and hair for everyone in high school and even in elementary school they wanted me to paint a mural. People ask me if I can do something and, more than likely, if I feel I can do it, I’m really excited about it. … People come to me because they know I’m artistic.

Do you have a favorite type of art or medium?

I don’t think that any of them are more satisfying than the others because the act of creating, finishing and completing — I get a lot of satisfaction out of making people happy. It’s not that I prefer one form over the other, it’s the experience that I really enjoy and the people I work with.

What’s your favorite thing about being an artist?

My goal when I was graduating from ETSU was to not be like everyone else doing the same thing every single day. That’s one thing about me — I’m not very good at habits or doing something ritually and I think that’s because I’m always changing; I’m very chameleon-esque. I get to do what I like to do, and that’s one of my favorite parts of being an artist.

Is there anything you’ve learned/realized during your career that you wish you knew about or done beforehand?

Taking business classes. I wish I’d taken business classes because I just took art classes. They don’t really tell you how to be your own company or entity in art school. I wish I would’ve taken some business classes so I could’ve protected myself. When you’re a young business owner and you haven’t taken things like that you just kind of fumble around until you get it right. Not until you make a mistake do you learn from it.

How hard was it for you to establish yourself in this area?

You just have to be more versatile. Like I said, a lot of my work is based on what people come to me and what they want the most. And when you do that, it’s kind of catering to the area in a way, but if it’s something you like to do then do it. But I think if I was to limit myself I wouldn’t have grown at all. I’m not scared of doing stuff I’m not used to or doing new things — if I fail, I’m gonna figure it out.

You can find Katherine’s work on Instagram (@kineticrave) and on Facebook (Katherine Thrower). She also has a website (kineticrave.com), but noted she primarily uses social media.

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