Kathy van Gogh has been a decorative artist since 2001 and has trained and received mentorship under a variety of modern and traditional Canadian, American, Italian, and French masters of decorative art forms. After nearly 15 years in the industry, van Gogh has become widely recognized for her jaw-dropping transformations of drywall into beautiful marbles, exotic woods, and complex finishes. Her beautiful work can be seen in some of the most prestigious homes and businesses throughout Vancouver.
I had the pleasure to ask Kathy a few questions via email, here is a bit of our conversation.
Tyler: First off, can you tell me a bit about your career as a decorative artist, the sort of recognition you have received, and how Van Gogh Furniture Paintology came about?
Kathy: Well, I am quite well known in the decorative painting industry, which is a bit of a niche upper crust kind of market. For many years I installed very complicated finishes on walls ceilings and floors of some of Vancouver’s wealthiest people. The work I did was very expensive so it attracts a niche market. After 15 years in the business, I decided to take all my knowledge of the old school and traditional methods and try to make the accessible to everyone, not just the clients, but also the artists. That’s how van Gogh Furniture Paintology was born. It was my desire to re-create some of these “secret” recipes and methods in a new and simpler way.
Now when I teach my Paintologists (our name for Retailers), I show them my way and then compare it to pieces I have done using traditional methods, and although the traditional results are more beautiful, only a trained and educated eye can really tell the difference.
Tyler: Why have you re-created “secret” recipes and methods to be simpler? What is your goal by doing so?
Kathy: With my simplified methods and products, I have made it easy for anyone to obtain quite spectacular results with the right training. We are just about to launch a new in-house training program for our van Gogh Paintologists where they will have access to much more advanced training and I intend to create a whole new level of expertise that Canada has not yet seen! I want to raise the bar of artistic ability and expectations in Canada that will indeed compete with European old world standards, and this is my small way of starting that revolution!
Tyler: What is your business philosophy with Van Gogh Furniture Paintology?
Kathy: We like to do things the old school way, including running it as a family business. I am very proud to say that my business partner is also my son, Liam van Gogh. Liam’s fiancée Victoria MacPherson is my Executive Assistant, and my son in law, Adrian Pryce also works with us. Everything we sell is either made or tinted by hand in house. We don’t do mass produced, automated work here. Everything is lovingly made by hand the old fashioned way. We love to turn old abused furniture into heirlooms and works of art, but we also love to create something fun and beautiful that is not so precious, a simple quick and dirty paint treatment can transform a piece in a couple of hours from junk to junktastic!
Tyler: Do you have any stand-out projects that you are or will be working on?
Kathy: On September 26th, I accepted a piece of furniture that is to become my “magnum opus”. It’s an unbelievable piece of craftsmanship that is perfectly in keeping with my whole philosophy. It’s a hand-made, hand-carved Grand Piano built sometime around the mid 1800’s. It was built in a rather unusual shape so that one side of the piano could line up against the wall, thus taking up less space in a room. I intend to paint this piece as if it were made during the Renaissance. I will use van Gogh Fossil Paint because it is actually very close to the traditional paints that were available in the 1400’s and therefore will reproduce the look of that period quite well. I will reproduce authentic Italian designs from Pompeii, Villas of the time owned by the Medici Family and possibly some designs directly from the wall of the Palace of Versailles. I will hand paint these ornamental designs in what is referred to as the Grottesca style, so called due to their discovery in the grottos around Nero’s Palace during an architectural dig. I am so excited about this project. I know it will take me months to design and complete, and I can’t wait to get started.
Tyler: Finally, what your anticipating for Art! Vancouver 2015? Why are you excited to be a part of the event?
Kathy: Well, first of all, I believe in Lisa Wolfin. I’ve seen what she had done for the art community in Vancouver, her brainchild at Hollyburn Country Club is remarkable. Lisa is quite a seasoned traveller and she has taken insights from all over the world and is bringing them to our city in this event. I feel that the city of Vancouver is not doing nearly enough to support the incredible talent we have right here at home. What Art!Vancouver is doing is putting Vancouver on the map! I’m hoping that this event ignites a passion in the city planners to create similar events and to put some energy into promoting our local talent.
To learn more about Kathy van Gogh and Van Gogh Furniture Paintology, check out www.vangoghfurniturepaintology.com.