We had the good fortune of connecting with Kate Mulholland and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kate, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Most of my success in my art and curatorial career is a result of taking risks and refusal to see failure as an endpoint. Failure can be very productive if we learn from it. Perfectionism has it’s time and place, especially in science and museums. However, breaking down the perfectionist is how I came to make the art that I make. I took a pretty massive risk when I dropped out of art school on scholarship and enrolled in a university across the country to study Geology. I didn’t end up in that field, but the research skills and flexible thinking are undeniably the more valuable assets to both my careers. It was totally worth it. I would not be in the same place, or the same person, without taking that risk.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Many people are drawn to my work because it reminds them of something visually impressive that they are already familiar with: glitches, maps, smoke plumes, weather forecasts, etc. It mingles change with chance. Each painting is like a map or a scan of an image slowly dragged across a scanner bed. The first painting I made this way was a different project and a complete disaster. I liked what I saw and changed directions because I needed something open, something to push against and have an enjoyable conversation. Honestly, I would have never found it taking the same road I was already comfortable with. Making this artwork was like exposure therapy for the perfectionist. It zenned me out. Six years into the process and I’m still covering new ground.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love Houston, but I’m a traveler at heart. I’d take them up to Dallas to see the Dallas Contemporary and Modern Museum of Fort Worth. Then we’d swing by Josey Records, stop at Spiral Diner, and end the evening with a few drinks at Double Wide. Later on, we would head to Victoria for Mumpford’s BBQ and a stop at Five Points Museum of Contemporary Art before returning to Houston.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My museum colleague, Maurice Roberts. A few years ago, he saw something in me, took a chance, and pulled me out of bartending to take on a job that has been the most difficult, but most lifechanging event thus far. He has become a mentor, a great friend, and I really cannot thank him enough for all of it. Also, my partner, Keith, who has been a staggeringly healthy and supportive voice in my life. And, of course, my family who stuck it all out and were supportive far longer than I ever anticipated.
Photos courtesy of Emily Peacock, Emily Peacock for Cardoza Gallery, and Os Galindo for Edgar Meza.