Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Erica Rivera Profiles Kate Worum

You may know Minneapolis-based illustrator Kate Worum from her sassy portraits of pop-culture icons, or her abstract artwork for Live Current Volume 11, but hopefully what you'll remember from here on out about this bold 27-year-old artist are butts.

Worum, an MCAD grad, became fascinated with painting posteriors, using her boyfriend as a model. "Boobs are all over the market right now, but I don't see asses anywhere. Let's put some butts out there," she says. The butts, which include a wide variety of body types, have appeared on wall installations and as prints in her Etsy shop right alongside greeting cards that proclaim "Eat a bag of dicks" and a floral collage that spells "Fuck."

On her way to becoming an artist, she took a detour to Winona State to pursue soccer for two years. However, her schedule was filled with art classes. "I was in this snowed-in town and bored out of my mind," she says. "I needed more of a challenge." Despite the financial burden, she eventually returned to the Twin Cities and enrolled at MCAD where her brash, colorful aesthetic was born from "making a lot of horrible artwork."

Worum hit her stride after being introduced to digital technology. "You don't have to create this amazing illustration from start to finish," she says. It was more her style to scan in handmade elements and play with their limitless variations.

For her senior piece, she worked on a 40-portrait series while living in a shipping container for two weeks for Project M in Frankfurt, Germany. The subjects were other participants of Project M, where artists come together to share ideas and work on various projects."They had these insanely different personalities," she says. "I found myself overwhelmed by being exposed to so many different people at once." By painting one portrait a day, "I found this groove," she says. "I guess you find consistency when you repetitively force yourself to create."

Worum's more recent portraits — which have featured the likes of Iris Apfel, Caitlyn Jenner, and Hillary Clinton — are born of fascination. "If there's some person that's interesting, it's a fun outlet for me to try to capture a personality."

In the coming year, Worum, who works for Target's home goods design division, is eager to find more ways to collaborate in her freelance work. She'll also have a new series of affordable prints available at Parc Boutique. "That's really rewarding; being able to share something on a local level," she says. No buts about it.

Originally published in City Pages in December of 2015.