In my art, I blur the lines between imagination and reality, while exploring womanhood in many different ways. I like to give my images a vintage, ethereal feel. During the creative process, I scan old paintings, photographs and illustrations, making sure they are in the public domain. I work digitally and transform the scans by first tearing them apart. They are like puzzle pieces that I work together, until they reveal a whole new meaning and tell an unknown story.
In 2020 I gave an Interview with the magazine "Little" from Singapore, in which I spoke about my artistic journey and the challenges of combining parenting and creating art:
"Catrin Welz-Stein is an artist that is known for her unique art of combining drawings with art from those days of yore. With magic in her pen, Catrin Welz-Stein creates digital works of art that melds centuries together in an instant. Her work ignites nostalgia yet at the same time it contrasts and highlights the contemporary. Made with old
photographs from the 1900's or with old illustrations from the 1700's, Catrin's knack for piecing and melting them together with her computer, allows these old images to belong right in the present.
The Gift of Childhood
"Thanks to my children I had the chance to discover a world of magic and fairy tales again. Before bedtime I read to them childhood stories and they inspire me to make my own versions of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Däumelinchen, Schneewittchen and Dornröschen," shares Catrin. Besides finding inspiration from the illustrations from her children's books, her background as a graphic designer had pushed her in the right direction. "While still working as a graphic designer, I created digital birthday cards for my colleagues. I collaged their figures into funny situations and created a story around them. I guess this is when my passion for digital collaging began," professes Catrin. When asked about her very first creation, she shares that it was actually a Christmas greeting card titled "Lovebird" from 2009. "It was so much fun that I started to post my images online to share it with the public and the feedback I got motivated me to go on with my work until today," muses the artist.
Besides working on her art, the artist is still a graphic designer who takes pride in the work that she does. "When I started to work as a graphic designer, I developed my computer skills and learned to work with Photoshop, which is now my main software program for digital collaging. I never stopped working as a graphic designer completely, because I still do commissioned work and have clients as well," says Catrin.
Planned Education and Coincidental Inspirations
During her studies in Graphic Design in Darmstadt, Germany, Catrin was introduced to the fields of photography, illustration and digital image processing. These gave her a new perspective on the possibilities to visualize ideas and to transport them into images. It shaped her artistic vision and soon she was able to see an image not only from the aesthetic, but also its message behind it.
Her first encounter with the wonderful work of Anahata Katkin, an artist who combines old illustrations
with drawings from her scratch book to create beautiful pictures, further became her muse. The mix of different mediums of old and new together inspired her to create collages of old illustrations and photographs. In addition, her love for everything vintage and nostalgic could be seen in the way she would spend time browsing through the net in search for old images. Catrin reveals, "Looking at old photographs, I always wonder what is the story behind the scene, and this inspires me to create my own story to it."
Modern Art for the Modern Mum
Although some conservative art critics may turn up their noses on digital art, Catrin defends her craft with
passion. "Yes, of course it is art even if it is done on a computer! There are so many more possibilities to be creative nowadays and the use of modern technologies should be seen as an enrichment to the arts. Regardless of the medium you choose to create art—creativity comes within yourself, not from the computer or the brushes you use to paint," says Catrin.
The modern digital canvas is also a perk for the busy mother of two. "Creating images on the computer was so much easier, faster and cleaner than painting by hand. 10 years ago, my children were small and there was so little time-the easiest way for me to make art was to do it digitally," Catrin explains.
Creating art and juggling motherhood is not a walk in the park, as the artist professes. "My struggle with making art and being a mother is similar to what other working mothers would face; coping with their job and having a family. In the beginning when my kids were small, it was very difficult for me to find the time to create art. I did not have relatives in the neighbourhood who could babysit, so I often worked into the night when the kids were sleeping. Nowadays it is much easier," says Catrin. The secret to nailing down the elusive muse? During school time. "When my children are at school you can find me in front of the computer." The hardworking artist is also able to squeeze in her household routine in the afternoon as well.
When asked how she is able to focus her time on being creative and productive, she confesses, "We all have days when our brain is not creative at all. The difficult thing with creativity is that you can't switch it on when you like to. It comes and goes. Therefore, it is helpful to be ready when creativity comes to you. I try to do creative work every day, just to have my routine and keep on producing." With a creative mother around the house who creates these fantastical works of art, it is not too far fetched to wonder if her children might grow up to pursue the life of an artist. "Oh yes, I would definitely encourage them! I think it is important to find out what you really want to do in life, where your true passion lies. If you don't go for it, you will always feel something is missing. So yes, if my kids really want to do art, I would support and encourage them," expounds Catrin with enthusiasm. Catrin has recently just finished working on a huge tarot deck project consisting of 78 cards which have kept her busy. The deck titled 'Tarot of Mystical Moments' will be produced by US Games Systems, Inc next summer so stay tuned for more opportunities to see her art, all 78 of them."
Seah Pei Jun, Editor,
Little #27, 01.2020, www.little.sg