Artist Spotlight + Inside the Artist Studio of Kate Tova

“My art is formed from a subconscious blend of my recent experiences and imagination. Much of my inspiration comes from the greatest artist of all – nature.” – Kate Tova

Kate Tova grew up in industrial post-Soviet Russia, where the winters last for seven months. She created a sparkling window into another world through painting. “After moving to New Orleans in 2015, I found myself in a world I had only experienced through my paintings. The city has reflected in my work through vibrant colors and tropical birds and flowers,” she said. Keep reading to learn more about Kate Tova and her upcoming projects!

Kate Tova in her colorful studio.

The Process

“My way of painting changes from one series to another because I love to experiment. For more realistic paintings I often begin with a quick color sketch in oil or watercolor. After drawing with a colored pencil on primed wood or panel, I apply thin washes of paint. I start working shortly thereafter, using alla prima technique. 

However, in my recent series of large scale colorful portraits I plan most of the painting’s composition and color scheme on the computer. Then I have fun applying spray paint, gold leaf, sequins, flowers, etc., on primed wood and finish with thick layers of oil or acrylic paint. When I work on this series I have total artistic freedom and every portrait turns out different and unique.

My continuing exploration of reflective surfaces is expressed through the incorporation of holographic paper and reversible sequin fabric into the paintings. This interest in reflective surfaces stems from my childhood in Russia admiring lavishly gilded interiors of churches and museums. Looking up at the mysterious golden worlds inside the reflections, I admired the ephemeral play between the surfaces and objects around them. My use of these surfaces creates artworks that reflect their surroundings just as we are reflections of the people around us.” – Kate Tova

Progress shots of “Purple Plumeria”. This piece can be viewed at The Old No. 77 Hotel as part of “Urbanism & Eccentricities”, a two part exhibition curated by Richard Campanella. More event info here –> bit.ly/UrbanismPt1

What’s Next?

“Right now I am working on a series called “Krewe des Femmes” which celebrates women, color and diversity. I paint portraits of hardworking, talented women that inspire me. My goal was to portray women as powerful and complex on the outside as they are on the inside. I use heavy, confident brushstrokes and combine pastel and vibrant colors to create a striking contrast. The name of the series is inspired by female Mardi Gras krewes. In this collection, I apply layers of spray paint, oil and acrylics, along with different 3D elements in order to make every piece as unique as the women I portray.

Once I’ve created around 8-12 large scale portraits, I’m planning on having an exhibition. I hope to put together a fun opening night featuring the artworks, the women themselves, and champagne! 

I’m also really excited about my recent collaboration project with Reagan Charleston Jewelry. The beautiful portrait of Reagan will be featured centrally in Canal Place at her jewelry boutique and used for the 2018–2019 jewelry look book! 

My artwork has blossomed during my time in New Orleans and I look forward to lot of fun and beautiful projects in the coming year!” 

“Louisiana” by Kate Tova can also be viewed at The Old 77 Hotel as part of “Urbanism & Eccentricities”. Follow the link for more details! –> bit.ly/UrbanismPt1

Read more about Kate in her Q&A and view her collection on her Artist Profile.