AM Portrait: The Painter Katrin Foerster
Mallorca's colours, sun and light come alive on canvas
"The light has a great impact on us - that is what I want to reflect in my works, and overall I want people to enjoy what I produce."
Inspired by the Peace and Quiet #
If not on Wednesday, market day, the village of Andratx leads a rather tranquil life in the shade of the more illustrious Port blessed with the attractions sought by tourists and distraction seekers. But as we often witness in the rural parts of Mallorca, the very scarcity of lack and lustre and the laid-back charm of a village off the general public's radar proves to be a magnet for the most creative lot – for people who are widely travelled and have seen it all and now look for the peace and quiet as inspiration for their work. Painter Katrin Foerster is definitely one of them…
May I introduce … #
Katrin Foerster, born in Bremen/Germany in 1970, grew up in a truly international family. By the time she went back to her home country twenty years later, she had seen – and lived in – all different corners of the world, from Malaysia, Kuwait, Argentina and the States to several European Countries.
A born artist with a keen eye for colour and light and inspired by the multitude of cultures she knew from personal experience, her choice of career was only natural: She went to Hamburg to study Communication Design and, to hone her talent as a visual artist, the Paulwitz-Mathaei School for Act, Figure, Portrait and Still-Life.
After eleven years of professional experience as a Senior Designer and Art Director for the top publishing houses Gruner&Jahr in Germany and IPC Media in the UK, respectively, and with a view to the continuing demand for her art pieces she decided to give the commercial world a pass and make a living off her passion.
Mallorca with its year-round ideal light conditions proved to be the perfect setting for her art, radiant with Mediterranean colours and the warm metal glint of the gold and brass leaf she loves to use to bring her works to life.
See the Art #
I didn't know any of this when, some time ago, I visited an art-loving friend in the village and found myself sitting in an armchair just opposite one of Katrin's pieces. It was an explosion of the most vibrant hues of red and orange and violet barely tamed by a few bold brushstrokes in blue and lime green forming a square on the canvas. It took me a moment to figure out what it was that made it feel so alive: it was the gold leaf built into the composition in such a way that it caught and reflected every little ray of light filtering into the room through the foliage of the trees shading the windows. It was like watching a fire - a dance of flames. It attracted my eyes like a magnet. I couldn't look away…
Meet the Artist … #
I spoke to Katrin at the 2018 Nit de l'Art in Palma
Katrin, what brought you to Mallorca?
"Mallorca was one of the holiday locations of my childhood and have stayed in touch with some of the friends I made then. It was during one of those phases in life where you need one thing only - a break – I got invited to the Island. It didn't take much to convince me although I had always loved my life in Asia. I bought a plane ticket, and here I was! The island reminded me so much of my former Malaysia home which also had been on an island – the proximity of the beach, the water, the sun … - that it felt like a little Asia in Europe. I had nothing more than a holiday in mind when I arrived. That was in 2009. I never left."
What made you chose the Andratx area?
"As my friends lived in the Port, it was natural that I stayed there at first. After a few years, however, I moved my studio up to the village and my private home to nearby S'Arracó. That's where I found what I had missed after leaving Malaysia, or maybe I never really had it before: a true home. The peace, some very good friends, my neighbours, my landlord – they feel like a second family to me, we are that close…
What I also love is that my studio up in Andratx is right next to the market. I have always been fascinated by markets! In Penang I went to the market all the time, too! There is something about the colours... They play a big role in my work - the colours of markets, of nature, of water; the reflections of the sun …"
How is it for you as a freelance artist to work on this Island?
"It does take some discipline." She smiles. "Fortunately, in my studio, I find the quiet I need to be creative and to focus on what I do. As an artist, I am very sensitive to all kinds of influences. It is my daily challenge to stay tuned-in to my own inner voice and not be pushed off track by the opinions of others. I think I have found the right balance though – be open for new ideas and staying true to my own style. I must love what I do!"
And your style is all about large formats …?
"Yes, I simply love the feeling of expansiveness and freedom they give me. To let my energy flow and express myself I need space. A stretched-out arm is much more powerful than a bent one. And also, there is more of a wow effect in a big painting."
And the graphic motives?
"They are something that stayed with me from my time as a graphic designer. I have always loved the abstraction, the structure they give to my paintings. Over the years my work has evolved organically, drawing from all the different influences – my job formation, my stay in Asia, and now in the Mediterranean. It's all part of it ..."
What is your special "Mallorca Moment" – a memorable experience that ties you emotionally to this Island?
Katrin hesitates. "Maybe I shouldn't talk about my dog now?" She laughs. "But I will never forget the moment when my dog was a little puppy and had his first swim. To jump into the sea and swim and splash around with him – that's something I always love doing. It's so much fun! But it's more than that. As an experience I see in a more metaphorical way, as some sort of abstraction, a bit like I do in my art. Those are moments of pure joy of life and emotion. They can heal a feeling of sadness. I'm so grateful for that."
"Appreciate those things you have in life and don't take anything for granted!"
One last question, Katrin. What is your spirit animal?
"A bird – for it's lightness and for the perspective - looking down on the earth. Ihe space and freedom." She laughs. "Don't cut my wings!"
Name Katrin Foerster
Lives and works in S'Arracó & Andratx
Signature phrase Live in the moment!
Katrin sells her works exclusively through:
Ahoy! Art Gallery
Carrer de la Concepció 6
Contact: +34 635 052805
copyright Renate Pentzien
By Ulla Rahn-Huber
27 September, 2018