My interview in Voyage LA!

I was interviewed for Voyage LA last year and never got around to posting it here, so finally: here it is!

See the entire article with images HERE.

With my portraits and headdresses at MOAH, Lancaster.

With my portraits and headdresses at MOAH, Lancaster.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kate Savage.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kate. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in Sussex, England, and from the age of three was raised between the Hudson Valley and Greenwich Village, New York by two visual artists: my father was the painter W. Lee Savage and my mother is the photographer Sally Savage. I’ve always been a bit of a day-dreamer. Since I was a little kid I loved exploring the woods near my house, or spending time alone in my room drawing, playing and writing, inventing worlds out of my imagination. My first ambition was to be a writer, but after my first year of college at The New School in NYC I took a semester off to do some soul searching. During that time, I studied painting formally with my dad and discovered that I loved it! I applied to Parsons School of Design and was a little surprised that I got accepted the following winter. That began my path as a visual artist. After attending Parsons School of Design in New York and Paris, I moved west to complete my M.F.A. with honors at California State University, Long Beach. After living in Venice, CA for 15 years, where I had married and had a son with my ex-husband, I happily settled in Mar Vista in 2009. I now work out of my converted garage studio, which I share with my husband, the artist Tom Miller. Over the years, my work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums locally, nationally and internationally. I’ve had one-person exhibitions at Curve Line Space, at Gallery 825 and at Mt. San Jacinto College Art Gallery, among others. My work has also been included in group shows at MOAH Lancaster, Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Haus Gallery, LACE, Santa Monica Museum of Art, and University Art Museum Long Beach, and other venues. My work has been written about in Artweek, LA Times, The Long Beach Press Telegram, and the Wall Street Journal.

Currently, my work is included in a show with nine other incredible women artists. The show is called, Sewing Circle and it’s at the Seaver Gallery at Marlborough School at 250 South Rossmore Ave. Los Angeles CA 90004. The opening is Saturday, Sept 22 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm. Additionally, I teach art at New Roads School and the Brentwood Art Center. I’m also a Certified Mindfulness Instructor through Mindful Schools. Next month, I’ll be finishing an additional 10-month training with Insight LA to be a Meditation Facilitator as I launch my new business, Open Window Mindfulness.

Has it been a smooth road?
Being from a family of artists, which also includes my older brother Will Savage, who’s an incredibly talented artist, and my younger brother Adam Savage (Co-host of the long-running hit TV series Mythbusters), it was initially daunting to see myself as being able to measure up. I knew was destined to do something in a creative field, and I was too shy to be any kind of performer. I did love to write and do to this day, but once I discovered that I could tell stories with images, I was hooked. I wasn’t the most naturally gifted visual artist in the family at all, but I was driven to learn and get better. Now that I teach, I often tell this story to my students. You CAN learn and get better with effort and perseverance – talent is great, but it’s just the boost that can get the bicycle rolling. I tell them, “You still have to do the pedaling!”

Other obstacles have been more personal. All my life I’ve been surrounded by mental illness and addiction, although I myself have been spared. My ex-husband had health issues and my son had learning challenges, growing up. For most of his life I was the main earner, and then I was a single mom for many years. Through all of it, I kept making my artwork and finding ways to get it out in the world. In many ways, being an artist saved me.

Also – Finding my meditation practice, in addition to my artistic practice, has helped me enormously. Although my meditation practice was spotty, especially in the early years of raising my son, in the last five years I’ve re-committed to this discipline to support me in meeting life’s challenges. I’m so excited to share this with adult and teen students, as I’ve been doing this past year and a half.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
As an artist, I think I’m known as someone who has the goods. In other words, I’ve had solid training in classical traditions of painting and drawing, as well as color theory, good design, art theory, art history, etc. I greatly value the grounding I have in the depth of my art education – it’s something that I think is disappearing, these days. I love the craft of art making – whether it’s stretching your own canvases or the processes of printmaking. Through the materials and the craft of art making, there’s a lore, a history and tradition that connects me as an artist to all those artists and craftspeople who came for centuries before. These things matter to me.

As far as the content of my work, my representational, figurative paintings, drawings and collages use psychologically-charged imagery based in folktales and personal history. Most recently, I’ve been working on a series of portraits of women wearing headdresses I make to resemble historical status objects from various cultures. I engage my models in games of dress up, and each woman inevitably reveals something of her story in what she chooses to wear and how she poses. The title of the series, Ageless, refers to the notion that we carry within ourselves all the ages we have been and will ever be, and thereby addresses personal and historical time from a woman’s perspective. I’m proud of how well-received these works have been, as they continue to be included in exhibitions.

For Open Window Mindfulness, I’m currently developing an art and mindfulness workshop. This workshop will be open to artists and non-artists, meditators and non-meditators alike. It will draw upon the basic foundations of mindfulness meditation through art exercises to address timeless themes such as impermanence, self-doubt and judgement.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is a wonderful place to be an artist. I’ve had the good fortune to live in four of the world’s greatest cities: London, New York, Paris and now, Los Angeles. When I moved here from NY, many artist friends thought I was crazy, but I longed to be closer to nature, and here I am, two miles from the beach! We get away to the mountains about once a month and take advantage of the desert nearby, too. All this nature and world-class museums and a vibrant art scene makes this city the best of all for an artist, in my opinion.

British Invasion opens next Saturday at MOAH, Lancaster

I'm so pleased to have six new pieces, including mixed-media paintings and headdresses, included in British Invasion, a show of luminary British-born artists currently living and working in Southern California.

From the MOAH Press Release, " Covering a wide career spectrum – from famed historically relevant artist David Hockney, to emerging artist Rhea O’Neill – the vibrant and stylistically varied work of these expatriates comprises British Invasion, MOAH’s next exhibition. The new show will open November 19, with a reception from 4-6 p.m. to celebrate the artists. British Invasion will be on display from November 19 to January 22. For more information, visit or call (661) 723-6250 during normal business hours. MOAH is open 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. on Thursdays. MOAH is closed every Monday."

Here's a sneak peak at a couple of my latest pieces...

Hair Hat, 2016. Mixed Media

Mirror Queen: Overlook, 2016. Acrylic and Ink on Paper and Wood Panel

My Father's Artwork to be shown in NYC Aug. 5-7

My father, the artist W. Lee Savage, will be having a large posthumous show of his artwork in New York City opening on Aug. 5 at the Health and Racquet Club on 23d Street. This occasion prompted me to write this memoir of him in his studio...

My father's studio was a hallowed place. Whether in a downtown apartment, in the country or the suburbs, I remember intense, preoccupied movements in his domain of creative production. I was practically born into his studio. He had been awarded the Guggenheim the year I was born so he didn't have to work a job, and my pram was apparently a fixture in the dining room studio of the drafty English farmhouse. I sometimes think I imprinted the smell of oil paint. In later years, we kids would be lucky enough to hang out, drawing nearby or poring through volumes of books on art, design and film, listening to records of Bach, his friend Gerry Mulligan or the Everly Brothers while he painted at his big easel. We'd gauge his mood by the set of his bearded jaw, in early days often with a pipe between his teeth. Then suddenly he'd yell, "Kids, OUT!" and we'd scramble for the door. As a teen, my dad tolerated my presence for longer stretches and even gave me my first painting lessons. By then he was listening to Elvis Costello and Bob Marley, and I turned him onto Patti Smith, who he respected for her poetry. A lover of literature, my father devoured books of every kind, read T.S Eliot to us at the breakfast table and later introduced me to Roland Barthes and James Joyce. Summers would find him outside painting landscapes that were somehow as psychological as his paintings of people, because whatever the subject, his connection was intimate. And he was always drawing. Black Rapidograph pens and black bound sketchbooks of every size and shape accompanied him everywhere, even in the pocket of his trench coat as he scribbled fellow passengers on the train to meetings with advertising executives. I don't know how many times he drew me, but I have quite a few pen sketches in which I look slightly bored and a little scared to move. Through the decades of our large, complex family's high points and tragedies, my father's art was almost another member of the family, accompanying our personal events with surprising points of view or looming presences. Not a location so much as an externalized state of mind, his studio was a psychic space for play, for the exorcism of demons, and where battles for beauty raged, revealing depths of pain and rejoicing.

My father, W. Lee Savage in his studio, Sussex, England, 1962.

My father, W. Lee Savage in his studio, Sussex, England, 1962.

Open Studio June 2!

In conjunction with the Mar Vista Art Walk I'll be opening my studio on Thursday, June 2, from 6-9 pm. Included alongside my artwork will be the brilliant artwork of Tom Miller.

Please consult the Facebook event page by clicking on the link, or contact me via the contact page on this web site!

New work is included in "Tales That Must Be Told" at Cypress College

My newest painting, "Overpast," as well as costume/ sculpture "Feral Girl's Attire" will both be on display, along with the wok of 16 other amazing artists at Cypress College Art Gallery in "Tales That Must Be Told: Contemporary Narrative Art," curated by Siobhan McClure. Here is the full list of artists:

David Balin, John Frame, Wendell Gladstone, Julie Heffernan, Nathan Huff, DavidJien, Melissa Kauk, Thomas Whittaker Kidd, Tom Knechtel, Laura Krifka, Siobhan McClure,  Tom Miller, Kristen Morgin, Yoshie Sakai, Kate Savage, Devin Troy Stother , Eve Wood

The show opens with a reception on Thursday, March 10 from 6-8 pm, and the exhibition continues through April 14, Mondays through Thursdays from 11 am to 2 pm, and Fridays by appointment. Gallery location is 9200 Valley View, Cypress, CA 90630.

New Headdresses in Progress

In the studio I’ve been working on some new headdresses, which is both exciting and challenging. Here’s the newly finished Feral Girl headdress worn by Ellie. She collaborated with me on a photo shoot last week as I’m preparing for some new 2-D work. Her pet fringe lizard named Fred rode on her shoulder during the entire shoot – we’ll see if he makes it into the final piece!


The challenges of working on these sculptural pieces are multiple. There are some issues of comfort and practicality, as in all wearable art, those of engineering (weight and balance, for example) and of mixing so many different materials. There is a lot of trial and error in the studio, and some days can be very frustrating. I’ve become reacquainted with my sewing machine, and I also find myself experimenting with different kinds of glue, wire and even tape, depending on which materials I need to put together. This week, I find myself itching to get back to making paintings and works on paper, modes of working with which I feel much more comfortable. At the same time, as my sculptural craftsmanship gets better, I’m encouraged to stay the course for the time being.

Mirror Queen, pictured right, below, is the next headdress in progress. This piece seems more Middle Eastern and less European, which pleases me as it fits with my intention to have a more diverse group of models for the coming series. Models wanted! Inquire within!



Happy Spring! This is my new and improved website which is almost finished. Please have a look around. Leave a comment below or use the contact page to let me know what you think.