Written by Jocelyn Dietrich
Her psychedelic colors are no stranger to the live painting scene, but Caiti Deane has a style all her own. Her themes of nature and strong femininity combine flawlessly to create some powerful, moving pieces, and after talking to her, it all makes sense. This warm, vibrant Central PA transplant has been making waves and brush strokes on the festival circuit since 2014 with no end in sight.
Growing up in New England, Caiti Deane was always encouraged to explore and supported in her creativity. “I think there is no better environment to grow up as an artist in. Much of my work today depicts interactions between humans and the natural world, and I imagine it is a direct result of having so much time outdoors as a child,” she told me, “and having a family that has always been so abundantly supportive of my interest in the arts!” She says, without a doubt, she has always been an obvious artist. “There has always been an insatiable need to create for me, and this has been reinforced by the role models in my life. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of craft time- like gluing pom-poms to clothespins to make caterpillar clips and modge-podging magazine cut outs during road trips in the back of my mom’s car.”
Today, Caiti is an artist living in Harrisburg, PA. She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts from Arcadia University in Ceramics and minored in Arts Management and Entrepreneurship. “Living in Pennsylvania has opened up many more doors for me artistically, while still offering easy accessibility to the woods. I always say central PA is the best place to leave- you have music and art opportunities in places like Philly, New York, Baltimore and many other cities right at your fingertips, but a quiet and outdoorsy place to come home to.”
She finds most of her inspiration comes from things most important to her. “Everything material is replaceable. People, places, and moments in time are the most valuable things that influence us, and inevitably contribute to the “making of you.” I find a lot of inspiration from the intricate patterns in nature and try to incorporate their beauty into my work. Much of my work relates to meditation, finding balance, and oneness. I try to listen to each piece and let its story inform my creation process – which is why my life experiences and the people who have impacted me have contributed so much into sculpting who I am as an artist.”
She is not only a painter, but a potter as well. Her favorite medium can vary day to day depending on what she is hoping to make. “If I’m working in the ceramic world, I’ll definitely always lean towards working in porcelain, as it’s much easier to decorate because of its clean white surface. If I’m painting, I tend to lean towards acrylic paint. While it’s not the most glamorous of the paints, it’s the quickest to dry when you’re live painting and moving around. When I’m not painting on canvas, I’m painting on pots. The two different mediums tend to inform each other of their individual processes. I think everyone stuck in a rut in the 2-D world should spend some time in the 3-D world. You get a better understanding of shape and construction.”
So when did the live painting come in? “This is sort of a chicken-or-the-egg question for me,” she told me. “I fell in love with art long before I could really appreciate music to the level that I do now. However, I started attending festivals because of my love of music. How I actually began painting at music festivals is an interesting story though. I began working festivals as a volunteer, mainly with artist hospitality. After attending a few events and watching live artists make their magic I thought, ‘I can do that.’ While I wasn’t volunteering at festivals, I brought my own easel out with my work and painted in the crowd. At Rootwire 2014, another live painter pulled me up onto the platforms to paint with them. That moment and the feeling of being part of a creative team was the catalyst for the continuation of my pursuit in live painting. It is amazing how people I admired (and still do!) three years ago are now in my circle of friends/peers.” They also serve as a huge inspiration, she added. “My biggest inspiration is seeing others do a really amazing job at what they love. Be it music or art or installation- seeing other people kick ass doing what they do makes me want to work harder doing what I do. I feel that the people you surround yourself with play a critical role in your work ethic/ drive to create.”
With a wide variety of mediums, she needs a wide variety of music to create to. “Honestly, I have a really assorted ‘creation’ playlist. If I’m at home, you can find me painting to music that spans in genre from Father John Misty to Biggie Smalls, and from The Eagles to Emancipator. If I’m painting live, I’m never too picky with who I’m painting for because I like to let all types of music influence my work. It’s exciting to see the different effects music has on my style. If I was in a live painting scenario where I could pick three bands that I would be able to paint on stage for, I’d probably select Papadosio, because they made me fall in love with the scene, Twiddle, because I love their lyrics and really believe in their music, and Beats Antique because, come on, that just sounds like a ridiculously fun time.
“I think it’s every artist’s goal to eventually be making a living off of what you love,” she told me when I asked what she sees for herself in the future. Long term, she would love to open a community center for the arts, “part lesson center, part gallery, and part shop. I don’t think we have enough spaces to work together and try new things outside of the immediate arts community. The more people that can fall in love with the act of making, the more people we have supporting its’ growth.”
For now she plans to keep painting, keep traveling, and sharing and spreading her light. “Right now I’m focusing on my own work so I can be in my own best place before trying to cultivate a space for everyone else to be in their best creative place. I’m still keeping an eye out for real estate that would be exceptional for this type of idea, so if you see something, pass it on.”
“I believe that visual art is a language that connects us globally, and key to our progression and understanding of the intimate relationships between all parts of our existence. My hope is that through my work, others can relate to emotions, moments, and experiences I have felt creating and living, and in that space we can be joined.”
For those interested in exploring Caiti Deane’s work further head to Instagram: HandEyeHeartDesigns or Facebook:Facebook.com/HandEyeHeartDesigns