Local artist Kate Barattini and photographer Justin Morris team up for Animal Shred Part II, a surf-inspired art show
By Lorne Chambers | Editor
It has been more than three years since Folly artist and surfer Kate Barattini unveiled her animal and artistic side with her debut art show Animal Shred, which blended together two of her favorite things — surfing and animals. Until that point, many on Folly only knew her as a skilled surfer, kayak guide, and friendly bartender. Sure she would do pretty rad chalk art featuring PBR cans on the kitchen door of Drop-In where she slung drinks part time, but few knew just how talented she really was.
Animal Shred featured a series of 10 painting featuring different animal heads on surfers based on their style, characteristics, and soul each displays in their approach to riding waves. The show was widely adored and praised for it’s raw creativity and originality
“The first series of Animal Shred was created to help me maintain a healthy mind after losing a loved one. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue an artistic career but I was 25 at the time and that loss proved to be my first experience with the fragility of the mind. The creative work and its deadline for completion allowed my mind to stay focused rather than ruminating on the loss,” says Barattini. “The outcome was a surrealistic body of work because while I was going for this subtle silliness of zoomorphic surfers I was desperate for everything to seem very real. I needed perfect lines in perfect places because my real life seemed a little wonky.”
Fast forward to 2018. Barattini is approaching 30 and still enjoys painting surfers. But now she’s personally in a very different place — both mentally and creatively.
“I have endured many humbling experiences, I’m in love, and I’m enjoying much more stability.” she says. “I have an Audible subscription allowing me to consume stories and different points of view at a rapid rate. I’m seeing more color as I embrace chaos as a constant factor in existence no matter how responsible my efforts at living tend to be. Thanks to all of this I have painted with more color in these pieces, mostly in the sky. I decided to paint more skin rather than covering the body in a wetsuit. And two pieces don’t depict any actual surfing.”
When Barattini created the first round of Animal Shred paintings for the 2015 show, she didn’t at the time really have an ambition to pursue art as a profession. The first exhibit was therapeutic for Barattini. But she says the new Animal Shred pieces are her way of saying, “Hey, I’m gonna try this artist role out as a career and I hope you all enjoy the party.”
Speaking of parties, Animal Shred, Part II kicks off with a reception Friday, Aug. 10, from 7-10 p.m. at Hed Hi Media, located at 654 King St. in downtown Charleston. Sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon, there will be ice-cold PBR, smoked hot dogs and vegan carrot dogs, and the opportunity to support two local non-profits; Y2O (Youth to Ocean) and Charleston Waterkeeper. Ten percent of anything sold during the event will go directly to these organizations. In addition, any print or T-shirt purchased will offer the chance to win one of two raffle prizes: an original Animal Shred painting and a canvas photograph.
In addition to Barattini’s paintings, she is teaming up with talented local water photographer Justin Morris for Animal Shred, Part II. Morris took inspiration from Barattini’s work and created a photography series of his own Animal Shredders, featuring surfers wearing animal masks.
“It has definitely been a little challenging to get some of these Animal Shred shots. The most challenging part is actually for the surfers,” says Morris. “I have used two different styles of masks to try and create the images. I have asked the surfers to maybe try and focus more on style than technical rides to produce images that I am happy with. The surfers have stepped up and I’m happy with the images we have created.”