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Kate Moross: My Fags, aged 16

Work / Back To School

Kate Moross talks us through her teenage rebellion and what she learnt at school

Kate Moross is a one of a kind in the creative industry – there’s not a programme, a technique or a medium that she’s not willing to teach herself, and this readiness to experiment, to try, to fail and to try again has landed her in fairly a unique position. Now aged 28 she has her own studio, a portfolio full of artwork, visuals and music videos, a book and an exhibition to her name. If that’s anything to go by, it seems her DIY attitude pays off.

As part of our back to school season, Kate shared with us some of her earliest experiments with digital media, including a glorious self portrait and some ace rotoscope experiments. We spoke to Kate about her favourite schoolteacher, her earliest bootlegging experiences and her teenage rebellion.

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Kate Moross: Playground Portrait, aged 16

Did any of your teachers make a particularly strong impression on you? What were they like?

My art teacher Mr Hunter from South Hampstead High School. The art department at school really invested in computers, so there were about five Macs of varying modernity which we were encouraged to use, even if it was as simple as scanning and reprinting your work to experiment with it. I took to the computers from GCSE age and was intent on using them for everything. Mr Hunter encouraged me to learn programmes like Flash and Dreamweaver as well as Photoshop, so I become obsessed with animation and rotoscoping. I also managed to get my hands on bootleg software from about the age of 15 so I had copies of those programmes to experiment with.

Did you draw a lot as a child?

I drew a lot as a child, all the time really. But it wasn’t just drawing, it was also making things, whether it was dolls’ house furniture, clothes for toys, board games or whatever. I loved to stick junk together and pretend it was something else.

I really vividly remember learning how to use Photoshop, and how difficult and nonsensical Flash seemed to me. It took a lot of lunch breaks in the art department to learn these techniques.

Kate Moross

Do you remember doing any of these?

I was old enough to remember doing this work, it was at the end of my school years. I really vividly remember learning how to use Photoshop, and how difficult and nonsensical Flash seemed to me. It took a lot of lunch breaks in the art department to learn these techniques.

What kind of stuff were you into when you were a child?

I was really into miniatures and dolls’ houses, as well as Disney characters and cute things. As a teenager I was a total cliché and rebelled against everything, listening to Nu Metal and getting tattoos. Now I’d like to think I am a mixture of the two!

Can you see any correlation between the drawings you made when you were a kid and your work now?

It’s amazing to dig these out, especially as I’ve gotten back into rotoscoping recently, it’s crazy to see I was doing the same thing 12 or so years ago. It’s great that my enthusiasm hasn’t changed, and the need to be making and creating all the time hasn’t gone away. Rather than stylistically, in these works I can see my desire to learn new skills to express my ideas, and to this day I’m still teaching myself new software to execute the ideas in my head.