Studio Catawampus Adds Offbeat Art to GeekCraft Expo PDX

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

GeekCraft Expo PDX is less than two weeks away--have you RSVPed yet? You won't want to miss this free, family friendly show, which is packed to the gills with ridiculously talented exhibitors like Studio Catawampus!


We interviewed Studio Catawampus's Rebecca Flaum about what she's been up to since our 2016 show, how she started painting, and what she'll be bringing this year!


GeekCraft Expo: What has changed for you in the past year?


Studio Catawampus: I’ve started spending a lot of time working in traditional media like pen and ink and watercolor, and I've been making books of my art which is really fun! I also got married last fall to my long-time partner and booth assistant! Now he has to keep helping me at my booth. 


GCE: What surprised you the most about GeekCraft Expo 2016?


SC: How busy it was! Lots of my friends came, but I hardly even knew because there were so many other people to talk to. I'm so happy that Portland has such a thriving geek community!


GCE: Your art reminds me of a mix between Beatrix Potter and Brandon Bird: what are your artistic inspirations?


SC: Early on I was inspired by Salvador Dalí and surrealist art. The absurdity of that work is something that has definitely come up in my work consistently. However, I also spent hours as a child poring over illustrations in my kids' books, most of which I've lost track of by now. Though I don't necessarily remember the artists, the whimsy and character of that work stuck with me too. These days I regularly find myself returning to artists both classic and contemporary like Arthur Rackham, James Gurney, Teagan White, and J.A.W. Cooper. 


GCE: Do you remember when you first thought you really wanted to paint?


SC: Well I've definitely always been obsessed with art, and as a kid would regularly take stacks of paper and just go through the entire stack, filling it with drawings. I majored in Art in college but I hit a snag when I tried to figure out how to make a living at it. So I veered off a little bit and did graphic design for awhile instead. But after a few years plodding away as a production artist, spending more time training clients in social media than in creating anything beautiful, I decided it was time to take a leap. I'd saved up some money, my husband was happy in his job, and it seemed like the right time to take a risk and become a full-time artist. That was about four years ago and it's the best decision I've ever made.


GCE: What does “Studio Catawampus” mean?


SC: I have a giant, fluffy, and extremely clumsy cat named Ivan. When he tears through the house knocking stuff over, we call him the Catawampus, a word that means something a little askew or out of order, and which has the bonus play of having the word "cat" in it. When my husband and I were brainstorming names for my business, Ivan chose that moment to zoom through the kitchen, skidding through a turn and knocking a rug askew. I jokingly suggested "Studio Catawampus," since that's what my studio is whenever Ivan runs through it, but since my work is a little absurd and askew, it suddenly seemed extremely appropriate. It stuck!


GCE: What are your favorite geeky TV shows, movies, or video games?

SC: Coming up with favorites is always so hard! But I can say I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Browncoat. Firefly is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. I also will always have a place in my heart for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, Twin Peaks, and most things Marvel is up to these days. And while I'm a little behind on it, I could rewatch the first few seasons of the new Doctor Who endlessly. I'm also newly obsessed with Sense8, but I'm only a few episodes in, so we'll see how that progresses.


GCE: What kinds of things will you be bringing to GeekCraft Expo PDX this year?


SC: I'll still have all my classic prints, including the Well-Read Octopus and the Otter Doing Science. But I also have a few new things. I'm most excited about a book of drawings of animals with alliterative, archaic occupations, like an aardvark apothecary, a dormouse daguerreotypist, and a pangolin phrenologist (okay, not strictly alliterative, but shhh). Those books are fun for anyone who likes animals or language. I'll also have a children's book that I collaborated on with my sister about a girl and her dragon friend, who happen to live in Portland. 


Our thanks again to Rebecca for her thoughtful and entertaining answers. Make sure to stop by her table June 10 and 11 at the DoubleTree Portland during GeekCraft Expo PDX! Plus, stop by our kickoff party at Bridge City Comics June 9 to meet other geeky folks, enjoy free beer from Hop Valley Brewing, and win prizes from Guardian Games, Ground Kontrol, and more!

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