Interview with Caitlin Foster
Hello and Happy Monday!! I am so pleased to share with you guys, our very first interview, with the very talented Brooklyn based illustrator Caitlin Foster. This Connecticut native, and School of the Museum of Fine Arts alumni, relocated about two years ago to full-fill the New York dream! She has been staying pretty busy since her transition, and focusing on developing her fluid but intricate aesthetic. Her latest (extremely detailed) work, The Big Exclusives, can be seen and purchased at Little Paper Planes! Please enjoy!
What is your favorite thing about New York? Has it inspired you and your work?
I like finding old things in the city that feel authentic or untouched from their original state. Like the dioramas in the Natural History Museum. Or the street decorations in Little Italy for Christmas. I have always felt excited and totally inspired by the Catcher in the Rye-typification of classic New York, and love when I get to encounter that in my everyday life. Not that it happens a lot.
Do you plan on staying in New York?
Yes! At least for a few more years I hope. Moving around is nice too.
What is your art education background?
I went to a great arts high school in New Haven, then the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Tufts University for my undergrad. I also went to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for a year.
What first inspired you to start illustrating?
Being out of school for a few years led me to be more interested in making my own work again. I was a little burnt out and discouraged after college and didn’t really make anything for a while. After I moved to San Francisco I wanted to document a lot of the new scenery I was living in. Then I moved to New York and was living on unemployment for a while, which gave me ample time to figure out what and how I wanted to draw. It was like I was given a residency in my apartment.
Who do you look to for inspiration?
I like learning about different social movements in the twentieth century and the resulting art movements that grew out of them. The 1920s, the 50s and 60s, and the late 70s/early 80s are all inspiring time periods. Film is also a component in some of my drawings and especially influences color in my work.
How did your illustration style evolve into what it is today?
Essentially, I only drew portraits, starting when I was a kid I would draw portraits of animals. Through school, I studied classical portraiture, and ended up drawing portraits of athletes from baseball cards as my sort-of thesis project. I started to draw very detailed and ornate backgrounds for my subjects, and I realized I was more interested in what was behind and around the subject than the person. Keeping sketchbooks where I wouldn’t allow myself to draw any people in them helped to lead me to the way I draw now.
What drawing tools can you not live without?
Micron pens, thick paper, paper that is not square, making lists for myself.
Do you have any current favorite projects?
I am excited about the prints I made with Little Paper Planes. I made my first series of prints with them over the summer, and the newest is a series of two large format prints. I’ve really enjoyed working with them, and I’m glad to be able to make super affordable, accessible work. I’m also trying to do a project with my oldest friend who lives in Antarctica.
Where do you currently work? Or do you work for yourself and illustrate full-time?
I work as a registrar and archivist for an artist in New York. I also work at a high end boutique.
What is your creative process?
Listen to podcasts or watch a movie and draw. Usually do not sketch out ahead of time.
Do you have an art-related new years resolution?
I would like to be able to support myself more with my drawings.
What is currently on your playlist?
Psychic TV, Alan Vega, Suicide, Leonard Cohen, Melted Toys, Holy Shit, Bleached.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Thai food. I am extremely allergic to all nuts and therefore eating Thai food is always like high stakes gambling with my life.
What is the last joke or funny memo you sent to your friends?
Well because of my previously stated dorky food allergy, I appreciated the Allergy Pride Parade on Portlandia. One of my all time favorite things I like to share with friends is the “One Man Show” skit from Thunder Ant. I’ve watched it so many times but always laugh until I cry.