Kat Brunnegraff’s world is reminiscent of those Little Golden Books you probably read as a kid, but with a nostalgic, yet grown-up twist. Inhabited by somber space beauties, owls who rock argyle, and adorable little dead things who rob graves in the night, Kat’s world is one of surreal imagination where cuteness meets sex appeal, magic meets the stars, and awesomeness meets your eyeballs.
With an impressive portfolio of digital and traditional work, a small army of customized and self-produced toys, and a range of lifestyle products under her belt, this Columbus, Ohio girl dances elegantly on a razor-thin line between appealing to both niche and mainstream audiences alike. Fans of art and designer toy culture will adore her storybook style and dreamy use of color and pop-culture geeks will feel their hearts skip a beat when they see her homages to things like Pokémon, ThunderCats, and the classic anime My Neighbor Totoro; Kat Brunnegraff is truly an artist’s artist, but even non-artsy types will find her work all too easy to fall in love with.
Kat was gracious enough to answer a few questions which you can read below the fold along with some of of our favorite of her pieces.
Where the magic happens!
Who is Kat Brunnegraff?
Hi I’m me! I’m a 27 year old girl, who works at home making cute and sometimes pretty things for your viewing pleasure. I’m an artist, a toy designer, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an Aunt, a fitness coach, a friend, a Poké fangirl, a video game nerd (when I have the time) I think I’m leaving something out but I can’t remember what… oh yeah, I’m absent minded.
Argyle owls, tootin’ tinmen, and mystical beauties are just a few of the characters that populate the Brunnegraffverse.
What first got you interested in making art and what helped inspire you along the way?
I’ve always drawn, cartoons always inspired me to draw, I’d spend hours trying to replicate drawings from my little mermaid story book as a child… But I remember one incident when I was 14 that I feel was THE pivotal moment for me in deciding I wanted to pursue art for a living. I had drawn a picture of Alanis Morissette that I had found in a magazine (I still have the magazine clipping lol) (one of my fave singers) and an art teacher told me it was good, and kind of took me under her wing. She really inspired me to be a better artist and if it hadn’t been for her advice and kindness I may never have started trying to improve my skills.
Which do you prefer painting on: toys or flat surfaces?
Wood canvas is my favorite thing to paint on :3
As if Pokémon and Totoro weren’t cute enough, Kat’s renditions are sweet enough to make your teeth rot out.
The inspiration behind it was I was just sitting around waiting for Pokémon Black and White to come out and was bored… haha boredom leads to projects, this one happens to be very ambitious! I’ve been a bit of a slacker on this, I didn’t realize people were so excited about it til I started getting e-mails about it. I am trying to do at least one a month, I’ve also got a slew of gallery projects, toy projects etc… that I’m working on so I’m sorry it’s taking so long!!! I don’t have just one favorite Pokémon, I do however have a favorite team that I love to play with. If we’re talking original 151, Bulbasaur, Nidoran (Male), Vileplum, Vaporeon, Dratini and Jigglypuff.
If claw machine’s were filled with Kat Brunnegraff plushies instead of crappily-produced cartoon/movie merchandising, the world would be a better place.
How do you want people to feel when they look at your work?
I want them to feel happy, relaxed, like they’re looking into a magical world where the sky comes to life and is full of wondrous creatures.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Still living? Jeremiah Ketner, Krista Huot, Amanda Visell, Sheila Beckett / No longer living: Mary Blair (I’m sure there are others I just can’t think of them right now).
Unicorn jewelry, panda bear pillows… Kat is the Lisa Frank of the Ikea generation.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on one to two new toy designs for my plush line a month, I have a few shows coming up in the next few months so look for new paintings/customs for those… the Pokémon project of course, a collaboration or two between me and some art friends, and 2012 hold promise for my first manufactured toy! 🙂
What are you doing when you’re not busy being an artist?
My “other job” is a Beach Body coach (love me my Turbo Fire!!!), I’m busy answering e-mails regarding fitness/weight loss questions, and doing my own workouts. When I’m not doing that I’m usually spending time with friends doing lots of fun things like going swimming, exploring in the woods, watching movies. Other than that I’m spending time at home with my hubby playing video games, and cooking, watching Netflix and every now and then going out for sushi.
2D, 3D… this girl’s work will rock your face in any dimension!
What is the toughest part about being Kat Brunnegraff?
Having people friends/family inviting me out to do things on days I’m trying to work, since they figure that I work at home and I don’t have a “real job” so I’m always free to do things, which isn’t the case.
Where do you want your art to take you?
I want have my art take me to lots of places, I want to have my toys (and paintings) in galleries all over the world, I want to have characters from my paintings made into toys, I’d love to see my painting “The Night Bringer” as a resin piece, I want to travel to conventions and meet all my fans/friends (that’s my favorite part is meeting people who enjoy what I do! I love you guys!!! <3) I want to make enough money that I can start hiring my friends to come work in my house with me making toys!
For more Kat Brunnegraff, check be sure to check out her blog Kat Scratch Fever, follow her on Twitter @katbrunnegraff, tumble with her on Tumblr, like her on Facebook, +1 her on Google+, buy stuff she makes on Etsy, and check out her Flickr for a plethora of radness that will give your eyeballs orgasms.