BY CARLOS GARCIA
Photo courtesy of Cat Chiu Philips. Cat Chiu Philips posing in front of her piece “Plastuc Float” and close-up picture of “Plastic FLoat.”
Inside the lobby of Mark Arts Center, are four beautiful exhibitions in place for the public to view. The pieces include trees, made up of entire e-waste, which is just a short term for electronic junk. The exhibitions are titled “Power Plants.” But that is nothing compared to the artist’s portfolio, just a mere taste of what’s to come from this new form of art.
Cat Chiu Philips, the mastermind of this new form of art takes pride in what she calls it as “convert spaces.” Philips has received awards from California Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Philips was always interested in the art world, even from being an adolescent. But it wasn’t until she graduated from grad school in San Francisco when she knew and decided what medium she wanted to work with.
“Grad School was kind of like permission, that I can go beyond the traditional means of art making, and that is when I started to experiment more,” said Philips talking about her expansion for art. “It doesn’t matter what medium you are using, it just matters what you’re talking about. Being in grad school just gave me more freedom to experiment, and [it] just really broadened my idea of what art making is. It doesn’t have to be traditional.”
With the acceptance of this new art being on the tough side, Philips wants to make sure it is recognized. “I think this medium is still in the process of being accepted. It’s like when I explain what kind of art I make, and I explain it, and people would be like ‘whats that?’, so I just convert spaces basically, and it’s the best way to explain installation art.” Said, Philips.
“Vulnerable,” Philips jokingly said as she described what it’s like when she has her work showcased to the public or even at exhibits. “I just have to muster up the courage to stand behind [my] work. You know I want to say excitement, but I still have to find the courage until now and say yeah this is the work I do. All that matters is that I enjoy what I do.”
Philips opened up on how she takes it when her work is displayed for the public. “I want people to gain inspiration, and awe from my work. Also respect, because I feel like the work is taboo you know because it’s made out of “trash” but I hope to elevate that because the work can be beautiful. It can be made into something beautiful. It doesn’t have to be looked at as trash. It’s just elevating this medium and giving it as much prestige as a painting or a sculpture. Just because the medium isn’t as expensive or free, shouldn’t be seen like that,” said Philips.
Phillps hopes to inspire young artists, “Just keep on keeping on, you need to be resilient. You know for all these projects that have been successfully commissioned, they don’t know all the rejections I was confronted with. You just have to pick yourself up. But basically you just have to really be headstrong, and keep yourself motivated. It will come. Slowly but surely,” Philips said.
Philips’ installation will be available to view to the public until the middle of August at the Marks Arts Center lobby. For more information on Philips, you can visit her website catchiuphilips.com.