If you’re going to judge a book by its cover…then let’s hope it’s a book written by this bay area badass, runner, author, and artist, Cait Chock. In addition to being an artist, she is a published author, and what lies between the pages of her book may surprise you.
Going through her cheeky, sometimes silly (okay, a lot of the time silly), sometimes sassy and always entering instagram photos (make sure you follower her @caitchock), you may not know that this artist/jokester was a professional runner for nike! A few chapters into the book of her life, you’d also be surprised to find out that she was in a car accident that almost resulted in her losing her leg. Not only did she prove the doctors wrong by running again, but credits the accident for her career change.
“Be inspired by many, aim to inspire at least one,” reads a recent blog post of October’s Fierce Female. Mission accomplished Miss Chock! Without further ado, I’d like to introduce to you to my friend and member of my boss lady tribe, Cait Chock and her sidekick Leo.
Name: Cait Chock
Job Title: Freelance Artist
Education Background: Self-taught Artist
Etsy Shop is Cait Chock: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CaitChock
1. What can you tell us about your kankle and how do you think that experience influences your art?
The kankle!! Haha…I’ll say it harbors my ‘superpower’. ;) Just kidding. But going through the whole car accident and nearly losing my leg forced me to face a few things, one being an obvious career change. I had to find something I could do immobile and from home during my recovery. I was a professional runner before that so had grown used to just sticking my nose down and getting hard sh*t done, so I credit THAT to getting me through the recovery. I also credit my art for keeping me on the sane(r) side with all that time surfing the sofa.
For art influence, I’m inspired by images that are intriguing and eye-catching but not purely because they are ‘pretty’ or attractive. I like a touch of whimsy but with an aspect of ‘darkness’ or a little twistiness, if that makes sense. I like angles and facial expressions with emphasis on the eyes. Eyes tell a story and a bit of ‘twisted’ chaos makes for, in my opinion, a unique breed of beauty. So my kankle, it’s ugly and scarred, but I’m proud of the story it tells and a statement of my personal strength.
2. Are you a full time Maker/Artist? If so, how did you make that transition?
Yes, I work full time as a freelance artist. During my recovery I started doing mainly freelance writing work, most of that being for running outlets, so all non-fiction. As most artists know they don’t call us ‘starving’ for no reason, so I’d do art on the side because it’s what I was much more passionate about but it didn’t pay the bills…haha. In 2015 I decided to give up the writing and focus just on the art and creative. It was a leap, but one that I’m happy I made.
3. You are also a writer. Does the story line shape the illustrations or do the illustrations shape the story?
I love the creative writing, and do come up with personal stories for the people and characters as I’m drawing. I like to imagine the personality and background they have (why are they making this expression??) because I feel it shapes the art. And as I said before, the eyes tell a story and I want anyone looking at my art to come up with a background story for my pieces. It doesn’t have to be the same one as I’ve created, but as an artist I want to incite creativity in my viewers and get them interested in more than just the lines on the paper.
4. What is the best part of your job? And what is the toughest part of it?
Best part: being your boss and setting your hours! Haha. I love to be able to play with my dog when I want and do my own ‘thing’. Worst part: the constant dual role of having to produce and then find your next source of income. If I could create all day I would, the marketing and seeking out job leads part I could do without...or wish I could outsource that task to my dog. ;)
5. You say on your blog that “Art is all about challenging yourself with new endeavors and evolving as an artist, so I’ve enjoyed playing with these new portraits” in describing your recent pencil realism, where else do you see your art going? Or where do you want it to go?
Why thank you! Okay, so I am all self-taught, and drawing was just something I would do for fun. Up until recently I didn’t do much realistic drawing because I have OCD and realism brings out that perfectionist in me and it’s ‘stressful’ for me because you go into this ‘hate’ mode where it’s not looking like you want and you want to burn the paper…haha. BUT…I wanted to challenge myself and if you have a weakness, work on it. So that’s what I’ve been focused on lately. I switch to drawing some cartoons and characters to ‘de-stress’ or have more ‘fun’ after I’ve worked on enough hair strands I want to poke my eye out.
6. What is the best advice you have for budding artists/makers/entrepreneurs?
Just do your own thing. Be YOU. Don’t compare yourself to others, something very hard to do; but, often times doing that will lead you to just be hyper critical of yourself. Art is driven by passion and reflective of you, so certainly be inspired and let others influence your work, but let yourself evolve see and where you take that inspiration.
7. On your blog you say, “Be inspired by many, aim to inspire at least one.” Who inspires you?
So many people and for various reasons. Artistically, I have mad girl crushes on Jamie Lee Reardon and Kei Meguro…both insanely talented and such striking work for very different reasons. Also love Disney and anything Tim Burton. And without sounding totally Hallmark, but being completely genuine, my two younger siblings. They inspire me daily for too many reasons to list.
|One of my favorite Leo cartoons|
8. What is something that we don’t know about you?
I made mention of him above, but my dog, Leo. I’m a crazy dog lady…haha. He has his own Instagram account @leotheshihtz and I actually made him his own cartoon series which I share on there. #AdventuresOfLeo
9. Anything else you’d like to add?
I live and breathe sarcasm. Humor. That’s also a big one that got me through the hardest parts of my life. Making fun of myself, even in the darkest times….I’d rather be laughing than crying…always.
So there you have it people. The magic is in the kankle. Where do you get your superpowers? I'd love to hear about what inspires you!
PS Do you know someone you think should be featured as next months Fierce Female? Leave a comment with your recommendations!