Artist Talk with Illustrator Kate Bingman-Burt

Rule 10)  “We’re breaking all of the rules. Even our own rules and how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for x quantities.” – John Cage

(These are Cortia Kents Rules and they can be yours too if you want.)


Currently living and working in Portland, Kate Bingman-Burt started her career as an illustrator after years of indecisiveness, debt, and rebellion. As a child of two successful weavers and grandchild famous children’s book illustrators, she rebelled against pursuing a career in the arts and therefor entered college studying broadcast journalism. These years were crucial as was able to overcome angst, bad poetry, and creating paper maché boyfriend art. Kate was then drawn to the publishing industry which in turn brought her to the field of Graphic Design. She was a maximalist, a person who collected and created collections but was unorganized and easily distracted. Kate had a strong animosity towards drawing so when she found herself in 24,000 dollars in debt from medical bills she forced herself to draw every credit card statement until it was paid off.

Rule 1) Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.


She posted the drawings on her website which opened a community of artists to talk about their own debt stories. She created a platform for people to talk openly about the subjects that “people are not suppose to talk about”. She learned hard work and dedication through provided a set of rules to work from as well as gaining a support system online. Kate initially turned to photography as a means of documentation and created a set of guidelines that she could follow and archive.


Rule 4) Consider everything an experiment


Early documentation projects:

  1. Photograph people in the Lincoln Nebraska Target every Tuesday for 3 months.
  2. Photograph Yard Sales every Saturday for 5 months. (She found her current husband this way!)
  3. Photograph thrift stores every thursday for for 5 months

“You find a lot of of surprising accidental arrangements”

    4. Photo documenting everything she ate for 2 years


Rule 8) Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time, they are different processes


Working trade shows next to Monica Lewinsky handbags became one of the main reasons for her interest in analysing consumerism. After photo documenting her consumptions with her first digital camera with a whomping 2.5 megapixels, she began drawing every item she purchased. This was a set rules allowed her to be more creative and less likely to stop after only a few weeks.

“It became words I had to follow”


Rule 7) THE ONLY RULE IS WORK. If you work it will lead to something. Its the people who do all the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.


Kate is now in the process of opening her own store in Portland called Outlet, which will consist of her private studio space upstairs and a public workshop and local zine archive store downstairs. She has always found herself trying to connect to a larger audience and with this community space she hopes to continue spreading the importance of cultivating creativity in a smart and productive manner.


Rule 6) Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make


Formula for creating art, What you like + Your unique point of view

Too many artists become discouraged with the idea of endless possibilities, it’s important to find what art means to you before trying to show others your purpose.


Rule 5) Be self disiplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be Disiplined is to be follow in a good way. To be self disiplined is to follow in a better way.


Kate’s Top Four favorite projects she’s completed in her illustrative career:

  1. Illustrated every Law and Order character
  2. Coloring Book of soft Pretzels (her favorite funny food)
  3. Birth Control music video
  4. Illustrated a quote from Hillary Clinton’s official coloring book


Never forget the most important rule!

Rule 8) Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think


If you are looking for more, check out Kate’s extensive website. (WARNING: You will lose time and possibly money) If you’re interested in making your own zines, Kate gave out samples and instructions after her lecture!

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