Desert Kitsch: Fiber Artist Becca Van K Creates Comfort in Wild Spaces
“[I’d] only leave New York if there were techno clubs in the desert,” says fiber artist Becca Van K, whose practice is based upstate in the idyllic Catskill Mountains.
Becca’s needlepoint landscapes, snuggled next to the photographs that inspire them, adopt the technicolor hues and pulsing rhythms of an underground NYC dance club. Drawn toward objects of comfort in wild spaces—a cozy tent under a fuzzy mountain, funky geometric shapes clinging to the side of a cliff—Becca prefers to show her work in unconventional places. “I am always trying to undermine the preciousness of my art, and therefore get a bit nervous in galleries,” she says in an interview with online arts publication A Women’s Thing. “I want my objects to live in homes, so galleries often feel a bit sterile. I love showing in unconventional spaces […] I like when my work is in conversation with the lively space around it.”
Working in a collage style, Becca combines bits and pieces of a barely bygone generation’s heyday. Jokingly calling her work “granny craft,” Becca taps into a warm-hearted Millennial aesthetic that revels in wide-eyed kitsch, poppy ‘90s colors, and plenty of warm bear hugs. “My artistic spirit is committed to tenderness, reverence, generosity, and humor,” she notes in her artist statement.
To create her works, Becca uses the principle of repetition and rhythm: the steady footsteps of a long hike, the hypnotic bassline of her favorite track both offer mental clarity. Her needlepoint works—meticulously and lovingly crafted—inspire a similar state of mind. “I enter a nurturing and otherwise inaccessible headspace when I engage in these repetitive acts, which translates to works that are infused with care and personality,” she says.
Flaunting Lisa Frank-inspired color palettes, Becca’s needlepoint landscapes evoke the innocent joy of bright colors, wooly surfaces, and simple geometric shapes found in children’s books. “I don’t want anyone to feel intimidated by my work,” she says. “I want my art to be visually accessible and for viewers to have an immediate (hopefully positive) reaction. Joy […] and love are at the center of my practice, and I want my viewers to feel that.”
New Book By Katie Love
From Cult To Comedy, A Memoir, by Katie Love
The year is 1970. The horror soap opera “Dark Shadows” is all the rage, the Vietnam War is raging and nine-year-old Katie, an imaginative and independent latch-key kid, comes home from school to discover her mother’s suicide.
Taken in by her older sister who has recently become a Jehovah’s Witness, Katie is shown an illustration from a bible picture book featuring wild animals peacefully lounging by a pool of water, surrounded by happy people picking fruit. An enticing offer is made: “Katie, this is Paradise. Do you want to see Mom again, happy and living forever? All you have to do is follow all of Jehovah’s commandments and you can be with Mom again.”
Mom happy and living forever? Two tickets to Paradise, please!
So begins Katie’s zealous quest to attain perfection and entrance into a utopian world which promises peace, love, and happiness. She discovers a much darker world. “Two Tickets to Paradise, from Cult to Comedy” tells the hilarious and heartbreaking story of an earnest, bible-toting kid intent on saving the world, and follows her metamorphosis into a boisterous comedian intent on saving herself through the healing powers of humor.
“[I’d] only leave New York if there were techno clubs in the desert.” — Becca Van K
Becca Van K: Website | Instagram | Purchase Work
All photos published with permission of the artist(s).
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