Behind The Canvas: A Young Artist’s Inspiring Passion

By Megan Dimler

Whether you enjoy art or not, it is hard not to be moved and inspired by the work produced by someone as passionate as Kate Transue, a 21-year-old Fine Arts major at Arcadia University who is simply going where life takes her, as long as it’s with a paint brush in her hand. With a concentration in painting, Kate discusses not only her intimate relationship with art, but also describes her drive and motivation for her work and what it means to her. Coming from an artist, it is interesting to hear her perspective on it. When asked to do the interview, Transue couldn’t have been more excited. While being an artist isn’t a full-time career at this point, Transue still dedicates a vast amount of time to her artwork. Considering art a form of therapy, she shares with me not just what art does for her, but how it has become a way of life.

Graduating from Neshaminy High School in 2008, Transue became interested in art a few years prior to that. After transferring to a small catholic school in eighth grade, she found herself being bullied for her interest in reading, which at the time was her own personal form of escape from others. In an attempt to emulate a “popular” girl who had always been doodling and scribbling in a notebook, Transue found that she had a real knack for it. The next year, she enrolled into an art class and hasn’t looked back. “I never would have guessed how bullying in eighth grade would have shaped my life,” says Transue.

I met Transue in Western Civilization class in tenth grade, and I shared one class with her each year after that. Throughout those three years, I never knew the talent that this girl had. It wasn’t until we were both in college that I began to see her frequently posting pictures in an album titled “Art” on the popular social network, Facebook. The day I decided to check it out, I found myself stunned.  Not about the fact that she had so much talent, but about the fact that I never knew about it. I would then find myself checking the album on a regular basis to see what new pictures she had posted of her artwork; I still remember the excitement I felt for her. I eventually decided to buy one of her works from her and to this day, it continues to hang above my desk. Her dedication for art is what makes this woman a true artist, and throughout the interview, I could just see the passion emanating from her; it was not only inspirational, but admired as well. Most of her art can now be viewed at

Megan Dimler: What types of art do you do?

Kate Transue: Black & White photography, Oil Painting (still-lives, abstract, self-portraits and figure painting), and Mixed Media (usually on wood with oil paint and other materials such as fabric, paper, and thread).

MD: What do you feel makes the art that you do, art?

KT: I think as long as one person considers something art, that is what it is. I consider my artwork a form of therapy, and a way for me to work out my issues. Some of what I create, I don’t consider being successful as ‘art’, but other people do, so therefore it goes beyond me and is considered art by the public.

MD: What is your favorite type of art to do?

KT: Oil painting. Besides that I couldn’t really get more specific. It depends on my mood. Sometimes I’m in the mood to be very exacting, which is when I paint still-lives. Other times I just want to create a beautiful mess, which is when I paint my abstract universes. Those are the paintings that are predominantly black with gray/white/light colors in them.

MD: What does painting do for you emotionally?

KT: Painting has become such a significant part of my life that my hands literally start to cramp up if I don’t paint every few days. Painting allows me to escape me. Sometimes I think while I work, but that usually makes my work seem less intuitive and planned. If I just listen to music and shut my brain off, it’s like part of me falls asleep. I wake up, and suddenly there’s this painting in front of me and paint all over my hands, and I’m not quite sure how I got to that point. So painting is therapy, and fun, and necessary for me.

MD: Is there a certain career you’re going for? Do you ultimately know what you want to “be” in life?

KT: I have no ultimate goal, besides being happy. If I can look back on my life when I’m 88 years old and know that I’ve been happy all along, then my life will have been a success. Of course, there are other things that I would like – I’d like to touch people with my work, I’d like to be rich, I’d like to own my own island, I want people to open up their minds and hearts and think about God and the universe, etc. But mostly, I just want to be happy.

MD: Do you think you will be doing art forever?

KT: I’m not sure if my lifelong happiness will always have to do with art. Right now, it’s all I can think of. When I wake up, I’ve got a painting in my head that needs to be made. Someday, though, I may wake up thinking of my children, or my dog or husband or whatever. If something else becomes what brings me happiness, I will let go of this painting part of my life to pursue that.

MD: What type of success have you had thus far with your artwork?

KT: If by success you mean financial success, there’s been very little of that. You have to be discovered, I guess. To me success more so means being able to look at what I’ve created and think, “Wow, how did that come from me?” In that case, there have been a few moments that have been beautifully successful.

MD: What is your ultimate motivation for doing art?

KT: Well, happiness would be my first answer. My second answer, and probably the dominant one, would be to tap into the universe. There is a belief and theory among artists that when you create, you tap into something bigger than yourself. It’s like what I said before, when you feel like you wake up and look at what you’ve created and think, “Where did this come from?” When that happens, it’s an amazing feeling. That’s a great motivator. I want to make it so other people can look at my paintings and feel that feeling.

MD: Do you have a general theme you follow in your art?

KT: Not really. Sometimes I get an idea stuck in my head, like pumpkins, and continue to paint them until I get tired of them, which is why I have made about 10 pumpkin still-life’s in the past month

MD: Is there anything amazing that has happened in your life thus far that is because of your art, or your passion for art?

KT: That would probably be getting the chance to go to Ireland for a semester. If I hadn’t been an art major, that chance wouldn’t have been there for me.

MD: How much of your time do you dedicate to art?

KT: I spend probably 24 hours a week on homework for art classes, which is pretty much straight painting time. Then there’s the amount of class time that I spend painting, which is probably about 6-10 hours a week. So 30-36 hours a week painting.

MD: What are your future goals for your art career?

KT: I’d like a solo show in a gallery. I would love to become a famous artist. Even more than that, I want people to look at my art in 500 years and say, “Wow.”

MD: How do you think your interest in art has affected your life and made you grow and become a better person?

KT: Through my love of art, I’ve gotten to go to different countries and cities that I never would have gone to otherwise. I’ve met amazing people whom have changed my life for the better. I’ve matured, become more able to say my thoughts out loud without sounding like an idiot, I question what I see, I judge people less, and I am much more willing to hear new ideas and try different things.