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A new face at the gallery

To welcome Katrine Ann Hynne into the CDAC fold, I sat down with the artist to ask a few questions …
Katrine Ann Hynne stands by some of her works on exhibiti at the Cranbrook and District Arts Council.

Helen Duckworth

To welcome Katrine Ann Hynne into the CDAC fold, I sat down with the artist to ask a few questions about her artistic background, influences, and more specifically, her distinctive style which has visitors to the current Portraiture exhibition talking.

Katrine attends the interview dressed for a Christmas party later in the day in darker tones, but brings with her a vibrant energy and a smile that can light up a space. Unlike the bells in her laugh and the sparkle in her eye suggests however, this artist grapples with darker imagery and subjects in which has brought a wave of interest and admiring visitors to stop and explore her pieces in depth.

Hynne was born in Ontario and has demonstrated a love of art since she was very young. "When I was little I'd draw Garfield for my older sister," she fondly recalls.

During her time in high school, Katrine remembers her favourite teacher, Mr. McClure. "He really liked my work and encouraged me. He said I was a technical artist because I love detail," a comment which is evident when you look at the pieces submitted for the Portraiture exhibition.

Hynne uses mixed media in a manner which approaches beautiful photo-realism, and addresses subject matter in a way that allows the viewer to be intimate with the artist's chosen subjects, without ever having to meet them for themselves.

"I usually have a touch of darkness in everything I do," Hynne says, which is an interesting contrast when considering her pieces featuring newborns that the CDAC is currently displaying. Whilst the subject matter denotes newborn babies, Hynne's tonality, medium and approach connote a gritty realism which makes the pieces all the more accessible to the viewer.

Hynne remembers being different from her peers in art classes throughout high school, as her work always seemed to have a "darkness" about it. This is perhaps due to her interests in the visual esthetics of gothic mythology, such as skulls, the reaper, dragons and the underworld.

When asked about her formal art qualifications or periods of study, Hynne smiles before admitting that she attended the Fine Arts program at Fanshawe College (London, Ont.) for a semester.

"Although I had an awesome drawing and photography instructor, (the program) didn't seem helpful."

Hynne remembers sitting next to students unashamedly admitting that they couldn't draw stick figures, let alone the human form and more complex subjects.

Having made the decision to leave college, Hynne went to visit and stay with a friend in Invermere. "I hopped on a bus with nothing ... except my art supplies of course," and having fallen in love with the area Hynne set about establishing herself as a fully-fledged artist. She exhibited in what once was the Blue Dog Café, selling her works from there and doing works on commission basis for fans of her style. She moved to Cranbrook to study biology, chemistry and anatomy at the university level at the College of the Rockies.

Hynne doesn't have a preferred medium; rather she opts to mix medias as this allows her to obtain textures, details and lighting effects she wouldn't otherwise be able to obtain with one medium alone. When asked about her favourite subject matter, Hynne again emphasizes her interest in "dark" subject matter, mythology and the underworld, with a true passion for skulls. She also expresses a fondness for black and white photographic portraits as they convey a greater sense of character and personality.

Hynne takes inspiration from photographer Lee Jeffries and his series 'Portraits of the Homeless', an inspiration apparent in the pieces she currently has on display with the CDAC. Except rather than through photographs, Hynne takes her painstaking attention to detail and forms every wrinkle, curl, blemish, and highlight, glint and smile, by hand. Other sources of inspiration for Hynne come from tattoo artists, and artists like Delawer Omar who she sees to use a 'blurring technique which creates focal points' that she finds engaging and hopes to attempt and utilize herself in future pieces.

A self-described 'perfectionist' and 'dark-artist', Hynne's pieces are on display in the Portraiture exhibition at the CDAC gallery space until November 30.