Friday Fives: Kate Bingaman Burt
Every Friday we give #highfives to a different designer from our extended family of PNCA students, faculty, alumni, and guest lecturers. 🙌🙌🙌 We ask them five questions. They send us five images. We're excited to welcome Kate Bingaman Burt on 12/5 at 7pm, as part of the Design Lecture Series presented by PNCA Graphic Design, co-sponsored by Fisk Projects!
Kate Bingaman-Burt mostly draws, letters, documents, and collects, but she also does a lot of other things that involve energy, conversation, and exchange. As a critical component of her creative practice, Kate is a full-time educator and makes illustrations for all sorts of clients all around the world.
Follow the series @pncadesign.
Q: What do you geek out about?
A: OFFICE SUPPLIES. This is an umbrella that includes paper stores, Diaso, the office supply section of thrift stores, SCRAP, mostly the pen section in art supply stores, and running my fingers over and smelling everything in Little Otsu.
EBAY & CRAIGSLIST. I just love everything about Ebay! From the searching, to reading the descriptions, to looking at the product photos to the rush of bidding and winning. It's the best. I also think that Craigslist is the perfect website that hasn't ever changed, really, since it started. Everyone always flips out over the fact that the Space Jam site is still up, but what about CRAIGSLIST? It's a living, breathing, internet community that is fully functional and gets the job done and hasn't really changed in over 20 years. Whatever, Space Jam. CRAIGSLIST FOREVER.
Everyone always flips out over the fact that the Space Jam site is still up, but what about CRAIGSLIST? It's a living, breathing, internet community that is fully functional and gets the job done.
Q: What do you do to get "unstuck?"
A: I try removing myself from whatever situation is sticking me for just a little bit, and that usually involves me going someWHERE to look at someTHING. I create mini-field trips. That might be going to investigate a place that I haven't been to but have heard about (like a new shop opening or a new park), or it might be just randomly texting a friend and meeting up to talk through the thing I am stuck on. Also, LISTS! I have multiple notebooks that I seem to carry on me at all times as well as lots of pads of sticky notes. and then I place said sticky notes inside the above mentioned multiple notebooks for one, really big, unorganized list. It's all about the process, man.
Q: What are you reading right now? Or what music (or podcasts) are you listening to?
A: I always have an aspirational stack of books next to my bed, but sadly deep dive into any of them. But the stack is on a good rotation and I skim and sometimes. Here is an illustration of one of the stacks from a few months ago.
And since I opened Outlet, I have a bunch of playlists for workshops handy. I hate going to a space where there is no music, so Outlet will ALWAYS have music on. My friend Will Bryant makes the best mixes, so I usually default to some of his mixes. I have been singing LOTS to my three month old, Hank. I have a terrible voice, but I love to sing, and he's a baby and doesn't know what good singing is yet. I feel like I might be ruining Paul Simon's "Rene and Georgette Magritte and Their Dog After the War" for myself because I have sung it so much, but it knocks him out COLD, so I am not going to stop singing it.
It would be a sweet fantasy to have unlimited time just to take classes in things that you are interested in.
Q: What is one thing you want to learn right now?
A: I am making really clunky ceramics right now in a tiny kiln and it's been a lot of fun. Right now everything is black and white, but I want to get into more glaze colors and maybe take a hand-building class because I am just making awkward pinch pots and drawing on them. It would be a sweet fantasy to have unlimited time just to take classes in things that you are interested in. I was expressing the other day how I wanted to take ANY sort of history class again. The idea of listening, taking notes (I love taking notes)—learning just sounds super relaxing right now. And, I would like to have some light electrical and plumbing knowledge because I would really like to add another light in our laundry room, and I would also like to replace our bathroom sink.
Q: What advice would you give your former self?
A: Don't be afraid to speak up. I spent all of my teens and most of my early 20s trying to not be seen and afraid to use my words, mostly because I thought people would make fun of me or tell me that my ideas weren't good. But, looking back, I realize that everyone carries that feeling, and that also no one is really paying attention so you should just say the stuff and do the things you want to do. It would have made life a lot easier.
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Kate Bingaman-Burt is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Portland State University. Kate owns Outlet, which houses workshops, pop-up events, and a risograph print studio. She also sits on the board of Design Week Portland, and is a founding member of the organization.
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