Imitating Life 14 (or so) questions for local artist Cat Riley

“All My Dreams are Made of Chrome,” pen and ink

“All My Dreams are Made of Chrome,” pen and ink

Cory Bilicko
Managing Editor

In 100 words or less, what do you do as an artist?

I work in various mediums, from fabric to rusty objects. I have done stained glass, quilting, drawing, multi-media work, sculpting,and so on. This year, I [showed] some “foil and flotsam” objects, including a table and a wall-mounted lazy susan plus some zen-inspired drawings and some garden goodies [at the Long Beach Open Studio Tour].

What motivates you to create art?

Seeing what other artists are doing always makes me want to create my visions.

How has your practice changed over time?
Since I am retired now, I can work on art every day if I want to, so I get better at bringing my ideas to life.

Do you ever get artist’s block? If so, how do you combat it?

I let it go and work in the garden until I am ready to create again.

What do you think your life would be like if, for some reason, you could no longer create art?

What role does the artist have in society?
I only seek to amuse and entertain. Society is not concerned with me or my art. The larger role of the artist in society has to be discussed by those who have impact.

How do you feel when people ask you to explain the meaning of your art?

I have to admit to them that most of it has no meaning except what they, the viewers, give it. I don’t know that I intend anything when I make something.

 Table made of “tinfoil and rusty things”

Table made of “tinfoil and rusty things”

Have you ever been banned or censored to any degree as an artist? If so, how did you react? If not, how do you think you would react in that situation?
No, none of my work is controversial. But I would not appreciate being banned.

Does your artistic life ever get lonely? If so, what do you do to counteract it?
I have great support for my art from friends and family, so I rarely feel alone in what I am doing.

What do you hope to achieve with your art?


What are one or two primary areas of fear for you as an artist?
I worry that this piece or that is either not done or overdone. It’s hard to know when to stop sometimes.

What are one or two factors that, when they’re in place, enable you to really flourish artistically?

A bright, cool day. No one home. All my supplies at hand.

What jobs have you had other than being an artist?
I worked for the phone company for 40 years in various capacities. It was mostly uninspiring work, but it paid well and had benefits!

What’s your favorite color?


More of Riley’s work may be seen at 52822842@N00 .

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