Cat Tesla



Cat Tesla


My work includes both ethereal landscapes and abstract designs. The subjects I choose to paint are organic, either originating from Mother Nature or inspired by her. I love building layers using painting and drawing, scraping back, then adding more, pooling juicy paint, and pouring glossy translucent glazes over the surface. My artwork provides the viewer with a bold graphic element from a distance, but up close they’re rewarded with rich organic details and texture.

College was a toss-up between art and science. I began with the latter and obtained a Master’s Degree in Human Genetics. For 20 years I worked at Emory University seeing patients in genetic clinics. Averaging 500 patients a year, I had a range of experiences: telling someone the child they were carrying had anencephaly (lack of skull formation at the back of the head) and would not live, telling someone they inherited the BRCA1 gene mutation and had a very high risk of breast and other cancers, or telling someone their 4 year-old child who was not developing properly because they had an inherited neurodegenerative disease – eventually got to me. Certainly there was a lot of good news to parlay as well.

Because of the stress, I turned to yoga, hiking, and mindful meditation. I studied art in the evenings after genetics clinic – obtaining a degree in graphic design, followed by studies/residencies with Nicholas Wilton and Steve Aimone. I was inspired to put nature to canvas – the shapes, colors, and feelings. I went part-time in genetics, and then traded genetic counseling for a full-time art career. The "Chrysalis Series" is an abstraction of nature employing acrylic, inks, graphite, wax crayon, oil pastel, & oil glazes. My process is inspired by the work and teachings of Franz Kline's concept of automatism. He essentially believed in first ‘pouring out’, then editing. I begin with an automatic drawing in graphite and wax crayon, then translucent layers are applied, followed by more mark making (drawing) & more paint layers. Various mediums are utilized to build the surface. The resulting smaller paintings are windows looking outward, while the larger paintings are abstract nature-scapes you can walk right into. In our minds we know what a hike looks like, or a garden, a meadow, or a waterfall. But what do they feel like? That’s what I try to convey in my painting.

2019 is my 22nd year as an international artist. Everyone has gifts from the Creator. I believe it is the duty of each to share our gifts with the planet. My paintings are a brave look inward – revealing what lies beneath both literally and spiritually. Yogi’s call it the “divine flame” – the spark that motivates you in life. In Buddha’s words, “Look within, thou art the Buddha”, while Jesus taught us that “The kingdom of heaven is within you”. For me, painting is the most life-affirming thing to do.


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