(signing her work as just
in the lower right hand corner)
with partial list of her celebrity collectors
Kata Billups received her B.F.A. in Painting and Drawing from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1979 at the age of nineteen. Recognition for Kata’s work began with receiving the Graduating Senior Purchase Award from the Kemper Museum Foundation in Kansas City, Mo.
Kata developed as an artist over the next two decades by owning and operating her own free lance art business. The work included murals, portraits and advertising illustration. Kata lived and worked in Charleston, Long Island and Nashville. The following three paragraphs are an overview of the most prominent achievements from her career while in each city.
While living in Charleston, Kata created murals for many of the best nightclubs and restaurants and won a Platinum Addy Award for one of her illustrations (the highest ranked award given to an entry). Kata was the co-creator, fundraiser and advertising supervisor for The Unicorn Ball. This event created a venue for the citizens of Charleston to meet Gian Carlo Menotti (the founder of Charleston’s world renowned arts festival which is named The Spoleto Festival). is referred to as the Renaissance Man of The Theater and is perhaps most famous for his opera Amahl and the Night Visitors https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amahl_and_the_Night_Visitors which aired on television for decades. Menotti created the Festival originally for his native Spoleto Italy and chose Charleston as its sister city in the United States. Mr. Menotti attended with the Mayor of Charleston and the College of Charleston’s two time President, Theodore Stern. When presented with an original piece of work by Kata which honored three of his operas, (including Amahl and the Night Visitors) the musical genius was moved to tears.
After moving to Long Island, Kata became a gifted illustrator and went on to create pieces for clients like Gentleman’s Quarterly Magazine, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Newsday New York, Preservation Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine and Paris France’s ROCK&FOLK.
In Nashville Kata began a series of paintings focusing on Elvis. The work playfully narrated “Elvis Sightings” and helped germinate her future body of work which includes Kata’s favorite rock and roll icons from the sixties and seventies. Todd White, one of Kata’s former New York representatives summed up her work by calling it “post modern parables of our time.” http://www.rockandrolliconart.com
During her first shows in Nashville and Memphis the work gained famous collectors and enormous press. Three of Kata’s first collectors were Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and The Tennessee State Museum. As this body of work grew, the list of famous collectors grew. Within that list are Julia Roberts, R.E.M., Willie Nelson, Jon Bon Jovi, The William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Jimmy Vaughan, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins etc.
Not only catching the eye (and the wallet) of celebrity collectors, Kata has sold to thousands of individuals around the world. Her work has been featured in galleries across the United States and Europe. It has also been included in many group and traveling Museum shows in the USA and Europe.
In 2002 Kata returned to school for her M.F.A in painting and drawing. Her dream was to create an entirely new body of work. This body of work is explained in her Master’s Thesis entitled Let Jesus OUT of The Box: The Case for an Emotional Jesus in Painting. Kata asserts that within the entire lifespan of imagery surrounding Jesus -there are only a handful of paintings that picture him as an emotional being. Her unprecedented work challenges this canon by showing Jesus using the full range of human emotions. The paintings have titles beginning with emotive phrases like Jesus Retched, Jesus Felt Rejected and Jesus was Frustrated.
While living in Colorado for thirteen years she developed a new venue for her work through eBay. That online gallery can be seen via the live link to the right