When collage artist Cathy Lancaster moved from Memphis to Chicago in 2019, she thought a spare bedroom in her family’s new home would function as a studio. But when it became clear that she couldn’t work in the tiny room, she began to think bigger—not just in terms of a work space, but also finding a place that could serve as a studio and gallery. “The art world is changing,” Lancaster says. “I realized with social media, people could come directly to me, and I didn’t necessarily need to be in other galleries.” Opening anything in 2020 was a challenge, but Lancaster pushed through and now, in addition to her original art, she also has an extensive line of wallpaper available through her Lakeview gallery and website.
What inspires you as an artist? It’s a lonely thing to make artwork, but music is a constant companion. I love the energy of indie rock; it both pumps me up and puts me in the not-thinking headspace that I need to create.
What’s your process? Collage is a giant puzzle. I love to play with color, shape and pattern. I save everything from little leftover pieces of my wallpaper to bits of notepaper, and then I use painter’s tape to play with placement. One thing calls to another, and it becomes a conversation between pattern and color.
Tell us about your new wallpaper line. The industry changed radically with new technology that lets companies produce a custom amount for a client. It has really opened up the possibilities. Personally, I love creating patterns. I have 130 on my website right now and choosing those was a major undertaking, but I’m having a blast!
What’s next? When people come into my gallery they say, “I love coming in here, I feel so much better.” I want people to feel happier because of what they see, and I really think my artwork does that. I’ve talked to some brands about collaborations, and maybe something will happen, but for now, I’m happy with where I am and how I’ve gotten here.