One can recognise the artwork and signature style of Catherine Grossrieder from a mile away. It’s sensual, it’s funny, it’s animated, it’s contemporary, it’s alive, it’s cheeky.
And good gravy, it’s fun. We had to know more about the young resident artist who is as much a livewire as her work is.
Tell us where you studied art?
I did a foundation year course in design at UNSW, Sydney, followed by a bachelor in visual communications at the University of Newcastle, Australia, then I took a Master’s of Design at UTS, Sydney. I am an artist with a background in graphic design and graffiti.
How do you describe your artwork?
Truthful, colourful, provocative and hoping to inspire.
Who are your favourite artists, especially those who inspire you?
Todd James, Jenny Holzer, Ana Bagayan, Niki de Saint Phalle to name a few. However, I’ve always been inspired by both fine artists as well as European and American graffiti artists like Lady Pink, Dondi, Mode 2 and Miss Van.
There’s such humour and in its own way body positivity in your main character – was this the intention or it just came out that way?
Yes, especially for my trademark character, Jeliboo. I always enjoyed drawing curvy women, so once upon a time during a lab experimentation mixing cute and bootylicious together, Jeliboo was born in 2014! I equate curvaceousness to happiness and adventure, as a result, she reflects these aspects quite well. She also has a bunny doll sidekick called Fluffy B.
In a social media world where everyone is an armchair critic, has there been uncalled-for critique of your work?
There has been, but quite minor. Some confuse Jeliboo and my lady characters as “selling” themselves, showcasing their assets to get ahead. Let’s get one thing straight: there is nothing wrong with that notion either. Jeliboo is about being yourself and doing what you feel comfortable and happy with. Hence, I took reaction in stride.
Where are your favourite galleries in the world – imagine a time when it’s safe and easy to travel, where are you heading?
I always enjoy going to Perrotin, hands down. Also really like Aishonanzuka, they have a good selection of young Eastern and Western artists to pay attention to. Where I’d really like to go though, once we can travel, is the Sennelier art shop in Paris and the Sistine Chapel. One day…
What are the challenges you face as an artist in a commercial city like Hong Kong?
Cost of living and doing something you love. It’s all I can say, but that’s a big city reality!
How supportive is the artistic community when it comes to your work?
The young artist’s community is quite supportive of many and engaged with what’s going on. At the end of the day, an artist must create the art that speaks for them, instead of what is “appealing”. This is easier said than done – I am absolutely aware of that. As for galleries, the ones I have worked with enjoyed carrying my work and being inquisitive about it, which meant so much.
What’s been a funny and/or strange request you’ve had?
My threshold for funny and strange is quite high! I’ve probably painted them already!
Where can readers see your work/buy your work or commission your work?
They can view my artworks and Jeliboo art on Instagram at @cathloverosatwo. If they wish to buy my creations, they are more than welcome to visit my art studio, Club Third in Sheung Wan (@clubthird). Just kindly make an appointment with me!
Who is your ideal buyer?
Someone who’s had an instant heart to heart with my piece is my ideal buyer.
What’s an artist’s dream – where would you like to showcase your work?
Ooh great question, but I don’t want to jinx it, haha! How about this, I’ll name locations: Paris, New York and Tokyo. That would be the dream!
What are you working on this year – and what’s coming up next for you?
Right now, I’m working on a collection that is inspired by my frustrations with the pandemic, not seeing family and feeling somewhat trapped. In the long run, I can process it, but these emotions can be too real to suppress, hence applying them to canvas raw is very cathartic. The direction also explores curious and peculiar notions concerning womanhood and struggle. I call it my pandemic graffiti expressionist pieces. An undercurrent of graffiti influence, a tsunami of pent up pandemic emotions resulting in vivid colour choices and rip currents of stylistic executions.