Today we’d like to introduce you to Katrina Majkut.
Katrina, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I had always wanted to be an artist, but was encouraged to get a business degree from Babson College so I would have entrepreneurial skills as one. My degree detoured me to a brief career in finance and investments, but the pull of the art world was just too strong. Wanting a career that I was passionate about, I left finance and earned a Master in Fine Arts from SMFA at Tufts University.
At the same time, my friends started to get married and I discovered that I was wildly untalented when it came to being a bridesmaid. Several injuries, one wedding party expulsion, too many bridal showers, not enough bachelorette parties and one spouse later, I wanted to understand the root of this ineptness. So I used the research skills I learned in the business world paired it with an under-dog sense of justice to bring attention to how Western wedding culture impacts the social and civil rights of women and other minorities. First, through a blog called TheFeministBride.com and then with history and humor in my first non-fiction book, The Adventures and Discoveries of a Feminist Bride: What No One Tells You Before You Say ‘I Do’ (Black Rose Writing). My goal is to inspire couples to walk down the aisle as equals.
The book kicked off a deep understanding as to how social traditions impact civil rights. As a result, I’ve dedicated my visual art career to modernizing other social traditions, like cross-stitch embroidery, which has been used to assert very narrow ideas of what it means to be a woman and a mother and a wife. And it excluded the physicality of those roles, which are essential to them (I think this has contributed to why bodily autonomy has so often been denied women). My artwork aims to correct embroidery’s painfully limited sociopolitical and physical representations by including more accurate, objective, and diverse products, procedures and ideas related to reproductive, health and bodily autonomy needs and concerns. This work has also woken me up to the idea that this representation shouldn’t be limited to binary constructs either and I’m working to address that in my work as well. It has led to a great mindfulness toward empathy and intersectionality through craftivism.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The transition from business to art world was not easy. There’s a love-hate relationship between the two, where each world comes with its own biases toward the other. Earning acceptance in each was difficult, but perseverance, mindfulness, and good artwork helped break down the barriers. And I’ve learned that each world can enrich the other. I’ve been able to survive as a working artist because I have good business skills and art teaches those in business to be creative and more mindful of healthy and ethical business practices.
I think becoming a writer and author was even harder than my first career transition because I had no formal training in it and also because the politics and practices in the literary world make navigating that much more complicated. The gap between the success and failure is much wider than in the art world (believe it or not) too. When I think about writing another book and what it might be like the second time around, Kanye pops into my head with the lyrics: “Now that that don’t kill me…Can only make me stronger…Better, faster, stronger.”
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Visual Artist & Author story. Tell us more about the business.
I work as a visual artist and writer/author. Overall, my practice is dedicated to understanding how social traditions affect civil rights through embroidery and writing. I am listed as one of four international artists starting a new chapter in feminist art by Mic Media and a must-see artist by Hyperallergic Magazine.
As a visual artist, I cross-stitch modern products and procedures that relate mostly to womanhood and motherhood. I consult with medical professionals to make sure my representation of them are objective and accurate, which turns my artwork into an artistic sex education. (In fact, after seeing the artwork; for example, viewers will share that they learned a lot because they never received a proper sex education in school. They are usually shocked at how little they know, but that hadn’t stopped them from making judgments towards certain products and the people that use them based on others’ subjectiveness). I exhibit nationally at galleries, often at U.S. colleges, where I constructively engage with students about politics, women’s health, social practices and art as activism. For example, I have a solo show coming up Harford Community College (DE) and visited Bloomsburg University and U Maine at Farmington this past spring. I recently did an Instagram Art Takeover with Planned Parenthood, exhibited at Spring Break, Future Tenant Gallery (PA), A.I.R. Gallery (NY), AKart (CA), Victori + Mo (NYC), along with many more.
As a writer, I focus on bringing a feminist perspective to cultural events or practices (I do enjoy writing about comedy and entertainment too). I write for different women’s media sites that, coincidentally, usually begin with a “B.” My book uses history, humor, and a mix of different disciplines from social psychology to linguistics, statistics to gender studies to bring awareness that there isn’t one wedding tradition that doesn’t relate in some way to sex and gender discrimination, power struggles, reproductive rights, and the wage gap. What’s unique to my writing within the feminist sphere is the use of humor as a form of catharsis, my interdisciplinary approach to truly understand a problem, and goal to provide solutions and calls to action.
I think I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve been able to create two different bodies of feminist work that help address serious, hot topic issues with bipartisan objectivity. It’s about increasing empathy for others, looking beyond oneself as the only reference point for what is needed, and creating a willingness to be reflective of our own practices without hostility or fear. As such, my experiences sharing my work with people have been very positive so far.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I have no clue. Both good luck and bad luck are inevitable. Diligence, smart-thinking, and preparation tend to hedge bad luck though. I think good luck has a lot to do with being open to opportunities, most the things that could be attributed to good luck can be traced to random, small moments, actions and engagements from long ago. Everything is connected.
- Website: www.KatrinaMajkut.com
- Email: MajkutArt@gmail.com
- Instagram: @KatrinaMajkut
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefeministbride
- Twitter: @KatrinaMajkut
- Other: @TheFeministBride
Book Cover: Raymond Adams Photography
Headshot: Village Cat Productions
Birth Control Blister Pack Art: In Control 5, Thread on aida cloth, 10 x 10 in., 2017
Consent Condom, Thread on aida cloth, 8 x 8 in., 2017
Katrina in middle: In Control Exhibit, chashama gallery, New York, NY
Gallery Photos: In Control Exhibit & Lectures, Bloomsburg University, Pennsylvannia
Katrina Hanging Art: In Control Exhibit Installation, Babson College, Wellesley, MA
Katrina at podium: Lecture, University of Maine at Farmington, Maine.