When you look at a piece of art, what happens? Your mind begins to drift, ingenuity piques, and suddenly you’re transported… somewhere, elsewhere, far away from reality. You explore the narrative, the symbolism and perhaps let your eyes close – wandering into your own personal interpretation of the artist’s vision. This is what art does. This is what Kathrina Rupit aka KinMx does.
Vibrant murals and paintings imbued with emotion, mystery and strength, further the expansion of our imaginations as we integrate our thoughts within the artistic realms Kathrina shares with us. Like a moth to a flame we are hypnotized by the lasting visual impression, beguiled by the energy, and seemingly rooted by Kathrina’s innate passion for the arts. Her creative cup spills over onto us and we drink the significance of these compositional ideations that draw upon our thoughts soulfully.
I had the pleasure of delving further into Kathrina Rupit’s work and life as an artist. Read on to learn more about her path to self-discovery, a medium of healing, and the phases of her art career that like the moon have waxed and waned on its course to a more peaceful balance.
About Kathrina Rupit – KinMx //
Kathrina Rupit aka KinMx is a visual artist living between Dublin, Ireland and Tulum, Mexico. Born in the north of Mexico, Kathrina graduated from the University of Visual Arts in Nuevo Leon.
Kathrina began painting murals in the early part of her life, travelling widely and learning from the many cultures, ethnicities and landscapes which she experienced during this time. Settling in Dublin, she has since become a prominent figure in Ireland’s street art scene. She’s one of the founders of the Minaw Collective; an all-female street art collective, the first of its kind in the country. As an artist, KinMx’s motivations are focused on environmental conservation and sustainability.
She has collaborated with Greenpeace International, Amnesty International, United Nations and Street Art For Mankind. KinMx’s work has been exhibited in both group & solo exhibitions throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Kathrina Rupit is currently building an artist residency in Tulum. It will focus on the exchange of sustainable practices and knowledge from indigenous and native communities to future generations of artists and makers.
I think the core of all my work is self-discovery. I didn’t know it at the time, but after many years, I realized that I had been pursuing the feeling of freedom. However, I didn’t realize that the jail was my mind and negative emotions, oppressive beliefs that were keeping me far away from my real dreams and desires.
Exclusive Interview with Kathrina Rupit – KinMx
Kathrina, thank you for taking time to enlighten our readers with further insight on your creative journey – we’re so excited to learn more! If we could time travel for a moment…when did you first become interested in art? Was there a core inspiration or source of encouragement that sparked your artistic soul?
I’m the stereotype of the kid who could stay hours in peace just painting and drawing. But thinking about it now, I remember my grandad, whom I didn’t have much contact with since he divorced my grandma. However, I have some clear images of him when I was very young, drawing cartoons and portraits using my granny’s eye liner on the white cardboards that she was throwing away. She used to wear very thin, clear leggings under her skirts, and they were sold wrapped around these white cardboards.
I was impressed by my grandad’s abilities, so as a kid, I also started taking my granny’s and my mom’s cardboard to draw on them. I used to draw on whatever I had my hands on.
The landscape of your work is effervescent and empowering; from smaller scale paintings to impressive murals, what is the message you hope to communicate through your creative vision? What sort of impact or awareness do you hope to convey through cultural contexts that are especially present in our lives?
I think the core of all my work is self-discovery. I didn’t know it at the time, but after many years, I realized that I had been pursuing the feeling of freedom. However, I didn’t realize that the jail was my mind and negative emotions, oppressive beliefs that were keeping me far away from my real dreams and desires. Through my art, I have gone through many phases. As a teenager, I was angry about the injustices I witnessed in my native country, Mexico.
As a young artist, I had one of my first international exhibitions and I realized that I was spreading the feeling of injustice, the suffocating feeling of disempowerment because I used to believe that art needed to be “real,” that reality was oppression, injustice, a constant fight we were losing. It was my mission to shout it all out loud. But after that exhibition, it really made me think; I was the one feeling oppressed by my own beliefs. Reality is not only the darkest areas of humanity, reality is the entire spectrum of human experiences. So, I changed my path, my art, and myself.
I took art as my medium of healing. I wanted to express empowerment when I needed to empower myself, as a woman, as an immigrant, as a person facing changes. I wanted to paint forgiveness when I needed it the most, to forgive others and to forgive myself for not knowing better. I needed to paint unity when I witnessed the separation of our brothers and sisters of different colors or religious beliefs.
Now, I feel that my life experience is bringing me to focus more on sustainability and new technologies as techniques and subjects, to keep sharing my own healing process with the hope that it resonates with other hearts going through similar transitions and reinforces that we have the power to co-create an amazing time for humanity if we start with ourselves first.
Each piece embodies parts of my life experience using symbolism that I have learned in every culture I have investigated.
What would you say best defines your artistic style and narrative? What is the most integral part of your work and visual expression?
This is a hard question for me, as I love to explore and learn. Sometimes I find it hard to fit into a specific category, but I guess I could say that I’m a mix between visionary art and street art.
What is a typical day like for you?
I would like to have a solid answer for this, but sometimes it could be months without having a typical day. My life as a self-employed artist, working internationally, might require being on the bridge facing the unknown constantly. Sometimes, I try to practice healthy routines that help me work better and stress less, but everything goes out the window when I arrive someplace where everything is different – from the language to the food, to the level of work I came to accomplish. But aside from not having solid habits or routines, gratitude is one of those important feelings I love to embrace every day of my life, regardless of the circumstances.
Your paintings also embrace the human spirit on a profound, emotional level. How do you explore and maintain the integrity of your vision each time you begin a new body of work? And how have your imaginative interpretations changed and evolved over time?
Honesty, towards myself. Each piece embodies parts of my life experience using symbolism that I have learned in every culture I have investigated. I love anthropology, philosophy, and mysticism as the hidden knowledge that has always been there. I use all these beautiful stories to understand myself and free my mind of oppressive beliefs.
Whenever life gives me ups and downs, like a good author said, “Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.” (Neil Gaiman, Make Good Art)
I read that you are one of the founders of the Minaw Collective, an all-female street art collective which is also the first of its kind in the country. Would you please share more about this endeavor, its artistic direction and goals…as well as the steps you’re taking to achieve them?
Well, everything started 10 years ago when there were not many female street artists in the country. I had just arrived from Mexico, and felt I wanted to practice more. I could feel a bit insecure in an all-boys scene, even though they were all lovely. But as women, we are different; every month, we all go through the same thing. Back in the day, we used to break into abandoned places to practice scaling our work, mixing spray paint colors, etc.
So, it was nice to have an excuse to share these adventures between girls, in our own rhythm, sometimes slowly jumping fences, sometimes using our charms to avoid trouble, or sometimes just a tampon. That was the real reason. But as time went on and everybody grew, it has been an amazing experience to support each other in more professional ways.
From how to pay your taxes, how much to charge for our work, how to be a mother without leaving your practice or quitting your career, to how to get sick in the middle of a graffiti jam because you are heavily pregnant. Hahaha! I’m not a mother yet, but I have witnessed incredible warrior artists in the collective going through their life changes that only women go through, and I’m super proud of each member. We just want to support each other while we make amazing artistic projects together or individually.
With a desire to travel and explore, you’re also extremely passionate about employing more sustainable practices and learning from diverse cultures and ethnicities. These aspirations seemingly play a pivotal role in your life. What more can you share about the artist residency you’re currently building in Tulum? Are you still working on that and how is it going?
Yes, Ik’Muluk is the name in the Mayan language, and it is a project started by me and my partner Joey Baker. Eventually, other amazing artists have joined us in the quest to create an artistic hub in the middle of the jungle in Tulum, Mexico. We are still working on it, figuring out how to make it as sustainable as possible. Since the place is off the grid, we have the advantage of starting from scratch. As artists, we are figuring it out, but so far, amazing synchronicities have helped us every time we feel stuck.
We would like to be completely open to the public by 2025. In the meantime, we are accepting volunteers who would like to experience and lend a hand in the construction of the art studios in the jungle. It can be rough, natural, and extreme, but it is also incredibly beautiful and rewarding.
Ultimately, we want to create art residencies where artists from around the world can visit and create, surrounded by the inspiring jungle of the Caribbean side of southern Mexico, also giving the opportunity to exhibit the artwork they create during their stay at one of our partner galleries in Mexico.
Our main goals are:
- Nurturing Creativity: We want to provide artists with a unique space to immerse themselves in the beauty of the jungle and draw inspiration from its wonders.
- Sustainable Practices: We are deeply committed to sustainable living and art creation. With solar-powered studios and rainwater and fog collection systems, Ik’Muluk aims to minimize its environmental footprint while showcasing the possibilities of sustainable living.
- Artist Family-Friendly Environment: We believe that artists should not have to sacrifice family time to pursue their passion. Part of our vision is to establish a space where artists can balance their artistic journey with the joys of family life. Together, we can foster a community that values the harmony between artistic expression and family connections.
- Promoting Cross-Cultural Exchange & Community Development: Ik’Muluk aims to connect artists from diverse backgrounds, fostering meaningful cross-cultural exchanges that transcend borders. We aim to create a vibrant community hub where artists from around the world can connect and collaborate, creating a global artistic community united by a shared passion for art and sustainability. Together, we can create a space where artists can exchange ideas, inspire one another, and forge meaningful connections that transcend borders and boundaries.“
Mainstream anthropology has been challenged by new discoveries, and the growing freedom of expression has helped open up more harmonious perspectives of living. All of this has guided my own personal path, allowing me to learn from my own cultural roots and the wisdom of many tribes in Mexico.
Describe a place that has become inspirational to the creation of your artwork.
Dublin and Tulum, both so different, it almost challenges the reality of each other. I love that extreme diversity. Living between both places is a big source of inspiration, not only for their beauty but also for their differences and challenges. It keeps me reinventing myself in order to adapt.
Throughout our lives, we turn to many things for creative inspiration, mental health solace, and comfort the integral parts that create the ongoing chapters in our unique path through life. What is something you’ve found yourself leaning on most over the past few years that may have influenced your work?
History, philosophy, and mysticism. I used to feel weird talking about mysticism because I believed there was a big taboo around that word, especially after the Inquisition and the generational trauma it implanted in our DNA, demonizing the healers who kept the knowledge given by nature. However, with the revolution of the internet and increased connectivity between cultures, I have discovered that the term mysticism is the true heritage of many cultures oppressed by the main Abrahamic religions that have spread around the world in recent centuries.
Mainstream anthropology has been challenged by new discoveries, and the growing freedom of expression has helped open up more harmonious perspectives of living. All of this has guided my own personal path, allowing me to learn from my own cultural roots and the wisdom of many tribes in Mexico. In my travels, I have found how other cultures also talk about the same inner knowledge available to anyone seeking it.
The year is flying by…what are you looking forward to for the rest of 2023 and will you send us off with a quote that best personifies your vision of the year ahead?
This year, 2023, seems been similar to other years, but internally full of changes and discoveries. I am looking forward to an interactive art exhibition I am creating with my partner Joey Baker as a fundraiser to our project; it will be a mix of art, sustainability, and technology. We are calling it ‘Animism’, drawing upon the subject of one of the first religions of humankind before the establishment of the current civilization. Additionally, it is the 10-year anniversary for the Minaw collective!
Be bold! Be a doer! Just because you don’t know all the steps towards your goal doesn’t mean you can’t achieve it!