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The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Artist’s struggles are an inspiration

One of Pendergrass’s many pieces that she completed in less than an hour. (Courtesy of Kate Pendergrass)

After suffering from two seizures and a heart attack from anorexia and bulimia, DVC student Kate Pendergrass used painting to not only sort through her own feelings, but to share it with others as well.

The 18 year old student outs her artwork under the name ‘Kora’, but those close to her know Kate Pendergrass.

She began painting seriously her senior year in high school.

Her work currently hangs in Panama Red, a café located in Concord; Buffalo Exchange in Berkeley, Blymyer, which is an engineering company, and is currently working on a mural for the Wicked Hookah Bar located in Concord.  

She has created the album cover and t-shirts for a band Abriel, who recently performed at Warped Tour and Metal fest  in 2010 and 2011.

“I’m trying to make my artwork appealing to different kinds of people,” Pendergrass said. “People look at art so differently.”

She focuses mainly on self-image.  She uses expressionism, which is a style used in art when one uses distortion to try to evoke feelings from the person who sees it.

She uses vibrant colors and abtract images to attract people to her art.

After her struggles, Pendergrass found that painting about self-image was a de-stresser for her.

“I would paint to purge the way I felt when I felt disgusting,” Pendergrass said. “I was able to put the way I looked and felt down on paper.”

Another inspiration came from a Psychology class she took Psychology 101 with professor Mark Akiyama.

 “Psychology inspired a lot of my artwork,” Pendergrass said.  “I began painting more while I was taking the class. I originally took it because of my disorder. We dealt with body image, which I was struggled with. It helped me see things differently.”

“People would come back and tell me my paintings were beautiful,” Pendergrass said. “It meant a lot.”

Her artwork that hangs in Panama Red also has customers talking. Kimberley Calabass, who has been visiting the café often, takes her time to enjoy the artwork.

“Personally, I find her artwork to be very intriguing,” Calabass said. “It’s very different than what I’m used to seeing. You can tell that the pieces are really trying to send a message. They aren’t just there to look pretty.”

Another café visitor, Jose Brewer, attends DVC and said he found the artwork impressive. “Honestly, I expected it to be painted by someone so much older. I actually wondered how long it took her to make a lot of her pieces. I feel like a lot goes into each piece.”

She isn’t new to criticism, though.

“Today it’s so hard to get criticism, good or bad,” Pendergrass said. “Now I welcome any comment.”

If anything, negative feedback only taught her to be more patient with people. She acknowledges that she paints about a sensitive topic, but as someone who has struggled with her self-image before, she said she feels it is a topic that needs to be addressed.

“I have nothing to hide,”  Pendergrass said. “It takes courage to say you had these issues. There’s nothing to be ashamed about.”


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About the Contributor
Christa Balingit, Arts and Features Editor
Christa Balingit was the arts and features editor in fall 2011 and spring 2012.

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Artist’s struggles are an inspiration