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Three Big Questions for Kate Groobey Kate Groobey's work, UNLOCK YOURSELF, most recently graced Art Basel, Miami. Back to reality then with 3 Big Questions emanating from a Bearwood Terrace

Three Big Questions for Kate Groobey

Kate Groobey's work, UNLOCK YOURSELF, most recently graced Art Basel, Miami. Back to reality then with 3 Big Questions emanating from a Bearwood Terrace

by Ancient Champion, Columnist
first published: December, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

UNLOCK YOURSELF: Jina's literary agent said to her about her writing, "Unlock yourself, it is the artists master practice to tap into the deepest part within and to unlock barriers..."

Kate Groobey’s work was at Art Basel, Miami, this past week, alongside breakout stars like big painter Alejandro Piñeiro Bello - he really does paint big; and Eddie Gangland - the NFT dude, and tons more besides. It’s the ginormity of the art show as massive-media event that is mind boggling. I’ve got a very partial list (from Art News) of celebs passing through... Serena, (is that lowercase?), Jared, Janelle - if you need the last names, it’s not that you’ve not come to the right place, but just, come on.

Kate Groobey’s work is always thrillingly and bracingly iconoclastic, sticking it to the sacred cows, barging into consciousness. That’s right! I do love these weird figurines that come from where… I don’t know.  We try to feature Kate as often as we possibly can as this territory interrogated/negotiated matters. The Miami stuff, her current work concerns itself with the desperately important business of Unlocking Yourself, maybe specifically as an artist, and if you follow this link you’ll see her recent paintings and an exposition of this philosophy, but stay, because in our Three Big Questions for Kate Groobey, Kate tells it as it is so you don’t have to go anywhere.

ONE: You've talked about opening up, Unlocking Yourself. Can you talk about that in the context of your recent or yet to be realised work?
Kate Groobey: It was something Jina’s literary agent said to her about her writing “she told her to unlock herself, that it is the artists master practice to tap into the deepest part within and to unlock barriers". But it resonated with me too, and helped each of us to move closer to the heart of our respective practices, which, of course, means making yourself more vulnerable, so it’s easier said than done. I’m thinking in my new work about openness, towards myself, but also towards others. This thought, applied more generally, with state violence and brutality spreading, leads me to propose, in my work, that the answer cannot be to shut down, but has to be the open hand, the open heart.

TWO. I've recently been reading Charlie Porter’s ‘What Artists Wear’ … What are you wearing right now? This instant…  I think clothing or your painting or depiction of clothing is a big part of some of your work that I have seen. In this instance, how does your outfit today and other outfits impact your work?
KG: We don’t have central heating and winter is coming, so I’m wearing: a white cotton t-shirt, a wool jumper with an even bigger Scottish wool jumper on top, a sheep-wool gilet on top of that, and a sheep-skin gilet on top of that, jeans, wool socks, wool leg-warmers, fur-lined Birkenstocks, a wool hat and scarf. This is my film editing outfit.

THREE: You've been married for a while, to the writer Jina Khayyer. What's the worst thing about being married to a writer? They're always observing you, eavesdropping for a choice line, always just perfecting a sentence before they can help with dusting or the dinner…this is not to imply that you guys keep a dusty home.
KG: Actually, it’s me that eavesdrops for a choice painting title! 

My wife’s biggest writerly habit, in combination with her journalistic training, is that she relentlessly questions everything! It’s had a good impact on my work over time. Learning how to move beyond intuition is helpful, especially when you feel stuck, and is also part of the key to unlocking yourself.

Kate Groobey was in Miami last weekend, next I'd say the rest of the world but... Kate's already been there and done that, so...

Essential Information
Kate Groobey's excellent website is here 
Kate Groobey on Youtube

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Ancient Champion

Ancient Champion writes for OUTSIDELEFT while relentlessly recording and releasing instrumental easy listening music for difficult people. The Champ is working on Public Transport, a new short story collection that takes up where 2021's Six Stories About Motoring Nowhere (Disco City Books) left off. It should be ready in time for the summer holidays. More info at

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