From the time Winston-Salem artist Kat Lamp was 14 years old, she loved music. That was the age she started playing guitar and becoming involved in a community of people who shared her passions.
“It’s everything to me,” said Lamp. “It’s a way of connecting with other people and connecting with myself. I’ve learned so much from it in so many different ways, lyrically and through the technicalities of the way the instruments play together.”
Lamp wears round glasses and radiates joy in spite of the difficulties of the last year. As an artist, she works with bands to make concert posters, combining both of her passions together. She says she finds inspiration everywhere, especially from the band itself. She starts with small thumbnail sketches.
“I listen to the band to get in the mood,” Lamp said. “Sometimes the inspiration comes immediately from a song. I think of where the location of the concert is and tie in some local things with it.”
Blue dinosaurs roam against a seafoam green background. Some of them wear bow ties, while others don fancy hats or sunglasses. One carries a black cat on its back and another carries a dog. A few other animals make appearances, like a snake and a snail.
The poster is cut up into three sections, with motifs of red rocks spread across the triptych. The work is one of Lamp’s newest for the Avett Brothers who played a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado on July 10.
Venues are opening for the first time since March 2020, meaning Lamp is back in poster-making business. Another recent design she did was for the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax, VA.
For that poster, Lamp and her husband traveled to the concert location for inspiration. They even had a picnic there.
The poster itself features waves of blue, yellow, green and white, with small interconnected squares each depicting a different scene. One depicts a bright shining sun, another a rabbit on a field of yellow grass. One square reads, “Fly around my pretty little miss.” All of the scenes center on nature. Many of Lamp’s pieces feature creatures in nature, notably quirky cats, one of the artist’s favorite animals.
“I just love animals,” Lamp says. “I grew up with cats, and have had at least one cat in my life since I was little. My husband and I have two cats right now. I love that across different cultures different meanings are associated with different animals. I like to use animals in my art symbolically. Also, I just enjoy drawing animals and sometimes I include them in my art just to share that joy with others.”
When the pandemic hit in the states, bands stopped touring which meant Lamp had to find other outlets for her creativity. She began working on wall hangings, taking classes on patternmaking and meeting with friends every week to do crafts. She even designed her first wallpaper and created a puzzle featuring a line-drawn dove nestled on a tree branch.
Lamp has also been focused on her online store, currently stocked with T-shirts of her own design featuring black cats and enamel pins in the shapes of animals, trees and fruit, among other things. And though she plans to continue updating her store, she is glad to get back to music posters. She is not sure where her career will go from here, but she is excited to find out.
“One day I was designing posters and the next day everything was canceled,” she said. But since the pandemic it feels like everything is easier; it feels like the pandemic was a long break.”
Lamp will be hosting a poster show titled Favorite Things at Gas Hill Drinking Room on Aug. 6. Learn more on her website at katlamp.bigcartel.com or follow her on Instagram at @katlamp.