Katrina Majkut is creating in feminism, art, and writing.
She is a visual artist and writer dedicated to exploring and understanding feminine narratives and civil rights in aesthetics and social practices within mediums such as embroidery, painting, and writing. She recently exhibited at the Mint Museum, NC and was an Artist in Residence at MASS MoCA. Majkut also has an upcoming solo exhibition at Babson College (Fall 2016).
Mic Media listed her as one of four international artists starting a new chapter in feminist art in 2014. Majkut also specializes in Western marriage and wedding traditions as examined through her writing with humor and honesty at her website, The Feminist Bride and other publications such as Bustle, Bust and Bitch Media.
What are you creating?
I’m currently trying to cross-stitch every modern product and medical item related to women’s reproductive health, body, and needs. I also write about feminism either in relation to weddings and other Western social practices, comedy and entertainment, or other women’s issues. Ultimately, I’m hoping to create work that challenges people’s understanding of Western social practices and work that highlights a clear need and way to modernize them.
What inspires you?
It feels weird to say injustices, but that’s probably the truth. As a born and bred Bostonian who is also Ukrainian, I was raised with a strong sense of justice and a need to protect the underdog. When I started investing myself into feminist causes and issues, I realized how much more needed to be accomplished for women and men to gain true equality. That was enough call to action for me to start The Feminist Bride and embroidering women’s products in order to raise awareness about women’s reproductive rights and needs.
Who has influenced your creative journey?
Art-wise, I’m really compelled by other artists who take familiar and historically gendered mediums and are trying to do something provocative and fresh with it as a way to assert their own social commentary, modernity, identity and politics into it, like Mickalene Thomas or Kara Walker. In terms of writing: my friend Wendy Allen. She’s a copyeditor and writer herself and she’s been instrumental in giving advice in breaking into that industry and giving feedback on my writing.
What’s been the biggest surprise?
The interactions I have with people have been the biggest surprise with the embroidery artwork. So many people are willing to open up and share personal stories or ask questions, which is great because it all taps into a subject that is either treated as taboo or hush-hush. In terms of reproductive rights, it’s imperative that people not only have a better understanding of how complicated and diverse these needs are, but these personal stories highlight how hugely these issues and items impact people’s daily lives. A lot of anti-choice legislation does not take that into consideration.
I’m also surprised by the wide range of people’s understanding of feminism is. As my primary subject, I can’t just assert my own ideas about it, it’s crucial for me to be very bipartisan about it (a great component of intersectional feminism) and bridge the gap between people who have very differing ideas about it as a movement, ideology, etc. To achieve equality, it’s more important for people to work together, even if that means respecting and tolerating their differences.
How do you define success?
Success in the art world always seems like a moving target. Accomplishments, like getting a residency or a show, etc., are so short term. As soon as you’ve accomplished one thing, there’s this unspoken pressure to find the next one. Then there are certain markers of success for one artist, like gallery representation that is not necessarily the same for another, so it’s subjective too.
I think given the ephemerality and subjectivity of “success” in the art world, success is really a matter of finding and sticking to what works for you and not worrying about the standards of others. I think if this can happen both in the content of the one’s artwork and the lines on their resume – e.g. having conviction, diligence and a clear, independent vision – that’s pretty successful.