On the wall of Kathron Hadlock’s modest garage studio in her Norman home, a childish hand has graffitied in marker, “I love my mom.”
This phrase resides near a stack of Kat’s colorful paintings. That graffiti, mixed in with Kat’s sophisticated artwork, is a revealing picture of the artist’s current life and her fight to balance the complications of motherhood and her art.
Kathron “Kat” Hadlock has lived in Norman for the past 13 years, working out of her transformed garage as art studio. She has resided in Oklahoma her entire life.
As a child, she always drew, but while attending Newcastle High School, a collage competition held at the state Capitol got her attention. She credits her art teacher for alerting her to the challenge and remembers working hard for weeks on her entry. Kat won first place.
This young mother of five children, by either birth or marriage, works to bring art into her children’s lives as well. The entryway and living room of the home she shares with her husband is filled with toys and art. She mentions that one of her children, her daughter Layla, is very entranced with art as well.
At 35, she now recalls a time that she lost herself and her art after newly having children. After creating art since high school and relying on that as a source of deep knowing and release, Kat stopped creating. She found herself so deep in the care of her children that she left art behind.
“So many women go through a similar time with young children, and they are made to feel ashamed of that time. Many women go through it—losing themselves during the time when they are home with young kids.”
Her husband noticed what had been happening with Kat. For her 35th birthday, he gave her a paint set, and that gift rekindled the creative fire within her. She found herself staying up at night again, painting canvas after canvas, almost without a break.
Kat now combines abstract art with figure drawing. Her mixed media includes acrylics, newspaper, torn magazines, colored pencils, paint pens, pens and markers. The artist often draws an outline of a women and fills that in with colors and words, which become shape and design.
When asked what inspires her, she says, “Women. There is something freeing about a woman being nude on her own terms.” The artist shares that she is a survivor of abuse when she was young, but she has always felt safe with women.
“If people view my art, interact with my art and walk away with a heightened appreciation of women, then I have done my job as an artist. Women so are strong. We nurture with such beauty and quiet strength.”
She is also obsessed with hands.
“Hands tell a lot about a person,” she says.
Kat’s paintings of hands are also filled and inscribed with words—swirled and caught with magazine clippings and newspaper lines. The colors swirling around them have as much to say about the strength and tenderness of these hands as the words tattooed upon them. Some of the hands she has painted reach upward for justice. Some of the hands rest, relieved to be free of shackles. The most haunting hands in her paintings reach out for you, the passive viewer. The image stays with you, reaching, long after you have left the painting.
Learn more about the artist here: Kathadlockart.godaddysites.com