Transition, retreat, reevaluate

Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul. – Marcus Aurelius

My life has taken an interesting turn, and I find myself having to declare bankruptcy and start totally fresh.  This means giving up my tiny condo, packing up and finding new live work space, and basically reevaluating many things in my life.  It is an interesting time for me as my parents have passed away (I have done a lot of processing and grieving around my definition as “daughter”) and I have left my frontline youth work that was wearing me down and leaving me depressed.  I realize I have been carrying around- not only an insurmountable sack of debt that just kept getting heavier by the day- but that I have also been carrying a lot of emotional baggage.  I am left with “nothing” yet left with everything beautiful and whole.  I refuse to see this as a failure on my part.  As an artist, I need to be fully open and vulnerable.  And I know I was born with a gift for art for a purpose.  This transition will take time. It will be incredibly healing. I am ready.  

We are all born with gifts.  We all ride the rollercoaster of life.  What are your gifts?  Passions?  Where are you right now on this crazy ride?


I am 100% committed to my graphic novel and several exciting art and workshop projects!  Can’t wait to share those with you!  The team I am working with is extraordinary- including family, sister-friend, interns, youth…

But I am taking a bit of a retreat to focus my attention on both the move and on these projects.  I am refocusing and deciding which projects are the most important and which ones I can place on the shelf.

And I am still connected with youth work in a new and exciting way.  Stay tuned!


“What are your thoughts on modern day censorship? Are you offended by the images?” #comments please!

Re: Drawing on Pain Closes Early

“A couple days ago we had to take down Kat Thorsen’s exhibit at 689 Espana (pictured left), the by post street in-house artist’ due to complaints of the content (nudity, language etc) from the building.

This is the perfect opportunity for us to start the conversation: What are your thoughts on modern day censorship? Are you offended by the images? Do you hate them, like them or love them? Leave a comment or email with your reactions. We’d LOVE to hear from you!”

Anna Thorsen


See also: 

Fear No Art

20 years ago my art was protested

Post no bills: can free art change the world?

Comments to date:

I’m so sorry to see your post about the Espana Gallery. I couldn’t believe it. I actually had to look back through all the pieces to try and decipher what someone could have found offensive about it. Like, really, a tiny naked woman (and a recognizable icon at that!) can still rile people up?!
Honestly, someone should go door to door in that condo and take a poll to see who’s offended and who’s not. Cause I can guarantee you it’s one stuffy stump pulling out their strata card for influence. There should be a vote!
It’s often the case people who feel powerless take on positions of perceived power (like strata’s) to bully other people to accept their point of view…
Anyhow, fuck them! That’s all I’ll say. – M.R.
Wow – the things people find offensive! Strata councils are the worst, though. Too bad – it was a cool space & could have been a showcase for interesting art. – J. M.
What a shame! Absolutely fucking ridiculous. You’re offended by breasts and a vagina? Jesus. Not only is it censorship of beautiful art but it’s also indicative of the rampant idiocy that permeates Vancouver strata councils, members of which are often drunk on the tiny bit of power the council invests their miserable lives. ‘m a resident of Espana. I’m offended they’ve been taken down. If I weren’t just a tenant and I could actually go to the strata meetings and say something and have it be taken seriously, I would. – D.A.
Someone obviously has way too much time on their hands to cause such a hassle – DISGUSTED….this is ART FOLKS…The Strata needs a RETHINK….seriously…. T. L-P
I think Kat should see if a meeting with these people is possible. I want to know if they would be able to express how offended they are after hearing how this art came to be. – P.B.
I can’t believe they actually did that! How can you censor art? If we were to take down everything that offended someone, there would BE no art in the world! People need to get over themselves and open their eyes to the world. E.W.
I am constantly amazed by the lack of evolution of mankind. Long live ‘FEAR NO ART.’ – P.H.
I’m also confused … can’t possibly imagine what anyone would object to, or why they would want such radiant and moving pieces moved out of sight (unless it’s causing them to reflect on pains and issues not yet dealt with … )

… and let there be more of such beauty, too …. -E.V

Wow, really? That is really unfortunate. Your art is amazing and should be shared. My girls and I peered thru the widows the other day, such great work Kat. Vancouverites can be so bland sometimes…sheesh! – A. B.
??? baffled – S.P.
That is very sad news. -J.S.
This does not make sense. – L.K.
Was just reading the post re: censorship of your exhibit.   I can’t fucking believe it!   Seriously?   What could possibly offend anyone about the images?   Kat, your art is profound and the story of how your art is created is even more profound.   But there is obviously a place where you are pushing boundaries for people.   I do find life is most interesting at the bleeding edge of the wedge.    Curiosity gets me through craziness.   
But underneath my curiosity (or maybe riding above it) is just frustration at limited thinking.   
Censorship without dialogue?   I’m also curious – was there consensus?   Who was behind the complaint?   How many voices were heard?   – L.M.
Utterly ridiculous.  That’s the crazy thing about naked bodies- we all have one.  How is that offensive?  Someone needs to lighten up.  Sad that in a supposedly liberal and open minded city we still have people attempting to shame people for artistic expression.  – J.L.
Ugh.  Our building is so bland now… – S.H.
Library bomb

“Fear No Art” Documentary. A 20 year inquisition w. filmmaker Patti Henderson


I am so honored to be working with filmmaker Patti Henderson as we revisit a project started twenty years ago.

“Fear No Art” Documentary. A 20 year inquisition.

by Patti Henderson


The documentary will address protests that occurred back in 1991 and my reflections on my art 20+ years later.  We are diving in now (with camera by Julian Bowers) and I LOVE working with Patti and witnessing her creative process.  We are comrades in the feverish need to create.

Patti Henderson
Patti Henderson

Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purpose through him. As a human being he/she may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is “man” in a higher sense— he is “collective man”— one who carries and shapes the unconscious, psychic forms of mankind.

― C.G. Jung


For more on the protests go to:

20 years ago my art was protested

Post no bills: can free art change the world?

Stay tuned for NEXT STEPS!