In our first ever on-location episode, Laura and Sara visit with artist and shopkeeper, Jean Cate. Jean is the owner of Martha Mae: Arts Supplies and Beautiful Things, an Andersonville brick & mortar, gallery, and online shop offering a curated selection of art, art supplies and beautiful useful things, where creativity is a way of life, located at 5407 N. Clark. Jean is also a featured artist and location for this week’s 2018 Andersonville Arts Week, and you can view her work as part of the Arts Week branding for this year.
“In art, you can do whatever you want, and it’s okay.”
– Jean Cate
Listen to Episode 26 with Jean Cate!
Here are some references from Episode 26 that you may want to check out:
- Jean is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago. She knew she wanted to be an artist starting at age 16. When she moved here at age 18 from Southern California, she was amazed by the “oldness” and architecture here in Chicago.
- Originally, the location of Martha Mae was supposed to be a community art space, but due to space constraints, Jean re-conceptualized to grow Martha Mae into what it is today.
- Peter Fegundo, one of Jean’s favorite teacher’s at SAIC said, “Whatever your art is as long as it’s you, it’s good.” Click here to view Peter’s professional work.
- Let’s learn about shop dog, Martha Mae! Martha is a King Charles Cavalier and she’s almost 7 years old. Jean originally named the shop after Martha so they could spend their days together. She’s more of a people’s dog than a dog’s dog. We even learned that Martha set the shop hours: the six hour time frame that the shop is open, Noon – 6PM, is the perfect time frame for Martha to stay content!
- Jean curates based on the title of the shop. She looks for quality beautiful, useful things.
- Jean’s interior design aesthetic is centered on light, order and comfort. She’s also fascinated by Japanese design and product design. “I try to make it a pleasant, luminous, lovely place.”
- Jean’s work can be viewed here: jeanmariecate.com. She makes larger ink and salt painting on wood panels and is debuting some of her ceramic coil pieces during Arts Week. She gravitated toward wood as a larger medium comparable to paper. What is ink & salt artwork? Jean’s work is made with pink Himalayan Sea Salt mixed with a combo of ink colors. Here is another example of an artist using ink and salt to create unique paintings.
- For this week’s Andersonville Arts Week, Jean is hosting a reception celebrating the work of artists, Andrew Jessup, Aron Fischer of Facture Goods, and her own work. The party on Friday, September 14 from 6-10PM will also feature a special collaboration with Bobby Schaffer of Lost Larson on painted chocolates and sweet delights.
- Jean is inspired by her mom’s love for Monet, and also by Japanese and Chinese ink paintings. She’d love to meet a Master Embroiderer, or to meet the group that did the “The Lady and the Unicorn.”
- Jean’s advice to other artists? “Trust your instincts. There are so many ways to make a living and to adapt to your own particular set of circumstances.”
- Through the shop, Jean has developed stronger relationships and learned to be more hopeful. Creating relationships is like making new artwork.
- If she could trade places with another Andersonville business for a day, Jean would swap with Bobby Schaffer of Lost Larson (5318 N Clark), which is why the collaboration was such a magical day for Jean!
“Trust your instincts and your particular way of living and being. Who you are is right, period.”
– Jean Cate
Jean and Martha Mae: Art Supplies & Beautiful Things has been written up several times in the press! Check it out:
The Art Institute Shop Blog
Visit Martha Mae: Art Supplies & Beautiful Things on the following platforms: