Regina, Treaty 4: Caitlin Mullan

photo, intro by Zoë Schneider

photo, intro by Zoë Schneider

I had seen Caitlin out and about at various art events around the city (and even own one of her prints!) but we had never really spoken until recently when we met through mutual friends. I was immediately struck by Caitlin’s wicked sense of humor and quick wit! Caitlin is one of the founders and co-directors of Articulate Ink, Saskatchewan’s first artist-run printmaking centre, as well as the Executive Assistant at the Mackenzie Art Gallery. Let’s raise a glass of mulled wine and cheers Regina’s Caitlin Mullan!

KC: What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?

Fall is a crazy time for all of us at Articulate Ink. We’re going to be in the studio non-stop making product for upcoming sales, teaching workshops and launching other exciting projects. On top of that, we’re producing work for upcoming group exhibitions at The Eye Gallery (Saskatoon) and the Estevan Art Gallery. It’s been some time since I made a concentrated body of work, so I’m thrilled to have an incentive to focus on a new series.

I’m also collaborating with a local designer to produce a line of limited edition, hand-printed scarves. To be honest I’m completely obsessed with this project at the moment. Probably to an unhealthy degree. I’ve been wanting to get into textile design for a long time and working with another person who knows a great deal about fabric and fashion design has been really energizing.

KC: What’s your day job? What do you like about it? What’s challenging?

During the day I’m the Executive Assistant for the MacKenzie Art Gallery. As a kid I used to attend the Studio Sunday activities at the MacKenzie, and many years later I exhibited my final project for my BFA there. Somewhere in between I skipped out of my first day of grade 12 to go wander around the MacKenzie, for which I was later grounded. Obviously I had my priorities worked out early on.

What I like about my job is that I have the opportunity to be involved in projects from all areas of the organization through grant writing, strategic planning and various project meetings. As part of the management team I’ve learned a great deal about the anatomy and challenges of running an arts organization, which is something I have a keen interest in. It’s a fast paced place to work so I’m certainly never bored, and my colleagues are incredibly passionate, dedicated people.

It can sometimes be challenging to go from working on Articulate Ink projects, where the majority of the decisions are made by three people, to functioning in an organization with 20+ permanent staff. The dynamic is drastically different so it can be jarring switching my brain from one to mode to the other in the span of a day.

KC: What’s important to you?

Maintaining strong relationships with the people I care about. Compassion and loyalty. People who challenge me to think in new ways. Continued growth as an artist and human being. Shitty science fiction movies set in space. Old National Geographic magazines. Good music.

KC: What do you like most/ least about Regina?

What I like most, and least, are the people. Regina is full of crazy talented people who are, for the most part very supportive of eachother. When I hear about the innumerable projects the people around me are involved in it motivates me to push myself and do more. I’m also very lucky to have a close-knit group of friends here, my amazing family, and my fabulous co-conspirators at Articulate Ink, Michelle Brownridge and Karli Jessup.

What I don’t like are the people who live in Regina and complain about living here. For a long time it felt like I was surrounded by people who were convinced that the only way to have a rewarding career as an artist or arts professional was to move to a larger city center. I’ve always found this perspective boring and one-dimensional. I feel strongly that you make your own luck regardless of where you’re living. If there’s something missing from your community, either do something about it or move away. But don’t sit around and whine about it – it’s unbecoming.

KC: What is your impression of Saskatoon?

Saskatoon is an emotionally charged city for me. My reasons for visiting have generally fallen into three categories: visiting friends, going to big concerts, or attending an opening at a gallery. So anytime I’m headed to Saskatoon I’m usually excited and full of anticipation. We have some strong printmaking allies there as well. We’ve collaborated with the Inkslab Printmakers on various exhibitions and projects, most recently co-founding the Saskatchewan Printmakers Association. Also, the paper room at the art supply store, Art Placement, is what dreams are made of.

KC: How do you survive the winters here?

The older I get the more I appreciate what’s unique about each season. What I love about winter is the late afternoon light and the way sound is muffled when you’re outdoors surrounded by snow. For the most part I spend my time cooking, reading, and spending time with friends. Last winter a couple of us started a very casual weekly craft night so I’m looking forward to that again this year (rumor has it we’re going to make a bunch of paper mache projects).

Also, mulled wine.

KC: (From Proust Questionnaire) What talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to learn how to use a sewing machine without totally losing my patience. I’ve always wanted to make my own clothes. I have a couple projects under my belt, including sewing a hula hoop into the bottom of a skirt for a space-themed costume party last year, so maybe I’m not that far off.