The Idle Class artists-in-quarantine series features local creators and their spread of good fortune and creativity in a time of social distancing. What exactly are these artists doing to lift the spirits of our community while practicing social distancing? We’re here to find out. Next in the series: local artist Kat Wilson. 

Kat Wilson is a fine arts photographer, painter, multimedia artist and co-founder of Bottle Rocket gallery in Northwest Arkansas. After working for an MFA at the University of Arkansas School of Art, Wilson developed a digital photograph series, Habitats, and gained national recognition. The series used centuries-old compositional devices to create “a sense of transcendence,” she said. 

Her work has been published in Communication Arts, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, as well as displayed at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The Louvre and others. Her artistic statement says her work often involves collaboration with other artists. “Channeling different modes of communication across time, my photography, paintings and installations move within and between-of-the-present lexicons like the selfie and the emoji and centuries-old compositional techniques to lend a sense of the metaphysical to familiar objects and spaces,” her statement says. 

As artists find ways to be creative during a time of social distancing, here is what Wilson told The Idle Class she is doing to spread light and art in a time of seeming darkness. 

What does your #quarantinehabitat look like?

In response to CDC guidelines that American citizens limit their excursions outside of the home as much as possible, I have launched a project that may help people see their homes in a new light.

I invite anyone interested to participate in an interactive art piece as an extension of my acclaimed Habitats series by sharing photos of their quarantine environment in the Habitats style.

Participants are invited to use the following question as a prompt: If someone saw your photo a hundred years from now, what would they know about you and about this time from seeing your habitat? Participants are encouraged to take their time setting up their composition, thinking about the significance of their objects and the location they have chosen to shoot.

Those interested should visit, to familiarize themselves with the signature style of the series, which includes a triangle composition, a dramatic light source, and objects that represent their experience of this time. Participants should pose with their objects in a proud, stoic stance.

Each evening at 6 p.m., I will go live on Facebook to share advice about making the habitat. Those who choose to participate should share their compositions with her on Facebook and post them with the hashtag #quarantinehabitats.

I believe the project has the potential to help people work through their anxiety and renegotiate their sense of place during a complicated time. Art is therapy, and art does heal..

The project will run throughout the time it is recommended for citizens to stay in their homes.  

Every day I go live on Facebook to help guide people through creating and shooting their Habitat. Since it’s the apocalypse, I also give a survival gardening tip — there’s also confetti involved.  

Why are you doing it? 

Art is therapy, and art does heal — you can work through some major internal and external issues with art. 

Why is staying active in your art and finding new ways to express it important at a time like this? 

 I feel relaxed and normal this week but last week I was freaking out inside. I didn’t want my family to know [because] I had to play it cool. I don’t know how to not make art and even before things got serious I was using everything going on as art material. 

I’ve also been making Quarantine Playlists – like I spend hours and hours on these.

Instructional graphic by Big Bot Design.