PenguinArt by Kate Garchinsky

Tag: music

It took me 37 years, but I now understand just how important my natural “talents” were for my success in school. The right side of my brain carried me through with its affinity for writing, drawing and language. My memory was highly visual, and I relied heavily upon its ability to “photograph” what I needed to memorize to pass each test in the subjects I found boring or frustrating. When I couldn’t do that and was forced to reconcile with the numbers for what they were, it ended in wailing and tears. Algebra, how I hated you.

Due to my strengths in Art, English, French, Music and Geometry, I managed to completely dodge Chemistry, Trigonometry, and all but one Biology class in high school. In college I flocked to Art again, and managed to dodge math altogether. After a few semesters of flux I settled at the University of the Arts in the Illustration program. There, I became fascinated with Apple computers and the internet, which were relatively new and green with possibilities. Our design teachers didn’t even fully realize the potential yet, and insisted we learn paste-up and cut our own rubyliths. Wikipedia it if you’re younger than 30.

I thrived in an environment where I could work hard and perfect my craft. My attention to detail in illustration won me scholarship money and other rewards. My understanding of color and light translated well to photo-realism. The pressure of deadlines and pleasing professors ensured I show up and do the work, and do it exceptionally well.

The structure of school itself was a comfort, though I resented its restraints. I was late for high school buses and often paid for public transportation when I missed them completely. I still have nightmares about missing classes, forgetting my syllabus, losing my way in the long, dark halls, forgetting my locker combination, forgetting my lines in school plays. None of the most basic, regular day-to-day parts of school were easy for me. Even the parts I loved were difficult. Being an artist, I did get a “pass” in being the absent-minded type, I guess. Certain teachers understood me, and valued my talents more than they cared to punish my inadequacies. While my classmates studied or read the next chapter in Social Studies, I stapled away at holiday billboards, high above the rest on a wobbly chair, ever aware and fearful that the boys might see up my pleated uniform skirt.

What no one saw, not even my parents, were the catastrophic situations I’d imagine, the nightmares I’d live in my brain and avoid playing out in real life as much as possible. Constantly thinking, imagining, avoiding. The exhaustion of the effort. The pain of imperfection. A lingering, doomed feeling that I was not like anyone else, but I could not understand why. Not quite a brainiac, definitely not with the hip crowd, a brown-noser to most, I felt forever in between being somebody and nobody, an achiever and a poser. I tried so hard.

I always did well in school, but I am certain I worked much harder than anyone could see on the surface. Not until I had the arts at my disposal did I feel any peace, belonging, acceptance.

I feel there is an important link between mental capacity and art. It pains me that the arts are first to be cut in schools, businesses and cities when finances are strained. Art is not a luxury item. It fills an intellectual, emotional need for the children and adults that benefit from the creation of it. Beauty lies in the eye of the artist.

Tag: music


American Laundromat Records has announced that Sing Me to Sleep: Indie Lullabies has received the following music awards:

I’m both giddy and honored to receive recognition from these highly-respected parenting publications. Thank you!

Tag: music


“‘Stage invasions aren’t supposed to be this cute. As sprightly folk-popsters The Leisure Society launch into their second number, a two-year-old wobbles up to the front of the stage, making it to the edge before he’s whisked off by his mother to a murmur of aahs.’

James Medd of Word interviewed SMTS co-producer and art director Kate Garchinsky and attended the show on May 15 with his two sons. Read his account of the festivities, and learn more about the Kindie movement in children’s music.”

Read the entire article.

Tag: music

Last week I spent a good solid 5 days in New York City via Brooklyn—the longest I’ve ever stayed in the big, big city. I hadn’t planned it that way. The original purpose of the trip was the Illustrator’s Intensive hosted by the Metro NY chapter of SCBWI on Saturday, July 24—a plan that I almost canceled due to a death in the family. In the end, everything worked out rather miraculously and I was on my way there with plans to return Sunday.

The workshop consisted of a full day of mini-classes, both hands-on sessions and lectures. Due to a last-minute cancellation or two, I obtained a spot in award-winning illustrator Pat Cummings‘ class on storytelling, and an extra unplanned critique with art director and former Muppet builder, Laurent Linn. This and another critique by art rep Mela Bolinao were the first portfolio reviews I’ve had on this level in quite some time. Five years since a critique in Colorado and triple that since anything in NYC.

I was giddy to receive positive reactions from both reviewers, even some instant oooh’s and aaah’s but I wanted the nitty gritty. I had requested 100% honesty and I received it with gratitude. My style has changed and evolved for the better, all agreed. Awesome. However, showing multiple styles of illustration in a children’s trade picture book folio may imply weakness in consistency. It is paramount that an illustrator be able to deliver one, beautifully rendered style without deviation when assigned an entire picture book. So a style change, while good from a growth standpoint, does me no good until I prove it’s not a fluke but a regular way of working for me now.

In other words, I have work to do. And that’s ok.

After the workshop I confirmed two appointments for that coming Monday, and, thanks to ridiculously reasonable, flexible accommodations and a gracious host, I was able to extend my stay as needed. Then an angel secured me tickets for the sold-out Celebrate Brooklyn fundraiser with The National and Beach House in Prospect Park that Tuesday. Yes, amazing. With extra tickets I was able to invite and bring some of my newest contacts. I hope that I did not geek out as much as I suspect I did….. ok I’m rather certain I did. Restraint is quite impossible when something moves you, fills you up and just keeps spilling over, again and again and again. Some music just does that. As do some films, some works of art. I want to move people like that.

The events leading up to the show that night surely amplified my celebratory mood; with each day came a new experience; with every new connection a cobwebbed door cracked open, illuminating the brain dust before scattering it in a crosswind. I was alive. I am still alive. I like it.

Why didn’t I do this sooner?

Obligatory Hipstamatic Photos

Tag: music

“Stage invasions aren’t supposed to be this cute. As sprightly folk-popsters The Leisure Society launch into their second number, a two-year-old wobbles up to the front of the stage, making it to the edge before he’s whisked off by his mother to a murmur of aahs.”

James Medd of Word interviewed SMTS co-producer and art director Kate Garchinsky and attended the show on May 15 with his two sons. Read his account of the festivities, and learn more about the Kindie movement in children’s music.

PDF: SingMeToSleep_Word0710

Tag: music

Sing Me To Sleep CD

Sing Me To Sleep concept sketch

Have kids or insomnia (or both)? Love indie music? American Laundromat Records is now taking pre-orders for Sing Me to Sleep – Indie Lullabies, a compilation of gorgeously soothing, non-traditional lullabies performed by indie artists. As co-producer I have had the joy of handpicking and inviting many of my favorite musicians to participate in this charity project. As art director I will create the artwork for all the neat promotional items that come with the pre-order, as well as the album cover itself. The limited edition first-pressing pre-order package includes:

– Limited Edition First Pressing Double CD with alternative artwork and bonus tracks
– Bonus 7” Blue Vinyl featuring 4 tracks not available on either CD
– Free Coupon Code to Download the Bonus 7” Vinyl in Digital Format
– Two Promo Pins featuring Original Cover Art from CD and 7” Vinyl
– “Sing Me To Sleep” 4-Color Wall Poster (11” x 17”)
– Chance to win a personalized, signed copy of “Sing Me To Sleep” by one of the album artists

…all for just $25! Yes, really. Pre-order yours now—I promise it will be something special.

Lullaby artists include: Dean & Britta, Tanya Donelly, Stars, Jenny Owen Youngs & Greg Laswell, Neil Halstead, The Leisure Society, The Real Tuesday Weld, The Rest, Say Hi, Julie Peel, Sigur Ros, Snowbird, Telekinesis, Memory Tapes, Casey Mecija (Ohbijou), The Antlers, Trespassers William, Papercuts, Peter Broderick, Laura Gibson and many more. The album is scheduled to release May 2010. 100% of proceeds will benefit children with cancer and rare blood disorders through The Valerie Fund. Follow my updates about the project on Twitter @indieforkids.