Artist Spotlight: Kat Munro

Colourful artwork, a birdbath, and a rubber chicken adorn Kat Munro’s front garden. Then the real fun starts in her tiny living room. Although it is a sunny morning, candles flicker on the coffee table. The television is playing Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride. The walls are covered by large paintings. Most interesting are the piñatas hanging from the ceiling or on the table in varying stages of completion. These are not your usual birthday party piñatas; Munro creates unique and personalized piñatas that are little pieces of art.

Kat Munro is a Vancouver Film School grad and still teaches animation classes there. She also worked for Disney doing animation, which inspired her to create paintings that tell a story with quirky characters. She calls her artwork assemblage or collage, and her murals are filled with found objects, fabric, clay, and paper. Munro likes the idea of her artwork being interactive and adds little hidden surprises in many of her paintings.

One day she saw a television commercial with a huge piñata and she suddenly saw a way to take the characters from her paintings, bring them to life, and make them interactive–piñatas. She began making her paper mâché creations in 2013 for friends. Early in 2014 she donated two piñatas, Alice and The Mad Hatter, to Canuck Place in Vancouver where they still live. And now she and her family share their little house with prom princesses, poltergeists, and Speedo Man.

Her piñatas started out as quite simple caricatures but each time she finishes one, Munro says she can’t wait to get started on the next one to incorporate ever more creative ideas. The evolution of her piñatas is evident in the cast of characters in her living room today. Each one is incredibly detailed, and as Munro explains, more action-oriented than her original designs. There is the flying trapeze artist who is swooping through the air on her trapeze and the tightrope walker balancing delicately on her tightrope. These piñatas will join several more on display at the Art 4 Life show running at the Port Moody Arts Centre, 2425 St. Johns, during the month of October, 2015. They will be available for purchase at the show.

If you are interested in having yourself, or someone you know, immortalized in paper mâché, Munro also makes personalized piñatas. She uses photographs and personal information about hobbies and interests to design a completely original and individual piñata. They make a one-of-a-kind gift or a special prop for any celebration such as birthdays, showers, or maybe even a special wedding proposal. Although Munro’s piñatas are beautifully detailed pieces of art, she reminds me that they are working piñatas. She is not sentimental about her creations, and says she is fine knowing they might be filled with candy and bashed to pieces.

Visit itsapiñ for a glimpse of Munro’s delightful piñatas or to order your very own. But the website pictures don’t tell the full story of these eccentric little characters, there is so much detail, texture, and colour that brings them to life. Be sure to check out Munro’s circus gang at the Port Moody Arts Centre between October 4 and 29, 2015.

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