Kate Tupper is a thirty-seven year old sculpture artist, welder/fabricator, and mother of two teenage boys. After graduating Selkirk College’s ‘C’ level welding program in 2004 she spent years working in trades,which gave her a first hand view of traditional uses of materials. Based in Nakusp BC and being surrounded by natural beauty helps to invoke Tupper's lifelong love of craft, nature and ecology which in turn, influences her method, texture and composition.
Sculpture and storytelling have always come easy to Kate, her earliest memories are of making things, multiple projects all of the time. Growing up in a old Victorian house beside forest and orchards, on the beach and in the garden, studios revolved depending on weather and seasons. Organic materials were abundant and waiting to be reinvented.
It was a compulsory grade 8 metals class that turned her onto her future occupation and a favourite medium; mild steel. After finishing trades school, Tupper spent several years as a maintenance welder in the logging industry utilizing employer's equipment to build sculpture on her lunch breaks. She continues to regularly show her work in galleries across the Kootenays. In 2008 she started her company Spark Tart to address the growing interest in custom metal work. Tupper runs the company from her two studios; one design, one welding. Sharing an equal passion for design, project management and artistic process inspires Tupper to create workshops in the local high school and greater community. She spends her summers designing, facilitating and mentoring as Shambhala Music Festival's leader of the Farm Decor team.
In November of 2012, Tupper began work as a heavy construction welder on the new Upper Arrow Lakes ferry. Located on Highway 23 between Revelstoke and Nakusp, the 26 million dollar ferry project started service in May of 2014. Working on this project led to a commission for the vessel funded in part by CKCA and Nakusp Art Party. Looking Aft was installed on the Columbia in April 2017. A 14’ stainless steel sculpture, constructed of a woven linear pattern referencing the humanity we bring to an object with our individual point of view.
In 2012 Tupper was the recipient of the Artistic Merit Award at Castlegar’s Sculpture Walk for Full Metal Basket, a piece that was a turning point for her work, taking it from safe useable sculpture to woven, abstract and emotionally-referenced forms. All Strings Attached, an entry from 2016 won third place for artistic Merit and went onto be leased for 2017 by the city of Nelson and the city of Penticton for the 2018 season. Moments Later, third runner up for peoples choice for Sculpture walk’s 2017 season, is a sculpture that explores themes surrounding the immediate future...it's potential for fruition, the moment when everything changes, malleable, impermanent...floating through time.
Heavenly Bodies AKA MAF Unit 0 is a 16’ tall 6’ diam steel and illuminated resin rocket planetarium. Marrying biological and technological imagery and symbolism, Its cosmic patterns and nano-tech vibe seek to connect us to our origins as well as point us to our future. Construction finished in fall 2017 for Heavenly Bodies a B.C. Arts Council funded project had its first appearance at Revelstoke's new Luna Public Arts Festival.
MAF is booked to show at Calgary’s Beakerhead Festival in 2018. Other showings are still only tentative.
Public art has been a focus for several years but 2018 will see Kate Tupper focusing on smaller more intricate pieces with a new body of work funded by another B.C. Arts Council grant titled Dynamis; Kinetic sensory down-regulating sculptures that create psychic sanctuaries. A series of mild steel, invented mythological power objects invite activation through physical interaction. Formed, fitted, welded, hand painted devices. Kinetic and interactive, composed of mild steel, accentuated with mechanics, resins, liquids, sound, and light. A collection of enchanted 3D botanics. Hybrid cocooned mysteries. Ethereal obscurities. Crystal, barnacle, matrix technologies. Fantastical dreamy components; devices of Sci fi myth await us. Just Imagine.