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Artists Of La Crosse: Cat Dagendesh

The purpose of this project is to bring awareness to the art community, what artists stand for, their purpose, their mediums, about the artist themselves and most importantly to connect everyone to one another.

For my project, I will be creating a piece dedicated to the artist and their art. It is a piece that integrates the two together; The process of this involves me taking a portrait of the artist and then creating a double exposure of the artist with their art

In conclusion ~ Make art of the artist and their art

It's like art to the third power or art inception!

This is a fun and interactive way for other artists to meet one another or learn about each other. I will be sharing a new artist weekly so please make sure to check back in to see the new featured artist.

as always~ Enjoy!


This Week's Feature

Artist name: Cat Dagendesh

Medium(s): Painter/ Muralist/ Tattoo Artist Acrylic, Watercolor, Oil, Ink, Pencil, Pastel, Charcoal

Personal Art Instagram: @Cat Dagendesh

Tattoo Instagram: @Cattuu

When did you notice that you had a love for art? Probably high school was when I first noticed my love for Art. I started drawing as young as I can remember and have been mesmerized by it my entire life. I recall being in trouble by my teachers and parents often in grade school because I was always drawing instead of paying attention. Art for me is a way of life, it’s in everything I see, think,’s literally everything I am. It’s a flow of feeling and deepness I can’t really explain. I desire to express it constantly, and the struggle is that there’s never enough time. In recent years, I’ve discovered art is more to me than I ever realized. I love to study the world, I’m constantly in awe of it, the very existence and meaning of it all. I study myself the most, and as Frida Kahlo says, “I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.” Growing up was difficult for me. I didn’t have the support system I needed, and because of it, it’s taken me until a few years ago to seek out the proper help. Childhood trauma forced me to grow up quick, the only thing that was a constant for me was my art, it allowed me to vent my pain and stay creative. My art has been one of the biggest things that’s kept me pushing forward. I’ve watched myself and my art transform so much since I was a child, and I’m always looking deeper into why I paint what I paint. I usually don’t have a message right away or a purpose for the paintings I choose, it’s just an image I see in my head or out in’s a feeling that's drawn to me and I have to paint it.

Are you originally from La Crosse? If not, where are you from and how long have you lived here? I’m not from La Crosse, but my dads side of the family is from West Salem, that's what brought me here 14 years ago. I’m a military brat, I’ve grown up in a few different places. I was born in Okinawa, Japan but moved away when I was an infant so I have no memories of it. We lived in Corpus Christi, Texas for the first 9yrs of my life, and traveled around the U.S in that time visiting family and my dad when he was stationed in various states for the Navy. In 1998, when I was 10, my dad retired after 23 years in the Navy and my family decided to move to Pueblo, Colorado, I remember ringing the new millennium there. I lived in Colorado for another 10 years and graduated high school there. A year after high school I was looking for new opportunities and moved to La Crosse, WI, and I’ve been here since. When the time's right I'll move somewhere else, I guess I’m sort of a traveler for life.

Growing up what were your major influences as an artist? Other artists, Life events? Nature probably has had the biggest influence on me, I feel the most loved, free and connected to myself there. I pine to be there all the time. Travel is my friend and I’m dreaming of bigger ideas to be apart of it more often.

As far as people that influence me, I look to artists like MC Escher, Dahli, Basquiat. However, one of the artist that’s the most influential to me now is Marina Abramovic, a performance artist from Belgrade, Serbia. She breaks a lot of rules in the art industry and it’s fuckin raw art...I’m just mesmerized by her and her messages each performance has. My boyfriend, partner in crime, best friend, Adem Faeth is another local La Crosse artist that has also inspired me so much. I’ve loved his art from the moment I saw it hanging up at a coffee shop that used to be on the North Side (Old Towne Grounds). He encouraged me to try oil and acrylic paints for the first time 5yrs ago and he’s a huge influence of my career as a Muralist and a Tattooist.

What message do you want to share about your art? I don’t quite know. I’m still trying to understand what message it has for me. I do know that you have to love yourself first, it’s been a struggle for me, but I’ve found some self love amongst the rubble…tiny little light at the end beaming my way.

What do you stand for as an artist?

I stand for authenticity. Being raw and genuine. I stand for the underdog and accept all artists. Art is a personal thing, it’s a pathway to understanding yourself and others better. I believe in getting out of my comfort zone regularly, only there is growth.

What is your process or headspace you get into while creating new pieces?

Typically, I try to take care of myself so I can feel good enough to paint. What that means is taking care of myself as a whole, body and mind. Eating the right foods and exercising regularly. When I neglect myself, there's a chaos body, my organs, my head, everything is loud. And when I take care of myself properly, it’s quiet and calm...that’s where I can feel the energy to create. This doesn’t mean that my paintings are only done when I’m happy. I can still be depressed but taking care of myself the best I can. My paintings all come from different moods and feelings at various times. But the best recipe that works for me is self care.

I have a pair of big headphones that are noise reducing, I really like to wear them and listen to music as I paint. It’s therapeutic to drown everything out and be in my own space. I listen to a variety of artists but my favorite is white noise ambient type music, Tim Hecker, Lorn and Klimek are among my favorites.

What does the piece you chose for this project mean to you? Why did you choose this one vs other pieces you have created?

Although I have many pieces I would’ve liked to include, I feel that this is the best one to describe my current self. I’ve been drawing a series of pieces since high school that I call, “Segmentations”. I feel that I draw these pieces segmented because I’m not whole, trauma has a way of fucking shit up and often times we will always live with it. In the last few years of some serious looking inward and sitting in my traumas, I started painting a thermal/heat look. My pieces in the past where usually painted with greys, blacks and dull tones. I feel that since starting own therapy, my healing has begun and that’s why my pieces present a thermal/heat look...maybe I’m coming to life. And recently, I’ve been painting reflection pieces, I feel that this is a sign that I’m reflecting on my past. I tend to paint in reverse, I paint first and then find the

Thank you!

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