Cathey White

“I am greatly influenced by the street art I see around me, and the layered walls that tell the constantly changing story of the community. When I look at the walls in Philadelphia, there is such a history; one story on top of another on top of another…”

What does creativity mean to you?

Creativity means seeing things differently. It means imagination and playing. It doesn’t really matter what one is doing in order to be creative. It is just a way of thinking and dreaming your own reality. Daydreaming and making pretend are some of my favorite pastimes.

How do you express yourself? What is your medium?

I work mainly in spray paint and acrylic. My paintings are done on canvas or wood typically.

What are your favorite tools of creativity?

My favorite tools for creativity are pilot G2 pens (micron pens are dope too), ball point pens and markers for sketching. I love a classic hardbound black sketchbook. I love little blank books I can stuff in my pocket or backpack for notes and ideas, For my paintings I use spray paint and mainly use Molotow Belton paints but have also just started using Flame spray paint as well. I use acrylic paint and I like it fluid and inky so I’m really feeling golden high flow acrylic. Montana also makes some really great acrylic paint markers and I use the paint straight out of the bottle with brushes.

Do you have any rituals or routines that support your creativity?

My daily ritual is to constantly make snap shots and observations in my mind of the city. I also try and make a habit of keeping a sketchbook. My sketches are the first take on my paintings. They inform me and also help me work out whether something is meant to be a finished painting. The sketchbook is like an artist’s diary.

Who or what is inspiring you lately?

Lately I am most inspired by people. People who are living the life they want and folks that keep pushing no matter what obstacles come their way. I try and make sure I stay in touch with artist friends and see what they’re up to and share the experience that is the life of an artist. My favorite artist of all time is Keith Haring. His work is an inspiration but even more than that his passion for art and artistic drive to make was pretty amazing. Last year I got to see his exhibit, The Political Line at the DeYoung Museum and I can’t really even describe what it was like for me to sit in rooms full of his work. His spirit and energy were definitely in the room.

When it comes to creativity, what are you most afraid of?

I would say procrastination and thinking too much get in the way. I think about art a lot. I daydream about making and also about success. I guess what I sometimes fear is I’ll do all of it in vain. Then I have to have a chat with myself and remember this is what I am here to do. Art is what I always come back to and I am successful if I create. There is a strange thing that happens when you create. Something takes over at times. I mean that to say there are times I look back and am in awe myself as to how I created something. The scary part comes when it is time to sit down and create again and it’s like your first time again.

How do you get over that fear and continue to create?

What I am learning more and more is all the time I’m thinking and hesitating, I could be making. It’s so important to enjoy the process and move through the fear. Once you start moving, well you know what they say about a body in motion…well same thing for art in motion, so just jump in!

What advice would you give to a creative person who was bogged down by fear?

What’s the worst thing that can happen? Really… what is the worst thing that could happen if you just do it (whatever “it” may be? I mean if people won’t die because of it, the world won’t blow up; then I say go for it. You can’t win if you don’t play the game. Hell it’s like the lottery; ya gotta play to win folks! And if ya lose, did you really lose? You did it, you made a move, and you took a step in a direction. Even the wrong direction informs the right direction. Talk with other creative people; it helps to know you’re not the only one trying. Watch documentaries of other creative people. Say yes. Even when you’re not totally sure…and as my good artist friend e bond always says “keep your eyes on your own paper.”

In 5 words or less, name your inner creative genius:


See Cathey White’s art up close and personal at her next opening at B Square Gallery on Saturday May 7th from 6 to 8pm.

Cathey White is an artist, educator, and native of Philadelphia. White’s paintings speak to the beauty and color that can be found throughout the muted background of the city. The urban environment and the vibrance found in typically unnoticed places are her greatest source of inspiration. You can see more of her work on her website,, or via her social media links below.

Share This

Share this post with your friends!