Reaching for the Stars

self-portrait of Kat Caverly, March 24, 2014
Kat Caverly, Self-Portrait March 24, 2014

I have had my head in the clouds for a very long time. When I sent my first letter to Leo Burnett himself in 1971 he responded with his famous motto: “When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.” Because of his recommendations I took classes at the American Academy of Art in 1972, the same year I came to the conclusion I needed a degree in psychology to succeed in advertising.

In 1966 I was reaching out to Dr. Norman Nachtrieb, the head of chemistry at the University of Chicago. Science had my brain. Art had my heart. Photography was the perfect marriage of art and science. By 1976, I fell in love with my life’s work when I started my advertising photography apprenticeship.

Photographer led to greeting card creator, led to comic performer, led to graphic designer. I worked in other artists like some work in oils when I created NoEvil Productions in 2004. At peak I had 28 creatives working for me; illustrators, writers, directors, voiceover actors, animators, composers, musicians. And now in 2014, I embark on my most ambitious transformation yet: I am creating an animated photocartoon series for toddlers. It is totally true that all those roads traveled led me to what’s next.

I was asked a few years ago why I wasn’t planning to retire at my age. Besides never planning to retire ever, I thought the question revealed a lack of understanding me. Most people hate to work. I started working full-time when I was 14 years old. I was creating projects even years before that. There is a point when my projects seem like I will do them forever. But they all come to an end and metamorphose into things I could never have predicted.

Art is a flow, and as an artist I had to learn to swim, sometimes against the current. I am still reaching for the stars here after more than 40 years. With any luck, I will continue for another 40 years.

Wish me luck!


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