Childhood Landscape: Raised by an artist and a poet, playing with the children of artists, there was little chance that Kevin would gravitate towards a desk job, but perhaps his fate was sealed the day he peeked into the studio window of his friend’s father to see a naked woman posing for the artist. Kevin’s myriad interests and talents were apparent early; in school he was the go-to guy for signs, illustrations and school posters. His parents remember him always making things — collages, clay models, miniature scenes — out of the materials lying around the house.
Continuing Education: After art school, with its high pressure atmosphere and misfit student body, Kevin and a friend took a European trip that ended up lasting 3 years. Kevin spent several months on the Greek Island of Paros, doing his best impression of a starving artist by selling watercolors and photographs, painting taverna menu signs in exchange for food and teaching windsurfing — first to himself, then to tourists. After drifting through a few more countries and jobs (movie projectionist in Berlin, graphic designer in Amsterdam), Kevin landed in New York City, where he freelanced as a graphic designer then, noticing that photographers seemed to have more fun, taught himself to take pictures, opened a commercial studio and worked for clients including Saks Fifth Avenue and Clinique.
Inspirational Sources: Among his family (particularly his 7 year-old son), it is a source of great pride that Kevin’s sense of humor was born in his early exposure to Mad Magazine, particularly Don Martin’s floppy-footed characters. Visual storytelling, particularly with quirky images, have always appealed to him. His love of cartoons led him to create his own, a possible explanation to why he is so drawn to the idea of helping people chronicle their lives in an unconventional way.
Early Literary Career: Books were such a critical part of Kate’s early life that at age nine, sensing a gap in the marketplace, she wrote her own first book, a highly subjective examination of the difficulties of dog training. It included a section on coaxing a dalmation to jump obstacles and another of dog tricks to amuse your friends, none of which her dog found at all amusing. Later stories tended to touch on her own life — the ickiness of boys, then the dreaminess of boys, followed by tales of horror in the pit of despair otherwise known as high school.
In and Out of Vogue: College was a blur of Great Novels and skiing and before she knew it she’d landed in New York City, struggling not to look like a fashion hick among her designer-laden coworkers at Vogue Magazine. Later, after a stint at a fitness magazine so small its offices were squeezed into a closet adjoining the publisher’s much more lucrative porn magazines, Kate ended up at W Magazine and Womens’ Wear Daily, first in New York, then in Paris, where her assignments ranged from following French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier through the Paris nightclub scene to interviewing Anthony Hopkins on a film set in Berlin to writing about cheese in Amsterdam. After a few years, Kate returned to New York, decided she’d rather hang out with her dog and went freelance. She wrote a gardening book called Plant Parenthood (MacMillan), essentially a primer on how to not kill your houseplants, contributed to a book of essays about parenting boys (It’s a Boy, Seal Press) and freelanced for a number of magazines including Self, Interview, the Los Angeles Times and In Style.
A Good Listener: There was much to love about New York, but chief among its perks were the many and varied opportunities to eavesdrop on others’ conversations. In the subway, on the sidewalk, at restaurants…Kate carried a notebook into which she inscribed the choicest snippets (including “I thought I was going to marry him until he ate sushi with a fork.”). At parties, she drifted towards the quieter people who, she was convinced, had the most interesting things to say.
Kevin & Kate
Dating? What’s That?: By the first anniversary of their meeting (in 2002), they had bought a house 120 miles north of New York City, were hard at work ripping out the interior so they could put in a new one and were a few months away from welcoming Owen into their lives and their half-trashed house. On the property were an old stone house and two barns and what good are barns without animals? Before they knew it, they had a large family of goats, chickens and a fat white duck. By the time, two years later, Maya arrived from Guatemala, the house was renovated and four goats had turned to five.
Setting Up Shop: Last year, Kevin and Kate picked up the goats, chickens and fat white duck (and Owen and Maya) and moved to a new house, in Columbia County New York, with two large barns which serve as studios. Over the years they’ve continued to paint and write separately but have found that some of their most enjoyable and creative projects came when they collaborated. Which was where the idea of My Local Muse was hatched.