It’s time to spin your snapback to the snap-forward position, borrow some sportswear from a relative who is at least double your actual clothing size, and make sure your jeans are so low you are unable to comfortably function as a human being, because Catherine Grossreider is serving some serious 90s vibes, with her hip-hop inspired designs and characters. With a fast-food fetish dripping in sexy surrealism, combined with the adorable energy of anime and a certain sense of cultural critic; Catherine’s work switches from serious to silly quicker than the colonel can serve you a bucket of body-bits, and its finger-lickin’ good.
Catherine was drawn in to the depths of graffiti culture from a relatively young age, and artwork became a passion born from pleasure. “I first took an interest in graffiti and hip hop when I was 12 years old. I remember my father supporting my interest by gifting me with spray can and various graffiti books. I'd study them for hours. My first experience in graffiti art was my summer holidays spent in Switzerland, where my father is from. I would see it almost everywhere. I'm not sure if I liked the graffiti for its aesthetics, or because I thought it was so cool that a place could allow such artistic expression in public.” However, Catherine’s unique stamp on the street art scene, is arguably thanks to the cultural cocktail that a nomadic youth offered her.
“I'd say that it's Switzerland where I first learnt about graffiti and hip-hop culture. But it's Hong Kong that provided the good hip hop music, because the city is so international and had a great selection of releases. I remember first buying the Luniz and Nas' ‘It was written’ in Hong Kong. Of course, I'd closely observe the European graffiti styles of Dare and Won ABC, but also take some ingredients from the hip hop culture I was getting in Hong Kong. We used to have a Tower Records in Hong Kong and that's where I was getting American magazines like Scribble, The Source and Ego Trip during high school. I'd say my art and graffiti is a perfect mix of these cultural exposures. I was born in Bangkok and in my first 7 years of living there I absorbed a lot of after school anime and read a lot of Thai comics, so these aspects already moulded me aesthetically, prior to my interest in graffiti art. When we moved from Bangkok to Hong Kong, there was less anime (because most of it was shown in Chinese, and I was put in an international school to learn English) and more American cartoons after school, like Hanna Barbera, Nickolodeon and Disney cartoons. I suppose my style is a strange combo of early conditioning and graffiti.”
“I'm not sure if I liked the graffiti for its aesthetics, or because I thought it was so cool that a place could allow such artistic expression in public.”
Working in the present day, Catherine’s diverse style has enabled her to work with some exciting brands, like Jimmy Choo and Kangol, and she loves doing so. “Working for these brands came quite naturally! It helps when you are a big fan of the brand and work with their great representatives. They were easy going and gave me free reign to realise my artistic vision.” Cath is also able to create in Hong Kong’s developing street art scene, and senses the winds of change in the space she works in. “When graffiti first started out in Hong Kong, we were painting more letters, throw ups and pieces. Very textbook graffiti, because we were starting out. However, I think the direction is going more street art, as it is more commercial and accepted.”
Cath’s most disturbing body of work, she calls the “Fast Taste” collection of work. It features more boobs and naughty bits dripping with melted cheese and fryer grease than you’d care to shake your salt-n-pepa at; laced in with the kind of refined character work that wouldn’t look out of place on a New York subway. “I like to mock propaganda imposed by social justice warriors about fast food corporations, uncovering bad practices, genetic modification etc. These are elements you see in my ‘Fast Taste’ artworks, which are fast food related, namely fried chicken.” However, cute creations, like her character Jeliboo (which you can view on Cath’s instagram @cathloverosatwo) are also a large part of Catherine’s artistic identity.
“I don't know why I enjoy drawing both cute, curvy women and cartoons as well as freakier surreal art. It's like I switch between genres, whenever I want a break from one. I still like cute and innocent things, that's why I created Jeliboo. She’s a curvy girl character, that's enjoyable for everyone, including kids, they freakin' love Jeliboo for reason (it's the butt). However, I still have a stupid sense of humour and a knack for painting, so I express myself that way too, showing my abilities as a painter and communicating my beliefs and wit through my creatures and characters”.
Catherine’s character based designs also go some way to combating the school-uniform-wearing, eyelash-fluttering, fat-shaming representations of women in cartoon. Jeliboo for example, is a Yogi, skater chick and huntress, as well as her lucrative career as a plus-size glamour model. “I like to challenge that women need to paint "pretty" and "cute" with extra hearts and female portraits. Women can paint wildly, scary, crazy and ugly if they want to!”
“I enjoy drawing both cute, curvy women and cartoons as well as freakier surreal art.”
Catherine is currently focusing on her personal works, as well as commissions and mural works. If you’re into women with sass-and-ass (and if you’re not, then shame on you) her Instagram will provide your Jeliboo fix, as well as tasters of her more surreal works. Catherine also currently has work available with Moosey Art, and perhaps a purchase might leave your naughty-bits dripping with something better than pizza-grease.