Kate Wolfgang Savage
Photographed and Interviewed by Debbie Zeitman
TribeLA Magazine Acrostic Interview.2 – Debbie Zeitman
Influence: What would you like to share with our audience and what effect do you hope to have on us?
I wish everyone who isn’t battling immediate survival would slow down, kindly ingest the world that surrounds them, and think of ways they can help build community. To tread with greater care on the planet. To mitigate anger with compassion, which is starting to sound cliché but is so vital at this time. And to go vegan for the sake of the animals and the world.
Back: If you could choose a past literary/art/music movement to be a part of, which would you choose?
Whenever I hear of times where it’s said that artists/writers/musicians hung out together – like Paris in the 1920s – for conversation and to share ideas, that’s what I want to be a part of. I long for that sense of exchange and community. But I will add that I embody a lot of the hippie era, at least the romanticized version. It’s no accident that I ended up on a month-long Soviet-American peace walk in the former Soviet Union back in my 20s.
I started as a photojournalist back in my college years, and covered a great deal of sports, drawn in by my knowledge of athletics and how all the emotions of human existence end up on display on a sports field.
Kate Wolfgang Savage
In 2010, when Kate visited Venice, just one time she knew it was what she was looking for. It took her a while to find other fine artists – she had found writers and musicians – so she painted at home. Then she found 361 Vernon Ave. in 2013.
“I’m frustrated that I have to put a lot of energy into relocating to just keep doing what I’m doing. At the same time, it’s bringing focus to what’s happening in Venice.” Many are concerned by the impact of, for instance, the tech companies coming in. Kate and others, including studio mate MB Boissonnault, are looking for solutions. “People who can hold a broader viewpoint – and are not locked into a viewpoint that nothing can be done – are coming together.” Kate acknowledges that there is a need for some attitude adjustments across the board about working together with the goal of “bringing people together who are bigger purpose minded and see it needs to be win-win rather than being angry, which doesn’t work. Take angry energy and put it towards a solution and not just a solution for you because then it is not the solution. When things change and it creates a problem, you get to choose if you’re going to be a victim or find power in it. You can’t stop things from changing, so we started thinking, ‘What can we do about it?'”
Kate acknowledges that is a long process to get support from the city. Corporations are top of the power chain, yet there is an “opportunity for someone with wealth and power to step up. We need spaces to work that are protected from inflation. And we need to have local support to buy artwork. The whole world is looking to Venice. Why do people come to Venice? The draw, whether you think you like art or not, is created by a diverse city. Built on the foundation of ‘energetic aliveness.’”
Debbie Zeitman has photographed over 50 Venice Artists and still counting. Fifteen artist portraits and stories are hanging at Wabi Venice (1635 Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice). Her photographic life began as a freelance photographer for the Associated Press covering primarily sports. Now her eyes drift to life’s everyday rich details, whether tiny or grand. She also spends an extraordinary amount of time trying to capture the meaningful expressions of shelter dogs and cats in an attempt to get them to safety and into permanent homes. In addition, Debbie advocates for all animals and lives a vegan lifestyle.