Phoenix Artist Mayme Kratz Chronicles Beauty in Creative Space
See also: Artist Carrie Marill's Studio Combines Consciousness and Community
Photo by Thania Betancourt Mayme Kratz saturates the surface of one of her pieces.
See also: A Look Inside Phoenix Painter Lee Davis' Art Lab
Mayme Kratz proves to be an artist by nature in more ways than one. With her studio located near the railroad tracks and almost below a busy overpass, Kratz is just as industrious with her artwork as the surrounding area.
The large barred openings of the cement block studio at first seem to lock something away, but here, Kratz releases her clear observances of nature. And while she's often tagged as a resin artist, Kratz uses other natural materials in her work: seeds, leaves, twigs, cicada wings, bones, shells, cactus, beetles and, yes, sometimes snakes.
Over time, Kratz says she's has gathered a unique collection of objects and pieces. "My obsessive gathering and collecting is really about recording memory," she explains. "A lot of the times the objects I'm attracted to are recycled transformations."
Up a gravel path from the street and past her parked white pick-up truck, steps lead to the entrance of her studio with solar panel powered twinkle lights twisting around the handrail. Once inside, it's clear that nature isn't the only catalyst for Kratz's creativity.
Rows and piles of poetry collections and biographies fill the artist's studio office. Mary Oliver (The Leaf and the Cloud and Owls and Other Fantasies) stands as the most influential writer for Kratz, but other literature stacked on her desk includes Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of the Senses, Staying Alive, Real poems for Unreal Times (edited by Neil Astley), John Ruskin's Modern Painters and Timothy Walsh's The Dark Matter of Words.
Along with writing, Kratz's strong mentors early in life made all the difference in her development, she says. With a skilled craftsperson for a mother, an aunt who was a painter, and a machinist father, Kratz was given a unique perspective on material and putting things together.
"There's always an element of beauty to the work (I do)," she says. "I think we need beauty in our lives. This space found me, and it was truly one of those moments when you know you're on your path."