Kathryn DeMarco

Kathryn DeMarco



“And then I looked at myself here, chicken scratching for my immortality.” from Hejira by Joni Mitchell.

I have been repeating this lyric to myself ever since the first time I heard it. “Chicken scratching for my immortality” is a vivid image about how all beings persevere with a fierce desire to survive. I think of immortality when I am bounding up a steep hill on a run or when hear about a young Thai soccer team using cooperation and instinct to endure days trapped in a mine. The optimism of family and rescuers to not give up hope never ceases to amaze me. I think of immortality when I see my cats positioning for the best plate of food and then cuddling after the dispute is settled or when I see a group of small birds pursing a hawk that has gotten too close to the nest. Those birds are protecting their brood and all the while the hawk is doing the same thing.

My collage portraits flesh out a moment in time that is personal to me. I have the autoimmune disease, Type 1 Diabetes, diagnosed in my early 20’s. It was a shock because I was so active, so healthy. I had to learn how to take care of myself without giving up anything, Still, I have some low points and have to make compromises almost every day. These portraits resonate feelings of defiance, distress, vulnerability, wonder and power that are universal for all people and animals. There is always a challenge, little or huge, for all of us.


Kathryn DeMarco is a collage artist who lives and works in Durham, NC.  She has a BFA from Boston University.  She attended a Penland Workshop, Drawing and Storytelling with Melissa Stern which has influenced a new diversity of materials used for collage.   Kathryn has been a part of the creative team of Custom Framers and Craven Allen Gallery since 1997.

Kathryn has had solo shows at Craven Allen Gallery, Crook’s Corner, the Duke Eye Center, Golden Belt Room 100.  Her work has been included in numerous juried shows and invitationals.  Her collages are in private collections across the United States.

Kathryn volunteers with Independent Animal Rescue where she has found many animal models!  She is available to create unique collages of your companion animals.

Working Method

My medium is collage and my focus is on portraiture and life studies.  My compositions come from photographs and my imagination.  I make a detailed charcoal drawing.  I begin the collage with the background first and then move to the figure in the foreground.  I use good quality art magazines, specialty papers and painted papers.  I use oil pastel, acrylic paint and alcohol markers.

As I work, I look for papers that fit the composition in several ways.  The paper should have the tone or color needed for space and the images or text fit the mood of the subject.

I don’t have bins with the paper sorted.  I get a lot of pleasure looking for the right piece and fitting it in.  I also end up disappointed because sometimes I have to cover up some really great piece because the drawing needed to be fixed!

I use 100% acid free paper for the base and acrylic gel medium as the adhesive.  I protect the piece from ultraviolet light with Golden Self Leveling Gel.