Purpose, much like inspiration, can be found in a number of things, and interestingly enough, at any given time. So much so, that regardless of where we are and or what we may experience, our lives can change instantaneously. Take, for example, entrepreneur from New Jersey, Kathleen Odenthal. She was exposed to the world of visual art, found where her passion truly lies, and has been capturing what she loves on film ever since.
The inspiration doesn’t stop there. Not only is Kathleen an extremely talented photographer, she is also an author of a number of books and heads up a business with her fiance that provides extended opportunity for artists to succeed.
Take a moment a learn more about Kathleen and how she impacts the world with her works, while encouraging artists to continue to making a difference in the lives of others.
WBM: Who is Kathleen Odenthal?
KATHLEEN: I am a passionate person with a love for art, writing, photography and all things creative. I am a political activist and a published author. I am adamantly against violence, an old soul born way after her time.
WBM: Where are you from?
KATHLEEN: I was born in North Plainfield, New Jersey where I lived for a whole six months. I spent most of my childhood and teenage years in a small suburban town called Flemington, until I moved to Jersey City when I was 19; I have lived here ever since.
KATHLEEN: I have tons of interests. My biggest passion is photography, but I also like drawing and painting, yoga, knitting and crocheting, as well as traveling as much as I can.
WBM: What’s the best thing about expressing yourself through art?
KATHLEEN: The best thing is about expressing myself through art is that I can. For so long, I struggled with myself to find my own voice. I have battled with depression [and] addiction, and every time I tried to pick myself up, I would just get in my own way again. That is, until I found photography, until I found art. Art has given me an outlet, a voice I never had. It has given me the courage to speak through my work when I feel my voice is just not loud enough.
WBM: When did you first get involved? Was this something you always knew you wanted to do?
KATHLEEN: I was a late bloomer in the art world. I attended Catholic school all my life, and in neither my grammar school nor my high school was I ever offered an art class. I was led to believe that jobs were things like doctors, teachers, lawyers and CEOs, and I followed that path for a long time. I started college as a pre-law major, and finished two years before realizing that I was trying to fulfill the dreams of someone who wasn’t me. Five years after that, I would enter into a state college in Jersey City and major in film production. I had become intrigued with the idea of video editing, and decided to resume my education. Our first assignment was to shoot a roll of 35mm film on a manual camera. I had never in my life shot 35 mm film, or used a manual camera, but after that assignment, I fell in love with the idea that I could take a moment in time, and capture it in a box forever. I quickly switched to the school’s photography department, where I pursued my BFA, and I have never looked back.
WBM: So you capture time with photography. What’s the most amazing thing that you’ve shot?
KATHLEEN: I have been shooting now for about four years, and if you asked me what my favorite picture was 100 times, you would get 100 different answers. I love a ton of my shots, and I love them all for different reasons. I never pigeonholed myself as a photographer, so my portfolio is incredibly diverse. I have documentary style work, portraits, sports and fashion photography, as well as abstract and fine art work. But if I had to pinpoint my favorite series of images, it would definitely have to be my visit to the Grand Canyon. It was a remarkable trip and I walked away with incredible photos, along with even more incredible memories.
WBM: What is your camera of choice?
KATHLEEN: I’m definitely a Canon girl. Right now I shoot with a T3i, but I don’t think its the body as much as the lens, and I don’t think its the lens as much as it’s the person pressing the shutter. Anyone can have a camera, that doesn’t make them a photographer.
WBM: Do you prefer to be in studio or on location?
KATHLEEN: I don’t like shooting in studios at all. I’m all about getting out in the world and documenting what is happening right then and there. I enjoy going on adventures and documenting them. Going places others wouldn’t want to go. I’m definitely a boundary pusher. I also love taking photos of things people see every day, but capturing it in a way that makes it almost unrecognizable to those most likely to recognize it.
WBM: We understand you also head up an artist collective, do you mind sharing a little about that?
KATHLEEN: Yes, I do run an artistic collective. We’re called KPMedia Artistic Collective and right now we have seven talented artists from all over the United States. One of our artists, a talented graphic designer named Tynell Marceline, is actually from Trinidad and Tobago. We have painters, drawers, illustrators, photographers and writers. We have a website which has an online store where people can order original pieces, as well as fine art prints. We are also on Facebook. We are continuing to grow, and are working on acquiring a gallery space in the near future where we can exhibit the work of the artists. Until then, we utilize craft fairs to raise money for rent and other expenses, but things are definitely looking up for KPMedia. So yes, that’s a big part of my life right now, and something I definitely want to take off.
WBM: How great is it to be an entrepreneur?
KATHLEEN: I love being an entrepreneur. Nothing gives me more pleasure than being able to show other artists’ work to the world. Every time I get a job for one of the artists, or sell some of their art, it makes me feel terrific that I am helping other artists gain exposure. I love art, and my goal is to continue to help talented artists gain exposure and find jobs in this highly competitive market.
WBM: If you could share three things about success what would they be?
KATHLEEN: Three things about success, that’s tough. First of all, never give up. I have been through a LOT of hardships trying to get my company going, and there were many times I thought that being an artist just wasn’t a possibility for me if I wanted to get my bills paid. But I kept at it, and in the process met my fiance, AJ Romano, who is now my business partner. Between the two of us, we keep this company going. Second, plan. Don’t just expect success to happen. It takes TONS of foot work. I’ve carried suitcases of art on buses, along with foldable tables just to get to art shows. You have to REALLY want it. Three, accept help. I’ve always been stubborn when it came to accepting help from others, but today I realize how much I need those people who have supported me along the way.