13MOONS had the absolute pleasure of connecting with Artist, Goddess, and Body Activist, Kat Shaw for this month’s Body Issue.
“Kat Shaw is a prolific artist who connects to Goddesses from all over the world.
She works tirelessly to breathe life into these Divine Goddesses, making each painting not only unique and vibrant, but also infusing them to carry and share the particular energy and personality of each Goddess.
Kat prides herself on breaking through the stereotypical views of beauty that have been cast upon society by the media, having made her name painting the glorious reality that is a woman’s body.
Her nude studies of real women garnered unprecedented popularity within only a few short months, as women were crying out for themselves to be portrayed in art, rather than the airbrushed images of the perfection of the female form that are so rife in today’s culture.” (From https://katshaw.art/)
Kat has shared an extensive gallery of her magical Goddess paintings, as well as an exclusive interview.
13MOONS: We are so excited for you to be sharing your incredible artwork and personal magic with our community! Can you tell us a bit about how you got started on this journey and how that led to working with women and their bodies?
Kat Shaw: Ah, thank you for the warm welcome into your amazing community! Already being a Reiki Master (Angelic/Karuna/Usui), mindfulness mentor, animal communicator and all round wellbeing practitioner, I was running wellbeing conferences for children and teens around the country until a few years ago. But that wasn’t to be my path, and the universe stepped in!
After completing a degree in fine art in what feels like another life, becoming a single mum and training to be a teacher, life was bobbing along at extremely high speed until 2018 when my daughter became very ill, very quickly, and was housebound. I had stopped work and was her full time carer, and this time of stillness and caring for my daughter gave me the chance to remember myself, realizing how lost I had become and hearing Goddess for the first time.
I was exceedingly anxious about my daughter, not exercising, eating everything that was delivered to us, and hating myself for it. My confidence was at rock bottom and my mental health was in shatters. I put on over 4 stone in just 10 months and was disgusted with myself, loathing the reflection in the mirror and violently hating every single part of me. One day in tears, I realized I couldn’t go on like that. And I began drawing myself. Naked. Every single lump and bump and roll and curve and fold. Saggy boobs, rolls of fat, wrinkles, cellulite. It was all included! And I cried and I drew and cried and drew. And then I added glitter and used these drawings as a stepping stone to looking at myself as a work of art. I then started painting myself, and this is where it all began!
The Goddess Rhiannon was around me a lot at this time and was encouraging my wholeheartedly on this path to self love and embracing myself as Her – as Goddess. My confidence began to grow, because even though I couldn’t look at my body and love it, I could look at the paintings and see beauty and Divinity. I became kinder to myself, empowered and more connected to my body than I had ever been.
And then one other woman wanted to feel that way so sent me her photo.
And then another.
And the revolution had begun!
Fast forward 4 years and I have painted nearly 1,000 women from their photos. That is my absolute unwavering ethos. I only paint from the glorious reality of women’s bodies – no airbrushing or photoshopping – just perfect reality in all its shapes and sizes. My images are hugely emotional for a lot of women as they give them the gateway to self-acceptance and love, and the permission to be who they are, and still be able to harness the Divine Feminine. I pride myself on breaking through the stereotypical views of beauty that have been cast upon us as women by the media, painting the glorious reality that is a woman’s body. I just couldn’t believe how many women were feeling the same way about their bodies as I was – women were crying out for themselves to be portrayed in art, rather than the airbrushed images of the perfection of the female form that are so rife in today’s culture. My mission is to empower as many women as possible to reach their fullest potential by embracing their bodies and loving themselves wholeheartedly.
Also, within this time, I have trained as and am a Priestess of Avalon, a sister of Rhiannon, a Priestess of Magdalene Rose and a dedicated devotee of Kali. As well as painting, I run circles and Goddess workshops and trainings including “Walking the Path of Kali – a yearly spiral journey”.
13MOONS: The visual style of your artwork is so compelling in the way that you celebrate each unique body type that represents real women and their bodies. I love that you keep each one faceless; can you speak a bit about this decision and how you feel it adds to the experience of your artwork?
KS: I just love painting women into Goddesses and my artwork focuses on empowering women to love themselves in a world where the media makes them feel unworthy. We spend years hiding away, covering up, dimming our shine, becoming “small”. Forgetting to love ourselves, lacking self belief and shrinking behind the views of others. Most of us have lost ourselves, forgotten our purposes or are living our lives confined within perceptions that society puts on us, doing ourselves injustices every day by belittling ourselves, hating our bodies and not honoring our radiance. And I am here to shout from the rooftops that REAL bodies are Ok – in fact, they’re more than OK, they’re glorious!
We live in a world where airbrushing is considered normal in order to achieve beauty and the time has come for women to break free. To love their bodies – having gratitude for their flesh and reconnecting with fierce and abundant self-love. This is why I ONLY work directly from photos, and not from “imagination” as my mind is just as brainwashed as everyone else’s when thinking about what a woman “should” look like. But it’s amazing how much beauty and magical wonder there is to be found in the “everyday woman’s” body shape!
And the faceless aspect is a really, really important factor of my artwork, because we are all one. We are all Goddesses. The time is now for women to Stand together. Honor each other – and know that we are not alone. No filters, no shame – Just perfection, liberation, beauty and freedom. And so many women look like the Goddesses I paint. They can “see” themselves in the body shapes and the voluptuous landscapes of the women I have painted. And it is for that reason that I keep them faceless. The blank faces become a mirror. Women are invited to stand in the glory and wonder of the real ladies seen in my paintings, with their faces blank to reflect back the Goddesses that they are themselves. I believe that the more women who see themselves as a work of art, the more the paradigm of the “perfect woman” will shift.
Imagine a society where women actually loved themselves! That would be pretty amazing if you ask me!
13MOONS: One of the things I love most about your work is that it is so cohesive as a body of work, yet every single piece has its own energy and individuality. What inspires the way a particular Goddess painting looks, from her pose, color scheme, and even body type?
KS: Ah, if only you knew what it was like to be inside my head!!!! Being a direct channel for Goddess is a blessing and a curse – because believe me, if they want to be painted, there is often no sleep for me! I have a queue of Goddesses in my brain waiting to be painted – on a good day there’s about 40 in the queue, and on a busy day, there have been up to 90 Goddesses wanting to come through to me! Some jostle to be heard (KALI!!!!), some stand more quietly awaiting their turn (Mother Mary), but all want to be heard and seen and brought into consciousness so that their energies, gifts and healing potential can lift women and empower them to awaken their Divine Feminine within.
And as well as the paintings, they are also feeding me other projects – “Imperfectly Fabulous Affirmation cards for the 21st Century Goddess”, “Pocket Goddess Guidance cards”, “Pocket Affirmation cards”, “The Path of the Divine Feminine Oracle cards – volume 1 and 2”, (volume 3 will be published before the end of the year!) “The Path of Kali Oracle cards” with accompanying book “Walking the Path of Kali”… and that’s not to mention my projects “And Still I rise – Survivors”, “Golden Warriors – women whose breasts have been touched by cancer”, “Changing History to HERstory” (Which is now a published book!) and so so much more.
I have three more books coming out and am also working on a new set of Goddess Inspiration cards! Like I said being in my head is not always a calm and serene space to live!!!! I have ADHD and am constantly driven and hardly ever stop!!!!! Having said that, when I am with a particular Goddess in the depths of painting Her essence, I can hyper-fixate and paint without stopping – 16 hours has been the longest time so far!
Goddess works with me in various ways when I am creating my Goddess paintings. Sometimes I look at a photo that a woman has sent me and I hear or see them how a particular Goddess wants them to be. A lot of the times I’ve never even heard the names of the Goddesses, I have to just go with it! Other times, a Goddess will call to me to be painted and without fail, a conversation will lead to that Goddess, or a particular photo will appear that is perfect. I also do commissions and when those women send me their photos, I just hand over to Goddess and connect to the energy of the photo. When I am painting a particular Goddess, their energy is with me and in me and working through me and I can feel their essence. I always paint in sacred space and sometimes in a lucid state, allowing the paintings to just emerge, and using water from the red and white springs in Glastonbury.
The colors appear as they’re meant to, and everything slots into place – if I take my head out of the way – I learnt a long time ago that it wasn’t up to me to “create” what the Goddess wants to look like, but instead, let Goddess channel the way She wants to be through my paintbrushes. I tend not to google or research a particular Goddess until afterwards as I never
want preconceived ideas of what I “should” be painting. I want to see bodies that look like mine. I want to see real flesh. I want to feel like I fit in to society in an acceptable way. I want to feel normal. I want to feel worthy. I want to feel that my shape of body is pretty enough to be shown and appreciated. I want real bodies to be normalized. And I know other women want that too.
My hope is that women find love and peace in their life.
My hope is that women find a sanctuary within their own bodies.
My hope is that through Goddess love, women can find their inner Divine Feminine Goddess energy and live the life they were born to with passion.
I feel totally blessed to be a vessel for Goddess consciousness and this is my way of being of
service to Goddess, by bringing them physically into the world to heal, empower and inspire all.
13MOONS: Many of our creators and readers are sensitive creatives themselves that are shifting away from the 9-5 employment paradigm and seeking to sustain themselves and their families through their own unique medicine. What advice would you give to those that are interested in making their artwork or products their main source of income?
KS: My main piece of advice would be to just DO IT. Holding back and dithering will never get you here you want to be. The most important thing is to find something UNIQUE to you. In a
“spiritual” market that is already saturated, being individual will make you stand out. You also have to love what you are doing as it is not easy work. I would say as an artist, 20% is painting and 80% is social media and promotion, and even though I have staff managing various parts of my business, I still spend a huge chunk of my life NOT painting! Also, find your passion and make that your joy. All of my artwork is a personal journey for me. It’s a way to battle my demons and try to get my head straight. I am on a constant journey towards happiness and contentment, stripping back years and even lifetimes of restrictions, negative thought patterns and other people’s beliefs.
It just so happens that I am not the only woman who feels like this, and so my work resonates with a lot of women. It comes directly from my heart and soul and from personal experiences and hurt and the will to rise again, and when something is true and empathic, I think it is heard and accepted by others. Everything is my personal journey as well. I do not create my art from a position of being totally sorted and in love with myself… I create my artwork because every day I want to feel compassion for my body and I am really trying to do that for myself as well as fiercely battling for other women to see and feel the same. My art is not just something I “do”. It is who I am.
13MOONS: Is there a particular upcoming project or piece that you are most excited about right now?
After these last vile years of lockdown, I am absolutely missing and craving connection – not just on zoom, but real, soul and human interaction connections! So, totally single handedly I have taken on a HUGE renovation project! I am renovating a barn to become a collaborative space for women to meet in circle for ceremony, laughter, tears, holding, empowerment and so much more. I’ve been working on it for 6 months and NEXT WEEKEND is the opening!!!!!!!
Most people thought I was crazy when I told them what I was going to do. In fact, every person thought I was crazy and delusional, but I was guided. There is still a huge amount to do, but armed with my hammer drill and electric screwdriver, I am up for the challenge and am so so excited to welcome women and bring together sisterhood.
I am also working on changing the censorship laws on social media and collaborating with others to make the change. One of my paintings has just been exhibited in the RANKIN exhibition “The Unseen” in London, I have plans to demonstrate outside the Instagram offices in London and so much more. I am enraged that we are bombarded with airbrushed and photoshopped, heavily filtered images every day which destroy the confidence of women and impact hugely on their self-worth and mental health. Yet I am not allowed to freely post my paintings of real women. To try and reach women in order to empower them is like a war zone where I am being fired at and taken down from every angle. I am blocked and censored weekly, and these shadow bans not only stop me spreading female empowerment, but also affect my business financially.
What I am allowed to post on social media…
*airbrushed and photoshopped images of women’s bodies in sexually provocative positions and scantily clad for the admiring male gaze, which hold up crushing beauty standards and have a huge detrimental impact on women’s mental health…
What I am not allowed to post on social media…
*un-airbrushed, un-filtered photos of women’s bodies… shared for themselves and their own
On a daily basis, I am shown just how messed up the world we live in is, and it breaks me every
day. Yet, I know it is too important for me to stop fighting, because I need to fight for my body, as she cries out to be accepted and loved exactly the way that she is. And I need to fight for the bodies of every single woman in this world. And I need to fight to bring Goddess consciousness
back. A lot of people tell me to blur out nipples/pubes, but I absolutely refuse… My whole ethos is about breaking down the patriarchy to have equality between men and women, and it’s a male view that a woman’s nipple is deemed inappropriate because the female form has been
sexualized, or vilified. So, it’s apparently inappropriate to show it. “Keep women submissive and demure and hide their bodies.”
A woman’s body is Her temple and Her power… and when women find their power, the balance of the world will change! So, rather than conform to society (which is why women hide away their bodies and feel shame if they don’t have pert breasts or a size 8 figure) and blur out the nipples and dim the power in my art, I choose to take the shadow blocking, in the hope that 1 day, the balance will be restored, and women’s bodies will be worshipped as they should be – not hidden away because society deems them “inappropriate to view!”
I have also been in touch with Microsoft word as I am disgusted that on their handy synonym tool, the world self-love comes up as “egotistical, “selfish” and “narcissistic”. What type of a world do we live in and what hope will we have for the future is this is the perception of self love? Engineers are now looking in to this.
Thank you for this opportunity….
Thank you for hearing me…
I will never be quiet.
PLEASE CHECK OUT MY WEBSITE TO SEE PROJECTS OLD AND NEW!
All of my art can be purchased through my Etsy shop.
My main fb page gets updated every day with the latest projects I’m working on: