“Rigidity is an artist’s kryptonite. My work is built on happy accidents!”  


Cathleen Klibanoff is a modern sculpture and mixed media artist based out of Asheville, NC.

Q: Tell us about your creative thought process. How do you decide on a project?

A: I find it difficult to trace a creative idea back to its source. Much like dreams, there doesn’t seem to be a beginning or an end. There is a point that gets captured somewhere in the middle and hopefully that story gets heard and retold a million times. The first hundred times it’s repeated in my head and shapeshifts with each cycle. I rarely have a singular creative idea, although there are exceptions such as Willy the koala, which I was compelled to do in an effort to help with the bushfires in Australia. Typically, one idea splinters into 6 to 10 pieces which become a collection.

Q: Does the art piece tend to evolve as you create it, or does it stay true to your initial idea?

A: My initial idea is an ever-changing reference point. Rigidity is an artist’s kryptonite! The beloved Bob Ross told us there were no mistakes, only happy accidents. My work is built on happy accidents!

Q: What are some art techniques you use or like?

A: Assemblage, wandering through Lowe’s plumbing department or a gnarly thrift store, and also I never minimize the artistic value of my mom‘s costume jewelry or my son’s forgotten toys.

Q: Your work features animals prominently. Tell us about your connection to animals. What do they mean to you? Why do animals like a zebra, for example, inspire you?

A: Animals are messengers for mother earth, father sky and the great beyond. They are pure channels without hidden agendas or the dysfunctional ambivalence which plagues modern man.

Zebras rock my world. I love the zebras’ stark contrasting pattern and the fact that no two zebras have the same stripes which is why they can be identified by reading their stripes like a barcode. Did you know that flies become disoriented by the stripes and therefore land less frequently?

I love that they have a repertoire of sound- they neigh, bray and bark, squeal and snort.

They are determined to not be domesticated. How’s that for integrity?!

They play nice with others. Due to their special digestive system, plains zebras eat harsher, less nutritious plants allowing tender new growth to appear for gazelles and wildebeest to enjoy.

And finally, it’s all about the butt! You can tell the three zebra species apart part by the striped pattern on their butts.

Both the Grevy and Equus zebras are in danger due to hunting and habitat destruction.

Q: What are your life philosophies or ideals & values you live by or relate to?

A: Family first.

If it’s not an absolute yes, it’s a no.

Perfection is for plastic, not people.

Queens never rush!

Q: How does your life influence your art?

A: I’m at the mercy of a tween and a busy entrepreneurial husband, which means there is no time to overthink it; just DO it! I’ve also struggled with severe insomnia for over a decade so I don’t have expectations of what tomorrow will be like; I’m very present moment.

Q: How being a life coach has helped you, helped others, influenced your life/art?

A: My coaching platform and personal creed is the belief that it is our divine right to experience health, wealth, love and perfect self-expression. Having the luxury of living in a country that allows me to redirect, reinvent, take a leap of faith, swim upstream, float downstream, stand out like a sore thumb, bark like a dog to avoid jury duty and live to tell the stories, makes for a full and meaningful life and great fodder for art. I don’t take those privileges for granted. My creating is my celebrating.

I focus on capturing faces, both people and animals, because the experience of creating the work is so incredibly intimate. Full confession – I resist and avoid doing backgrounds which is why I will never be a landscape painter. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but it’s not where my passion lies. The impetus for me to be an artist is in connection to the foreground to the throbbing pulse of now. What I sacrifice in composition I gain in total ecstatic submersion.

Q: Name your favorites – favorite movie, novel, storyline, music, colors, artist, poet, writer, play, and places you have traveled to:


Favorite movie: Parasite

Novel: Oil and Marble by Stephanie Storey

Music: Soulful

Colors: Mint and coral

Artist: Klimt

Poet: Kahlil Gibran

Writer: Arundhati Roy

Play: Book of Mormon

Favorite places you’ve traveled to: Kyoto (Japan), Africa, New Zealand

Q: What music do you listen to in the studio? Does your music match your mood which matches your art?

A: My mood determines what music I listen to in the studio. I’m self-aware enough to know that I’m usually too much or too little of something (like sleep) and I use music to find balance which lends itself to creative flow. Thank God for Spotify.

Q: What do you like the most about living in Asheville?

A: I lived in New York City for 18 years. Asheville is a mini New York City without the attitude! The downside is it’s a small pond with a lot of fish artistically speaking. My mumbly grumbly stomach says two thumbs up for Asheville.



Ancients Unearthed
Icarus Bride Sculpture
Auspicious Beasts
Spring Hill
Angel Sculpture in Lotus Pose
Floral Filly Equine Sculpture
High Texture Abstract Painting

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