About The Artist
My name is Katya Coad and I am a Kootenay, BC painter and off-grid homesteader. I was born and raised in beautiful, rainy North Vancouver, into an atypical family of artists. My father was originally from what is now the Czech Republic, where he completed his training as an artist. During his lifetime, he had several books of his lino and wood block prints published in Canada and he and my mother associated closely with various prominent artists of the day, including Jack Shadbolt. My father passed away suddenly when I was only six, and my mother, a highly talented artist as well, remarried an up-and-coming young puppeteer. Together they formed an internationally recognized puppet troupe, called Coad Canada Puppets, and travelled the world, receiving grants and awards on a regular basis.
After the completion of high school and disillusioned with the realities of our new 9 to 5 city jobs, two friends and I decided to make an escape to BC’s colourful Cariboo region. In Williams Lake, we lived and worked on a “hippy commune” growing vegetables and raising all kinds of animals. But although it was an idyllic lifestyle, as time progressed, it became evident that the animals were better behaved than
some of our fellow commune members. When things got out-of-hand beyond our comfort level, we moved to another community in the Quesnel area made up of a group of calmer individuals who had left a few years prior.
By the time I left the communes and moved to sunny California with my then partner, the country lifestyle had sunk thoroughly into the fabric of my bones and made a deep and lasting impression. For the time, however, I put it on hold and completed a double-major in Fine Arts and Psychology from California State University, Chico, followed by a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate School in the Los Angeles area. During my 11 years in California, I also became an avid hiker and backpacker, venturing into many remote and stunning local wilderness areas.
Upon graduation I returned to Vancouver and began teaching watercolour painting in local Community Centres. One day, after hiking the North Vancouver Grouse Grind trail with friends, I met my husband-to-be, Brian, while awaiting the arrival of the gondola back down the mountain. After a whirlwind romance, we were married in 2005. Brian worked at Simon Fraser University and also tended several plots in the university’s community gardens. Ever since, those quaint and lovely community gardens, along with the memories I secreted away during my time in the Cariboo, have become a major source of my artistic inspiration.
After settling again for a number of years in North Vancouver, my desire to flee the city returned, as skyscrapers sprung up around our little condo like mushrooms. So in 2012, we audaciously (or naively, depending on how you look at it) quit our jobs and, for the second time in my life, made our break. For less than the cost of our two-bedroom city condo, we purchased a 7-acre hillside property in the Slocan Valley outside of Nelson, BC. At that time it was a blank slate, with nothing but trees, rocks and a small creek. In keeping with our desire to step out of the “rat race” and maintain a very small footprint, we put up a 30-foot yurt, where we currently live along with our two adorable cats, Spud and Nugget. We plan to eventually restructure our yurt into a more permanent wood-framed home.
My art studio consists of a 14’ x 16’ wall tent on a log base, with a wood stove to stay toasty in winter. Each year we make a little more headway, and last summer we put up a lovely rustic gazebo I plan to adorn with a cob pizza oven come springtime. Each year we also add a little more in the way of gardens, and perhaps for the first time in my life I can say I am truly and completely at home.