German-born Kat Schuetz has had a long and varied career, from time spent all over Europe as a child to owning a gallery for up-and-coming artists in Munich, Germany, to spontaneously relocating to Sarasota in 2011. Now Schuetz—who says she's always been a vivid dreamer and "kind of a psychic, picking up the energies around me"—has published a new book, The Gypspirit, which takes readers on a metaphysical journey about life and consciousness through a character called Gypsie. The book also contains Schuetz's evocative collages, which she makes from magazines.
We caught up with Schuetz to find out more about her, her book and her inspiration for writing it, as well as her involvement with the soon-to-be-opened Sarasota Museum of Art and why she loves this city.
Tell us about your background.
I was born in Munich, Germany, in 1969. We also lived in Caracas, Venezuela, for a year. Growing up, I also spent long summers in Paris with family friends and studied Italian in Florence; later I worked in Brussels and Chicago. World travel was always a big part of my life. Then, in 2011, my husband, my two sons and I left Munich for for Sarasota. We kept our house in Munich, though, and return every summer.
Despite my creative, rather boundless personality, I earned a master’s degree in business at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, where I met my husband, who was a doctoral student back then.
So you've always been an artist.
Definitely. If you are an artist, you will always be an artist. You cannot turn off the creative impulse. It is you, it enlivens you, it makes you yearn for progress, change and expansion—and to express all of it through art. Art unifies the inner world with the outer.
What is your favorite thing about Sarasota?
We came for the sun and the ocean. Both are still important to us. But as I love art, I automatically gravitate towards art, and Sarasota has plenty of that. In 2011, shortly after we arrived, I joined the intimate group of people who had birthed the idea to found the Sarasota Museum of Art. I helped to further shape this idea and organize events and fundraisers. I am still involved spreading the word about the museum’s happenings, programs and talks. I cannot wait until it finally opens its doors to the public at the end of 2019.
What moved you to write The Gypspirit?
I have always been kind of a psychic, picking up the energies around me. I'm a vivid dreamer, as well as a dancer, writer and artist.
After short detours, I realized that I had to do something in art and with art. For 10 years, I had a pop-up gallery in Munich, with a partner and friend, showing the work of young artists and supporting their first steps in public. Simultaneously, I started to write. In 2010, I published my first book, New Yorker Kunstgeschichten (New York Art Stories), followed by a biography of the late Geoffrey Hendricks, a famous New York-based Fluxus artist and a forerunner in the gay rights movement.
Life took a dramatic turn when we quite spontaneously left Germany for America in 2010, and my mother unexpectedly died in 2011. I had stirring, otherworldly encounters with her. I knew I needed to make deeper sense of life, and that I wanted to have more control in a seemingly chaotic world. I embarked on a powerful spiritual journey in this hope to understand my self in all her different aspects—and to find a purpose.
What was the writing process like?
I started to research, study and analyze any spiritual or philosophical teaching I could get ahold of. I read everything: Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Wiccan traditions to Shamanic teachings; Kabbalah to Christianity; Norse, Greek and Egyptian mythologies. I embraced New Age literature, learned about Sacred Geometry [patterns most often seen in sacred architecture and sacred art] and numerology. I also read modern scientific findings about consciousness, the mind and the universe, which eventually led to quantum physics and psychology.
I also learned how to dream journey. This is an ancient shamanic technique which allows you to travel into the non-ordinary worlds without losing your ego consciousness, like in normal dreams. I work with a shamanic practitioner and cofounder of a mystery school in England named Chetna, who has become a dear friend. With her I learned to journey through my own dying process in order to prepare for death and the afterlife.
All this knowledge, together with my personal experiences, flowed into The Gypspirit.
What do you hope readers will take away from the book?
My basic hope is, of course, that the readers will gain knowledge about the workings of life and therefore start to think out-of-the-box. That they get a more wholesome view of life, which reconciles the physical with the spiritual aspect.
My second hope is that the readers will be stimulated to go on their own quest, daring to start a "book of shadows" in order to discover their dark side, which lives hidden in the subconsciousness. This haunting shadow is made of their fears and feelings of guilt, made of their shames and pains. When they have brought the shadow into the light of their awareness, I hope they have the courage and perseverance to face it and forgive it, till the shadow is dissolved by light.
Last but not least, I hope that the readers will read the whole trilogy.
What projects are you working on?
I am currently writing on the second book of The Gypspirit trilogy. The emphasis of this book will be on death, the dying process, and afterlife, but will also give knowledge about the individuation process that we all go through in life, the workings of tarot cards, the ancient Hermetic principles explaining our existence, astrology, and much more.
On YouTube you can watch the short film A Story of Life, which was finished recently and which I produced with the very talented artist, Michael Wyshock, who could read my mind and translate it into moving pictures. The music was composed by Peter Miller. The film basically says that the story of life is a story of consciousness.
Also, the book Gypspirations will soon be available on Amazon. It is a picture book in color and contains my artwork (inspiring, uplifting, collages of scraps of magazines). A second book of Gypspirations is already in the making featuring the same colorful kind of collage art, but the focus will be on world travel, books, art, always embedded in this spiritual setting meant to uplift and inspire.
What inspires you?
Beauty in all its kaleidoscopic expressions inspires me. The beauty of flora and fauna. The beauty of architecture. The beauty of literature. The beauty of music. The beauty of the universe. And this imagination that underneath all this outer beauty, the unifying patterns of Sacred Geometry lie, which organize the universe as they shape an ice crystal or a pine cone or the double helix of the human DNA.