What do lava lamps, alpacas and disco balls have in common? They’re all represented on Evite now, thanks to CatCoq! Cat Coquillette, the delightful artist behind CatCoq, is a self-proclaimed digital nomad whose work reflects her global travels, resulting in a colorful, imaginative range of invitations we’re thrilled to offer to you all. Read more about her influences, life as an artist that's always on the move, and love of otters (possibly our favorite section of this Spotlight) here!
What inspired you to become an artist?
I’ve been creating art for as long as I can remember. After graduating from university with a double-major in illustration and graphic design, I worked in-house at a design agency for several years before taking the leap into entrepreneurship. In the years since then, I’ve grown my artist brand as I travel the world full-time as a “digital nomad”. In that time, I’ve visited 40 countries, sometimes staying for a week, sometimes months on end. My art studio/office changes daily, but it’s usually in a coffee shop, co-working space or Airbnb somewhere in the world. It’s been incredibly fulfilling to be able to support myself and this lifestyle by creating artwork. I feel so much gratitude for being able to do what I love while living life entirely on my own terms.
Which three words describe your design aesthetic?
Colorful, modern, playful.
What inspires your work?
I’ve found that my personal fulfillment is synonymous with traveling, feeling inspired and quenching my curiosity. My best artwork comes from the experiences I’ve had exploring the world firsthand, not sitting at home behind a computer screen. One of my best-selling paintings was inspired by a four-day hike to Machu Picchu. I came for the Incan city, but left with a deep appreciation for the current residents of Machu Picchu—the alpacas.
I feel most alive in life during my first few moments in a new place or experiencing something incredible for the first time. I strive to find moments in life that make me take a deep breath and think to myself, “I can’t believe I’m here right now.” These are the moments that help propel me and my business to the next level.
What is your proudest moment as an artist?
Creating art is personally fulfilling, but helping other artists gives me a deeper sense of purpose. In addition to being a full-time artist, I’m also an educator. I’ve published over twenty online classes that educate fellow creative entrepreneurs with tools and strategies to help them build their businesses. My classes cover a wide variety of topics, including finding your artistic niche, marketing through social media, watercolor tutorials, selling artwork online and making a name for yourself in the online art world.
It’s incredibly rewarding when my students tell me how my classes have helped them, whether it’s learning a new art skill or simply giving them the boost of confidence they need to start putting themselves out there as artists.
You're known for traveling around the world in search of creative inspiration. Are there any places in particular that you found exceptionally inspirational artistically?
I draw most of my inspiration from nature. I spent several years living throughout Southeast Asia, primarily between Thailand and Bali. When I’m out and about, I photograph the things I want to paint. As you can imagine, my portfolio is packed with relics of my travels—Balinese sunsets, wild orchids, jungle animals and so much more. My artwork is a snapshot of my experiences around the world. I’m currently building a house in Costa Rica, so I’m looking forward to having a fresh set of tropical rainforest inspiration literally in my backyard.
Do you have any advice for other creatives interested in becoming location-independent artists?
Running a business while traveling full-time definitely comes with its own set of challenges. An early struggle for me was finding a supportive community of fellow entrepreneurs. In my first few months of self-employment, I didn’t have many connections to other founders, so I didn’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of or ask for advice with my growing business.
My breakthrough moment was when I first arrived in Chiang Mai, Thailand, back in 2016. Chiang Mai is known as a “digital nomad hotspot,” and it’s the first place where I become immersed in a community of location-independent entrepreneurs from around the world. For the first time, I felt like I had found “my people”.
Their jobs range from tech startups and software services to copywriters, designers and online teachers. Even though we’re all enmeshed in different industries, our fluid lifestyles brought us together. I prioritize travel and independence, so when I initially met these people with similar convictions, I felt at peace and supported with my decision to start my own business while traveling full-time.
What's the most unusual source of inspiration you've encountered thus far?
Otters, because this single experience is hands-down the best moment of my life. A few years ago, I found out you could swim with baby otters in California. Those who know me well understand that I am completely obsessed with otters, so this was a dream come true. I booked the first available time slot and eight months later, I was floating in a pool anxiously awaiting the arrival of the little otters.
When the gate opened and a group of baby otters came bouncing towards me, I was so excited that I just broke down sobbing. I’d known the phrase “so happy I cried”, but this was the first time I’d experienced that complex emotion firsthand. For the better part of an hour in that pool, I got to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing with baby otters, who didn’t seem to mind that I spent that time simultaneously laughing and crying.
I’ve created a handful of otter-inspired designs, which always put a huge smile on my face (no tears, thankfully) because it reminds me of that epic experience.
What's the most memorable party you've ever been to?
A few years ago while I was living in Thailand, I attended a silent auction. After a couple of glasses of wine, I thought it’d be funny to place a bid on a magician who was offering an hour-long private show. Turns out, my bid won out, so the following week, my roommates and I invited fifty of our closest friends to a magician party at our house. It was *magical* to say the least.
What advice would you give to an aspiring creator?
Explore various avenues and find what works best for you. One person’s success won’t be the answer for everyone. Once you find your jam and hit your stride, capitalize on that momentum and hustle hard. Seize opportunities for growth, even the ones that push you out of your comfort zone. Your confidence will bloom and your career will expand in ways you never imagined.
What excites you the most about your collaboration with Evite?
Thanks to Evite, my artwork gets to be used in such a positive and celebratory way. Whether it’s a casual get-together with friends or celebrating a monumental birthday, my artwork can be part of someone’s big occasion. That alone makes me feel pretty good.
CatCoq is an illustration and design brand founded by Cat Coquillette, a world-traveling artist with a passion for collecting creative inspiration from her firsthand observations and encounters around the world. Whether she is painting florals found in the jungles of Vietnam, exotic wildlife from the Amazon Rainforest, or patterns inspired from Scandinavian textiles, Coquillette’s designs and inspiring messages of positivity bring a fresh perspective to everyone her artwork touches. She shares her artwork and detailed stories of her travels with her followers through social media, providing a fully integrated window into her experiences.
CatCoq is a brand that aspires to not only provide an exhilarating aesthetic rooted in an appreciation for culture, travel, and the outdoors, but to inspire people to channel their natural curiosity by expanding their horizons in order to gain a deeper understanding of our world.