“ An Artist must first admit they are an Artist, and secondly prove it." KASHA
Katherine Marie McKee, aka KASHA, is a Canadian multimedia artist. She was born Katherine Marie Tomski on March 11, 1969 in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, to immigrant parents from Poland and the Ukraine. As a child, KASHA showed promise in the arts of singing, acting, music and illustrating. In high school, she studied under award winning water color painter, Artist HUGH NIBLOCK, who recognized her affinity for drawing for which KASHA received the Art Award in both senior years.
1989 - KASHA enrolled at Guelph University, Canada for the Bachelor of Arts program and was accepted with full scholarship. British Artist, Professor MARGARET PRIEST noted KASHA's talent and ‘self-willed’ nature. It was here KASHA decided her skills should be put toward a more lucrative career possibility other than as a painter.
1992 - 2002 KASHA applied at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto. She was accepted with full scholarship into the acclaimed Interior Design program - as one of just eighty selected out of 1500 international applicants. Through the first year of fundamental instruction and experimentation, she fell in love with film photography as a medium. With signed out photography equipment, KASHA volunteered for the local school newspapers as an entertainment photographer and began shooting live rock concerts. The morning KASHA saw her first front page photograph of guitarist Dimebag Derrell from metal band Pantera, she took on the title of ‘photographer’ and never looked back. KASHA gained recognition quickly with each publication, which fueled her ambition to jump into the real world, camera-ready.
It was also during this time KASHA was invited to participate in her first group art show to support Aids Awareness. The sense of community and charity made a great impression on KASHA. This put a public spotlight on KASHA and her work which she naturally embraced and gracefully rose to the occasion.
These early years of KASHA’s film photography were full of adventure. She made her rounds with a second hand PENTAX K 1000 with such zest, it was easy for her to make friends and be acknowledged as an IT girl on the scene. It was a vibrant time. By the age of twenty five, KASHA was adored and respected as an under ground photographer and artist. The commercial route of her field had very little appeal. KASHA dug her heels into the rugged terrain of the unknown and unpredictable, where she was in charge of her choices. As KASHA continued to rise in popularity with more exhibitions and publications in local magazines and newspapers, she fine-tuned her subject to male models. This opened the world of fashion where KASHA became known for scouting and shooting fresh faces for modeling agencies in Toronto and South Beach Florida. She preferred to be inspired by the natural beauty of her male subjects against the characteristics of everyday life. KASHA enjoyed producing her own solo shows featuring her favorite male models on larger, more experimental prints, and projections in venues that were always unusual spaces, restaurants and clubs. Collecting sponsors was easy as her unconventional exhibitions usually included a great party.
2005 - The digital evolution changed the landscape for photographers, for artists, and KASHA adapted seamlessly. Identifying the internet as a demand for images, KASHA applied for an Entrepreneur Program sponsored by the Government of Canada to develop her small business concept 'Always KASHA Online Marketing Boutique', offering companies state of the art websites, re-branding, photography, and cross platform marketing solutions. She opened her first office in the small town of Midland, Ontario but quickly re-located downtown Toronto in the trendy King West area.
2007 - While maintaining her Canadian marketing clients, KASHA spent the winter in South Beach with her new CANON 40D digital camera capturing her environment and social scenes which revived her artistic appetite. The 'Beach Umbrella' series, and 'Paradise At Night' were born. The 'Beach Umbrella' series showed at a pop up exhibition in the exclusive nightclub Mynt Lounge pre club hours. KASHA produced and curated the installation which combined 360 degree wall projections with the original prints on display and for sale in pairs. 'Paradise At Night' also appeared as a pop up exhibition that was digitally projected on a grand scale inside SET nightclub during a Friday night.
2011 - KASHA closed her online marketing boutique shortly after she married Scott McKee, a Captain for American Airlines and relocated to beautiful Palm Beach Island, Florida. Here, KASHA had time to adapt to being a wife instead of an IT Girl in a drastically different environment compared to South Beach, and downtown Toronto.
The next few years proved transitional for KASHA, technically speaking as well. She upgraded her equipment with a CANON 60D, and a iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch) desktop computer. She also began to experiment with conceptual photography to accommodate the fantastic visions and concepts that took root in her mind. KASHA visually discovered her new neighborhood, studied the coming and goings of the world and entered the ephemeral arena of her thoughts. KASHA opened another chamber of her heart for the love that secured her, that enabled her to touch the sky and feel her feet on foreign lands. From Rome to Athens, to Paris, and Hawaii, KASHA took her husband’s hand and experienced life like never before.
2013 - It didn't take long for KASHA to integrate into Palm Beach living. Scott introduced his new bride easily, together they made their social appearances and KASHA expanded her database while keeping a keen eye on potential locations to exhibit. Meanwhile, her South Beach connections and invitations to events always made the hour drive worthwhile. Accidentally, after attending the opening of a new club venue, KASHA and Scott walked into another new hot spot (Villa AZUR), where her friend Jean-Philippe was a partner and promptly invited her to exhibit there. This inspired the FAMOUS PLAYER Celebrity Portrait series which also showed downtown MIAMI at the McCormick building, Palm Beach Island VOIGHT gallery, and Northwood, West Palm Beach, in the David K Space.
2015 - Because of this new, beautiful life, KASHA also had a fresh liberation with her creativity that began with the interior designing of their first home. Casa McKee became a private gallery and showroom for KASHA’s large format conceptual photography. Her inventory grew as well as the sizes of her original art to include 44” x 44” - 60” x 60” and 36” x 72” works. In the first year of opening, KASHA sold 3 pieces to her first collector; Bed of Nails, Bryant Park Bees, and Fire Bouquet with Humming Bird (her first official commission).
2016 - KASHA revisited a significant amount of digital images of fire that she captured during the winter of 2010 in Thunder Bay, Canada. The flames danced for her for three consecutive nights, while she dared the heat, the smoke, and her camera to be patient, tolerant and shoot.
The years that have passed since those nights delivered KASHA safely, comfortably to what she calls ‘paradise’. Here, she has worked quietly accumulating a formidable body of work she feels is her ‘entrance’ to the international fine art business. KASHA has watched, read, researched, and networked to stay informed and position herself and her art, which now reaches the magnificent size of 60” x 90”.
2017 - The KASHA McKee Gallery (POP UP #1) November 14th, 2017- February 28th 2018 at 150 Worth Avenue, suite 235 (the ESPLANADE shopping center) Palm Beach FL. This spectacular 3300 sq ft space was KASHA's debut to the international art scene with 16 magnificent, original pieces of conceptual photography, ready to be collected. The public gave rave reviews, but collectors were scarce and just as the gallery was gaining momentum, it was time to close. Stay tuned for POP UP #2
“Millions of people take photographs everyday, but can they make a piece of Art? There is a new breed of Fine Art Photographer emerging and creating art history. This is the era of the conceptual photograph.” KASHA