Kass Reich was born in Montreal Canada. She works as an artist and educator and has spent a majority of the last decade traveling and living abroad. Kass graduated with a degree in Art Education from Concordia University then picked up and moved to Beijing where she worked as an early childhood educator for nearly three years. Working with the little ones inspired her to start making picture books for very young learners. After Beijing she lived in Hong Kong, London England and Melbourne Australia. She now finds herself back in Canada but this time in Toronto.
"About", profile and cover images from www.kassreich.com Gallery images courtesy of Kass Reich.
I had absolutely no idea anything would come of my little hamster characters. Before I moved abroad I was really into oil painting but shifted gears towards illustration as the supplies were easier to pack and they didn’t require a properly ventilated studio space to work with. Since I was teaching little guys it seemed like a natural next step to write and illustrate for them. I never considered trying to get published until my mom submitted my book to Orca Book Publishers without telling me. It was a serious shock when got an email from them saying they wanted to publish my book! After that, one book turned into a series of four. I’m not sure if I would have pursued a career as an illustrator if it weren’t for that surprise email. Thanks mom.
That’s sort of a tricky one to answer because I’m not even sure I would consider myself a writer. I always start with the imagery I would like to illustrate then the words follow. The art carries a lot more weight in the process for me. This is probably because my background is in visual arts. These days I’ve been working on picture books vs. board books. For these types of projects I’ve been paired with authors. I do have a few ideas brewing for stories of my own and maybe one day I’ll sit down to write them. But for now I’m pretty happy creating art for other people's narratives.
I studied Art education at Concordia University and loved it. I managed to get a job teaching art in the community every time I moved to a new city. One of the most memorable jobs was teaching life drawing in London England. I really love the balance of the two, I tried working as an illustrator full time but ended up really missing being a teacher. I just recently got a job at the Art Gallery of Ontario teaching art classes and workshops. I am seriously loving it so far.
They’re for both actually. I started posting things from my sketchbook and personal projects on Instagram and started getting a lot of enquiries about prints. I ended up getting myself a serious printer capable of producing gallery quality prints and now I run a little online shop. I love having my own illustration work outside of what I do for picture books. It keeps thing exciting.
Outside of art I love everything about dogs, traveling and food (both eating and making it)