Taking the lead in the CONCEPTUAL PHOTOGRAPHY movement
“An Artist must first admit they are an Artist, and secondly prove it." KASHA
Katherine Marie McKee, (born Katherine Marie Tomski on March 11, 1969) aka KASHA, is a Canadian multimedia artist. Born 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 to which KASHA received the Art Award in both senior years.
1987 - KASHA enrolled to Guelph University for the Bachelor of Arts program with full scholarship. British painter, Artist and Professor MARGARET PRIEST noted KASHA's talent and ‘self-willed’ nature. It was here KASHA decided not to be a painter.
1992 - 1996 KASHA enrolled to Ryerson University in Toronto with full scholarship into the acclaimed Interior Design program as 1 in 80 of 1500 international applicants. It was here KASHA fell in love with film photography. She quit the interior design program and volunteered for the local school newspapers as an entertainment photographer where she 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 Aides 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 downtown Toronto scene. It was a vibrant time,. By the age of twenty five, KASHA was adored and respected as an under ground photographer and artist. As KASHA continued to rise in popularity alongside 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 shoot on location, 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.
1997 - 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 a small business concept 'Always KASHA Online Marketing Boutique', offering companies state of the art websites, branding, photography, and cross platform marketing solutions. She opened her first office in the small town of Midland, Ontario but quickly located downtown Toronto in the trendy King West area.
2007 - 2010 While maintaining her Canadian marketing clients, KASHA spent the winter in South Beach with a new SLR digital camera, documenting her environment and social scenes. The 'Beach Umbrella' series, and 'Paradise At Night' were born. Both series were pop up exhibits in VIP nightclubs: Mynt Lounge and SET. KASHA produced and curated both installations which combined 360 degree wall projections with the original prints for sale.
2011 - KASHA closed her online marketing boutique shortly after she married Scott McKee, Captain for American Airlines and relocated to beautiful Palm Beach Island, Florida. Here, KASHA adapted 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 included technical learning curves with upgraded equipment. This is when KASHA began to experiment with the conceptual photograph. KASHA visually discovered her new neighborhood, studied the trends of the world and entered the ephemeral arena of her thoughts. 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. 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 in Northwood West Palm in the David K Space.
2015 - KASHA and Scott renovate their first home on Palm Beach island. Together, they designed the interior to accommodate a private gallery and showroom for KASHA’s first collection of large format conceptual photography. Her inventory grew as well as the sizes of her original art to included 44” x 44” - 60” x 60” - 36” x 72” 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, her birth place.
This is when KASHA went even further within herself and tapped into a higher self for six months creating the DEATH MASK LEGACY series. Out of 1000 images, 25 conceptual photographs 60" x 90" came to light. KASHA played with the mirror image and layering combinations of 3-5 images until 'magic happened'.
2017 - KASHA's fan base grows through referrals and social media to land her second collector and commission. By the pure grace of devine intervention KASHA opened a pop-up gallery on Worth Avenue, Palm Beach Island, November 2017- March 2018. Here she debuted her current collection of large format, conceptual photographs to the public who gave rave reviews.
2018 - KASHA new body of work enters the international, collector art market with collaborating with the FRITZ Gallery, Royal Poinciana Plaza. The triptych 'Mizner Memorial Fountain' was showcased during the 'SUMMER NIGHTS' exhibit at the Fritz Gallery. Also through the Fritz Gallery, KASHA has been included on ARTSY.net as a collectible artist. Here 13 conceptual photographs are available to world class collectors. KASHA is very comfortable working with the 66" x 96" format and broke through to a new level of technical difficulty in what she considers her first masterpiece ‘The Arrival’.
KASHA McKee on location at the Acropolis, Athens, 2011.