Avant-Gardener: An Interview with Lindsay Katt

In the world of art, there’s been an unspoken rule of ‘if you want to work, you have to wait for someone to give you permission’. Someone has to hire you and say that you’re the person they want. But if you find yourself in a circumstance where that’s not happening, what do you do?

“Go to the work,” Lindsay Katt says. “Go to your highest excitement around creating something.”

Katt hit a point in her life where she was reflecting on her career and thinking about how part of it has been spent creating soundtracks to movies. This reflection got her to thinking about how most people see films as the main substance while the soundtrack is merely the supporting role. However, she sees the music as a major factor when it comes to engagement and the ability to connect to the film emotionally. It got her to thinking – what if the music was the main substance and the film was the supporting role?

After that initial thought, the rest of the project fit together like a puzzle piece. After that initial thought, she created The Avant-Gardener.

Katt had a few initial objectives as far as what she was looking to create. First, she knew she wanted 10 narrative music videos that interlocked into one feature film that was seamless. “I wanted it to be an arch – a beginning, middle and end,” she said. “I knew I wanted it to be raw and clear in its intention of what it was trying to depict in terms of humanity and showing a human life. I also knew that I wanted each episode to be able to be separated from the whole and still be able to be watched individually and it made sense with its own tiny arch of beginning, middle and end so that if you did detach them, you could watch them and still have a meaningful experience.”

Second, she wanted the project to bridge the gap between what many people consider as high-brow arch and low-brow arch. There are people that compare the two, which were never meant to be compared in the first place, and there are people who don’t have the exposure to the other or can’t feel like they can relate to it. Her intention with the project was to bring the two arch concepts into more understandable and relatable terms.

 The title The Avant Gardener originates from a t-shirt Katt owned – and still owns today – when she was 16. It inspired a song and ultimately inspired her to lean in the direction of living in the present moment. “I felt like I spent all this time in this career trying to figure out what the hell I was trying to get out of it because I wasn’t even sure anymore,” she said. “I knew that at one point when I was younger I did know because it was right there. I did it because I wanted to and that was a good enough reason.  Getting back to that place of sincerity around saying I want to do this and that’s a good enough reason felt like such an important message that I wanted to share with the world in a way that was hopefully going to be useful to them in the same way that it was useful to me.”

So far, the film has taken home the grand prize at both the Rhode Island and the Indie Gathering International Film Festivals. The boundaries of the ‘unspoken rule’ have been pushed far beyond expectations and have given a new meaning to Avant-Garde. But if you find yourself in a circumstance where you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for?