March 24, 2011 in Washington Voices

Hotrum turns simple beauty of cursive writing from past into art

Jennifer Larue, Jlarue99@Hotmail.Com
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

Artist Kassidi Hotrum sits with some of the pieces of her project about cursive writing on Tuesday. Hotrum took an interest in cursive writing as a disappearing art form and has covered several pieces in enlarged pages from old ledgers.
(Full-size photo)

Art quote

of the week

“This world owes all its forward impulses to people ill at ease.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), writer


You can contact Kassidi Hotrum by e-mail at

Kassidi Hotrum seems much older than her 21 years. “When I was 12, my mother told me I was more like 40,” she said.

Perhaps it’s her mellow disposition or her fondness for old things like books, records, vintage furniture, and good old-fashioned conversation across tables.

“Progress and technology are tearing our world apart,” she said, “Music and art are computer generated and no one really talks face-to-face anymore. We’ve become distant and desolate.”

Called “absent attendance,” even at tables, heads are down, focusing on some gadget. Hotrum’s art reflects these notions as she beautifies what was, capturing it to serve as a reminder of the past in hopes of bringing it back or at least stop it from being lost completely.

A series of pieces that she is working on focus around cursive writing, an art form that is leaving schools. She found on old ledger where someone had gracefully written lists of things. She enlarged the sheets and is applying them to plaster and wood from old structures. She will then paint images on them from abstract to figurative. Her goal is to create 28 pieces, eventually moving on to another series of vintage findings.

Her supplies include paper, acrylic paint, chalk, string, spray paint, cardboard, and old windows or wood objects found in decrepit barns like the one on the property in Latah Creek where she lives. The property was homesteaded by her great-grandparents and, in the summers, she paints alongside the creek that runs through it.

Hotrum’s artistic endeavors began when, as a young teen, a therapist she was seeing suggested she start painting, even commissioning Hotrum to do a series of pieces to serve as window coverings. Her therapist bought all of the supplies and paid Hotrum $500. “I winged it,” Hotrum said. “I did animals, the ocean, the sky and a woman. After I finished, I realized I could make art and I really haven’t stopped.”

Hotrum attended a couple of different high schools, bouncing around because of her less-than-acceptable behavior. She was eventually expelled from school but wrote a heartfelt letter to the Mead School District and was readmitted. “I ended up speaking in front of the Washington State Board of Directors at the Convention Center about staying in school.”

She has since found balance, writing and painting. She has shown her work at the Davenport Hotel and has designed and painted the interior of local establishments including Chaps, 4235 S. Cheney Spokane Road, where she works.

Reflecting upon art, Hotrum said, “I started painting to better understand what is inside of me. There are times when there just seems to be no words, or perhaps the anticipation of the crowd makes the lights even brighter, I’ve been blinded and a certain kind of speechless.”

In a world full of chatter, Hotrum hopes to carry on a quieter and more “hands-on” past when things were made to be cherished, not thrown away or upgraded. “Moments go by so quickly,” she said. “Sometimes, the only moment I can really relate to is a song on the radio. I want to be that song for people through my art.”

The Verve is a weekly feature celebrating the arts. If you know an  artist, dancer, actor, musician, photographer, band or singer, contact correspondent Jennifer LaRue by e-mail

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