Kate Garner was expelled from high school at the age of 16 and became a runaway who joined The Children Of God. To escape the grasp of the cult she hitchhiked from London through Eastern Europe to India in 1970, where she lived for a year as a traveller before being located by her parents. She attended art school at Blackpool in the North of England and later moved to London, where she began to both photograph and model for up and coming magazines such as The Face and i-D.
Kate Garner New Wave Project
Kate Garner first came widely into the public eye as one-third of the 1980s avant-garde, new wave pop project Haysi Fantayzee, along with other members Jeremy Healy and Paul Caplin. Emanating from street art scenes such as the Blitz Kids that were cropping up in London in the early 1980s, Haysi’s music combined reggae, country and electro with political and sociological lyrics couched as nursery rhymes.
Catapulted to stardom by their visual sensibilities, Haysi Fantayzee combined their extreme clothes sense – described as combining white Rasta, tribal chieftain and Dickensian styles – with a quirky musical sound comparable to other new wave musical pop acts of the era, such as Bow Wow Wow, Adam and the Ants and Bananarama. They appeared several times on the BBC Television programme Top of the Pops. Despite being touted by Bowie producer Tony Visconti as the next big thing, the group quickly disbanded after releasing three hit singles “John Wayne Is Big Leggy”, “Shiny Shiny” and “Holy Joe”, and an album, Battle Hymns for Children Singing, that went gold.
Back into the arts
Garner then returned to painting, photography and video, launching a successful media arts career, starting with her collaboration with Sinéad O’Connor, in which she created memorable images of O’Connor for her 1987 debut, The Lion and the Cobra. Garner has since photographed a wide range of musicians and celebrities, including Dr Dre, Leigh Bowery, JT LeRoy, Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, David Bowie, Cameron Diaz, PJ Harvey, John Galliano, Björk and Kate Moss. Her work has appeared in the American and British versions of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar as well as W magazine, Interview, GQ, Vanity Fair, Elle and The Sunday Times.
She had her first multimedia exhibition in February 2007 at the Painter’s Gallery on Charing Cross Road, London and, a year later, had an exhibition in San Francisco, California titled ‘Identity Artists’. Her work was in a group show at the Riflemaker Gallery in January 2009. Her work has appeared at in many publications and iconic advertising campaigns.
She was sponsored by the Arts Council for her show at The Future Gallery which was a fabulous success
She designed a wallpaper collection, which is archived at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and was in a touring exhibition with the Whitworth Gallery from 2010-2012