Artist of UTSA: Catherine Fiscal

UTSA sophomore showcases her vulnerable art in Brick at Blue Star complex


Courtesy of Catherine Fiscal

Catherine Fiscal posing in front of her sculpture “Are you okay?,” 2020. Photo by Trevor Aranda.

Saryvette Morales Cádiz, Arts & Life Editor

Catherine Fiscal (Cat) is a UTSA sophomore majoring in art. Her artistic endeavors at UTSA have led to her sculpture titled, “Are you okay?,” to be showcased in the Brick at Blue Star Complex. Fiscal’s vulnerable art is inspired by her recent mental health journey in response to coping with the pandemic, personal relationships and the inevitable end of teenagehood. She sat down with The Paisano to discuss her upbringing and her time as an artist at UTSA. 

What moment in your life propelled you to become an artist?

“I would say my Senior year [ in high school] I played the violin for nine years of my life and I was set on being a music education major. I was the only girl in my AP music class, I played Carnegie Hall during high school; I put so much of my time into music. Then it was my senior year of high school and things just started going really wrong, like really fast. It was as if the ground swept from under me. I was really involved in high school, then COVID hit and all my plans came crashing down. I had a really good bond with my photography teacher and she would keep telling me, ‘the arts are always open,’ and ‘ you’d be a really good art teacher.’ So at the very last minute, I decided to pursue art instead. I think I wouldn’t be the artist I am today without everything I put into music.”


What type of art do you specialize in?

“When I first entered college, I thought about specializing in photography. While I’ll always have a soft spot for photography, after experimenting with sculpture and 3D art, I’m really leaning towards sculpture. I’m keeping my doors open, I guess. That’s what my first year of college has really taught me, to just keep my doors open.”

Catherine Fiscal. “Are you okay?,” 2020. Rebar wire and finishing line. Photo by Trevor Aranda. Courtesy of Catherine Fiscal

Is there a piece that you’re the most proud of?

“Yes, I think the piece I’m the most proud of is a wire sculpture that I made in a 3D art class during my first semester of college. It’s titled “Are you okay?” It represents a conversation that changed my life in terms of mental health. After being asked that question by my mom, ‘Are you okay?’ I was able to open up and get the help I needed, mental health wise. It was a very challenging time for me. I never thought I could open up to her or anyone in general about the way I’m feeling mentally. Whenever she gave me that space to talk, I just felt really valued. Her helping me get the help I needed was like a feeling of freedom. 

The assignment in the class was to create an object that represents you. And during my first year of college, I was doing a lot of reflecting over the past year or so and everything that happened during COVID. So getting to make art about that moment changed my life.”


It’s so crazy to think that one of your first projects turned out to be so important for you.  

“And it was crazy too because I got a B on that assignment, but it was my favorite thing I’ve ever made. I was super mad because I was like, ‘Oh my gosh: I put my heart into it, this was a moment that changed my life and I got a B,’ but I believe in my art. I’m so glad that other people relate to it as well.”


How did you end up being featured in Brick at Blue Star?

“‘Are you okay?’ was displayed at UTSA [Gallery 23] then after the semester ended I got it back in my room and I was like, ‘you know what? I feel like it’s not done. I want it to be up somewhere else.’ One night I messaged the Brick at Blue Star on Facebook. I sent them a picture of the sculpture and the story behind it. I thought, ‘Hey there’s this event called First Friday, maybe I could get my art there.’ Then the next morning they message me back saying: ‘Hey, this is super dope. We’d love to have it for First Friday. Could we have it this week?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah sure, put it on display!’ They’re super cool about giving artists that space, so I’m really thankful for them.” 


Describe your experience as an artist at UTSA.

“At first, I had no idea what to expect because [classes were] going to be online and I was really looking forward to taking these courses in-person. My favorite thing about the art program here are the professors, at least so far from what I’ve learned. They are always super positive and they even push me to make art out of all the confusion of not being an artist, but of being a teenager during the pandemic. Even though school was online, they still made it a challenging and rewarding experience.”

Catherine Fiscal. Posing in front of her piece “Wish I could explain it better,” 2021. Print ink on paper. Photo by Trevor Aranda. Courtesy of Catherine Fiscal.

You can check out more of Fiscal’s art by following her on Instagram: @catgraced