Brush Talks: Kate Zambrano and Allison Bamcat Share Their Trekell Tales

Brush Talks: Kate Zambrano and Allison Bamcat Share Their Trekell Tales

Dive into a special chat between Kate Zambrano and Allison Bamcat, two brilliant minds from Trekell’s Pro Team. Kate, a veteran whose art has captivated many, and Allison, the newest addition with her own colorful flair, swap stories about their first Trekell finds, mural making adventures, and the critters that crawl into their artworks. It’s a laid-back yet enlightening peek into what it’s like being part of a community that’s all about pushing creative boundaries. Join us as they share laughs, insights, and maybe even a ghost story or two.

Allison Bamcat interviewed by Kate Zambrano

1. How did you discover Trekell supplies and what were the first products that you used?

I remember finding out about Trekell supplies on Instagram. I believe it was Dabs Myla posting about them in 2014 or 2015 and I instantly bought the paint set they released because I wanted to feel cool! I did feel cool, and I don't think it's silly to be influenced by artists you admire, especially if the products turn out to be good quality! I went on to buy more sets of brushes and picked up the Mab Graves itty bitty brushes when those came out, which I still use for my tiniest details.

2. When working on your amazing murals, how much planning and prep are you doing beforehand?

Mural planning and prep takes a long time, but it's an incredibly fun challenge. When I started painting walls in 2017, I took every opportunity I was offered, so sometimes I'd have only a night to prepare something. That includes the design, the paint, the method of enlarging my image (securing a projector and power, freehanding, or doodle-gridding), finding a ladder, finding a buddy if it was in a sketch area, etc. But now that I work on so many client-initiated murals, the process can take weeks or months to approve a design or secure a site to paint it. Matching paint can colors to my design is the most fun, and I have color fans that I use with my iPad for that step.

3. Your work features many types of animals and wonderfully imaginative creatures - do you have a favorite animal? Or top three if you can't pick one.

I really like animals with long noses, like anteaters and moles and seahorses. But my favorite animals are shrimps, crabs and crustaceans. They come in so many different varieties and have so many different traits and adaptations that make them unique! I have an aquarium with little shrimps and a crayfish in my paint studio.

4. Would you say that you are more methodical when you set out to create a piece or do you find yourself more experimental?

Unfortunately, I agonize over my process to a fault, so I haven't made a lot of time to experiment the last couple of years. I'd really love to loosen up, but it's hard when you've built a rhythm in how you create your work! I'm taking a character design workshop in Berlin that will be very hands-on and playful this spring, and I'm planning to use part of this summer to try out some new supplies including water-based oils and maybe some pastel. I'm a little dizzy from all the possibilities to be honest!

5. While you are working, do you listen to anything (music, podcasts, audiobooks)?
Throwing on a Spotify playlist is usually enough to hold me over, but for longer painting sessions, I'll throw on some sci-fi or horror movies to pass the time. I like to marathon 90's anime and crappy reality shows too. But sometimes, I sit in silence for hours like a weirdo.

BONUS QUESTION: What would be your last meal?

My last meal will be Lipton Soup Secrets Extra Noodle soup packet mix.

Kate Zambrano interviewed by Allison Bamcat


1. When did you join the Trekell Pro Team, and how did you come across that opportunity?

I was asked to be a part of the amazing Pro Team in 2017. I had been using Trekell products for some years and grew to absolutely adore the company and specifically the owner, Courtney. I love the inclusivity and true support of artists in all mediums. Trekell and I worked together on various projects, and we made it official June 2017 <3

2. What were you most excited about, joining the artists on the Trekell Pro Team?

The most exciting aspect of joining the Pro Team was and still is working with a company that I actually love and believe in with all of my heart. They have the greatest ideas and all the artists on the Team are next level incredible! It continues to be one of the things I'm most proud of in my life.

3. While you were learning to translate your drawings to paintings earlier in your career, what drew you to oil paint as a medium?

I love the saturation and depth of oil paints. I first began my artistic journey trying to teach myself to draw. I used a lot of charcoal, then started incorporating watercolor for washes and toning paper. Then I added ink. Then pastel. It felt like a natural progression to attempt oils. I feel very happy that I was so rigorous in learning drawing that I had a decent understanding of value and placement before jumping into adding the color element.

4. What is your one piece of painting or studio gear that you can't live without?

In no way am I being compensated for saying this, BUTTTT.... I freaking love using brushes to blend charcoal😂. The stiffer the bristle, the more airbrushed and smooth the transitions become. It seems totally counterintuitive, but the outcome it creates is amazing. And with drastically less effort than other blending tools.

5. What is your favorite painting to date, and what do you love about it?

Ooooh tough question! I think the painting of the wolves ('Flesh, Bone, Soul') or the vultures ('Proof of Life') are my favorites. They were the start of a new chapter for me, artistically, so they are quite significant in that way. I had the idea for the vultures as I was falling asleep one night. I quickly grabbed my phone and jotted down the idea, 'line of vultures', which I still have in the notes app. I became furiously obsessed with them. I had an idea for the wolves that didn't quite work out the way I had intended, so it morphed into what I painted. Which was far beyond the expectations I had for the first idea.
Mostly, I just love creating friends hah.

BONUS QUESTION: Have you ever seen a ghost?
...I feel that I am about to jinx myself...So far in this life, I have not yet encountered a ghost. I do not wish to. Unless it's like a Y2K ghost that whispers, "It's Britney bitch," while I'm working.