“I want the viewer to be centered on what’s truly important to them and to look inside themselves. Irregular shapes help create movement and initiate a dialogue with the viewer and the space the painting is in.”
Katie is an abstract artist who uses her signature irregularly-shaped canvas and mixed-media approach to create mesmerising and dreamy artworks. Her work attempts to place viewers in an environment that connects human and space. Her techniques with layered washes, transparency, geometrical forms, and a variety of textures and materials support her self-expression and break-away from conventional art.
Living at the artistic Cape Cod, Katie has been actively involved in the local art scene since she moved. The scenic and enjoyable vibe on the peninsula has also been a huge influence on her creative work.
Q. Could you please tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the art?
I am an emerging mixed-media abstract artist. With a life-long love for the visual arts and world fine arts museums, I had grown from a child’s obsession with paints and taking art classes to an interior decorator’s career, to now balancing my role as a mother and going back to what I love most – painting.
I have always been drawing and painting. At school, I would draw on the last pages of my notepads. I did take art classes – but for some reason, only when I had had the freedom to paint what I wanted, I actually started to enjoy it. My years at the youth architecture school and working as an interior decorator greatly impacted my further growth as an artist.
Having lived abroad for the past 10 years and having to leave Russia when the war started has greatly impacted my life. I found a new home in Cape Cod, MA and began my artistic journey in the local artistic community. The move motivated me to pursue an art career – the beauty of the landscape and the sea on the Cape made me express myself in colours and shapes.
I wouldn’t call my path an easy or straight one. But for sure, all difficulties were needed for my creative and personal growth. Having to overcome fear and self-doubt, and trying something new and uncomfortable helped me become stronger, more creative and curious.
Q. Do you think your experience in interior design/decoration influenced your art in any way?
I truly believe that my life experience constantly shapes me personally and creatively.
My professional experience completing interior design projects has taught me long-distance running and going step by step to the final goal. To me, art and interior design go hand in hand. I learned to pay attention to composition and scale and always keep the colour theory training in mind.
Q. You seem to use a lot of organic shapes in your paintings. Could you explain the intentions behind this?
I am trying to go away from the rectangular shape of the traditional painting and the historical reference to a window, in which the viewer would look outside into the world. I want the viewer to be centered on what’s truly important to them and to look inside themselves.
Additionally, I try to make my observations and impressions unique, thus breaking the boundaries of the rectangular frame literally and metaphorically. Irregular shapes help create movement and initiate a dialogue with the viewer and the space the painting is in.
Also, organic shapes bring to mind the concept of nature, which is my most consistent inspiration. The shapes we see in nature are rarely created with strict angles or lines. While other forms look artificial and constructed, irregular shapes evoke a sense of freedom and naturalness.
Q. What is it abstract painting that attracts you?
To me, abstract art is about honesty, meaning, and expression rather than a realistic depiction of an object.
Abstract painting helps the viewers look inside themselves and concentrate on the inner self.
I strive to give my artworks, no matter the subject, an emotional quality to connect with the viewer, to evoke a sense of appreciation for life with all its imperfections. I strive to inspire and uplift. I want my works to be a canvas allowing the viewer to imprint their experiences and memories.
Q. You are a mixed-media artist. Could you share your understanding of the different mediums you use in your paintings?
I love working with different mediums. I started with oil paints – their vivid colours, pigment load, the tradition behind them, mixing, and layering ability cannot be beaten. However, painting with oil paints has always been about obeying rules, following guidelines, and being well-behaved. As I had come to a certain stage of my life, I started to reassess my values and allowed myself to be emotional and free, which naturally led me to abstract painting and using mixed media.
The combination of acrylics, markers, oil pastels, and sticks allows me to layer and blend my memories and thoughts onto canvas, letting me be intuitive and spontaneous. The mediums I use let me be who I am.
Q. Could you share with us your process of creating each artwork?
The signature detail about my paintings is that they are made using canvas and irregularly shaped stretcher frames. I do not use hardboard or wood. Only the canvas allows for the layered washes, transparency, and unique blends of colours. I pay a lot of attention to the colour palette. The colours and how they blend are crucial in my paintings.
Although my paintings come with a metal wire attached, they can be hung pretty much in any direction, which is also about freedom and open choices.
My work explores layering and discovery. My process is mostly intuitive. I love the sense of the unexpected and the anticipation evoked by layering and blending colours. I use my fingers to paint, and I never wear gloves. Painting is a sensual experience for me, in which I want to be fully immersed. Therefore, creating a calm space for work, without distractions, is crucial.
Q. Where do you draw inspiration from?
I always say that inspiration comes through travel, meeting new people and curiosity. I would say that nature and life by itself inspire me the most. I interact with nature using sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste, which is reflected in my artworks.
Hiking in the dunes, walking on the beach and especially swimming in the ocean are giving me endless inspiration. I definitely have a love for looking out at the ocean, it holds my attention and it’s amazing how the water is constantly changing.
Being a hypersensitive and emotional person, I am also inspired by relations. I try to actually feel my feelings, embrace my emotions and use canvas and paints to express myself.
Q. You live in Cape Cod, a very scenic peninsula in the States. Do you think you also draw inspiration from where you stay?
To me, Cape Cod means art and art means Cape Cod. Cape Cod has long been home to emerging and experienced artists with its artists’ studios, numerous festivals, galleries and the community that supports the art scene. Cape Cod is the most consistent influence in my art. I have been visiting a lot since 2007 and now I am happy to settle down here. I strongly connect to this place, its beauty, the sandy beaches and lobster rolls.
It’s the irresistible combination of the unique natural beauty, the rich history and the supporting artistic community.
Q. What do you think is one of the most important values that an artist should have?
It’s a tricky question! Maybe it’s not the obvious first-choice answer, but I would say - natural curiosity. It is important because artists are researchers in a way, so they need to be curious.
If you are also a curious soul, check this video in which I share an art trick!
Q. Could you describe your work in three words?
Abstract shaped art.