We’ve teamed up with Squarespace on a content series to show just how easy it is to build a beautiful portfolio site and we’re also highlighting some of our favourite artists using their platform. We also have a deal to get 10% off your own site by using the code “BOOOOOOOM” on checkout!
Head over to Squarespace.com/BOOOOOOOM to get started.
For this instalment we spoke with one of our favs, Florida-based artist Katie Evans. Check out her website, built on Squarespace.
￼Where are you from and what was it like growing up there?
I’m from Ponte Vedra. It’s a coastal town in North East Florida. We lived right by the beach and I spent most of my summer days there on the intracoastal fishing and having a picnic on a sand bar. Florida as a whole is such a magical place, vast marsh scapes, winding rivers and hidden springs. But as for the actual town I grew up in, I’ll just say that I was glad to leave when I started college. I now live a little farther south in St Augustine and feel much more at home.
What did your earliest art-making look like?
My first drawing I remember being proud of is of a Triceratops from second grade (see it in all its glory), I’ve still got it in my childhood bedroom. I was a real fan of Klutz crafts when I was little and always asked for them on birthdays and Christmas. I used to do little “art contests” when I was younger where people in my class and I would draw and see who was the best – things like a ballerina, flowers, cats. I was an extremely quiet kid (my first grade teacher asked me to read in front of the class and I cried because I didn’t want to ha!) but art was the one area where I’d show off.
What are some moments from your journey so far that you see as significant creative milestones?
About 4 years ago I made the first drawing in the direction of my current work. I decided I was going to put a tea pot on my stomach lying down. It wasn’t nearly to the degree of realism I currently do, but it was the first time that I followed my gut and let myself create something that didn’t have a concrete meaning.
A year or so after that I had a critique with one of my professors who really encouraged me to hone in on the details. I had tried for a bit to be more gestural, and also had fear of putting in a large amount of time for a hyper realistic drawing and then not liking the end product after all the work. But I decided to give it a try and since then I’ve been doing the detailed drawings I’m currently making.
Your drawings capture a beautiful realism, do you stage the scenes and take photos as part of your process? And if so, how do you give the image that little bit of soul?
Yes, I stage all of the scenes and take photos. I take hundreds of photos until I get a shot where everything is exactly right. One of my friends who I’ve had pose for me joked about how meticulous I am. I feel like my drawing process becomes its own thing.
I’m in a different zone I guess when I’m drawing? I do this little dance of where I look back and forth between my computer and easel then step back to assess every few minutes and repeat. There’s a lot of layering and really slow filling in with pencil. They teach you in school to hold ￼your pencil to the side so you get more surface area but I hate holding my pencil like that. I hold it the way you would normally write, just using the pointed end in slow rhythmic circles. It’s a long process but very soothing.
Can you talk about the strange rituals in the work and the tension between the characters and their environments?
I gravitate towards poses where the women appear to be in a trance like state but are always stiff, I’ve been told my figures are mannequin like. The poses are an endurance act of sorts. Much of life is being uncomfortable and requires being in situations where you have to bear down and wait. I don’t really know how to explain the why part of the poses, a lot of them are intuitive. There’s usually a feeling of weight, or lack there of – a chin resting on a shelf, a bell dangling on a chain, a stone resting in a palm.
How has your work changed over the years?
The degree of realism has gradually increased over the years. I can see the difference in the level of detail from drawings I made just two years ago. I’ve also been branching out this past year and am starting to do more still lives. The still lives I do are very feminine and set up in a way that also seems ritual-esque, almost becoming a stand in for the women.
For this series we’re highlighting our favourite creatives using Squarespace for their portfolios, what did you want to communicate through the design your website?
I wanted a clean, simple website that utilized a lot of white space, similar to my drawings. The Wells template I used was very minimalist and showcased my work well.
What artists were you inspired by you when you were in school?
My main influences while I was in school were Andrew Wyeth, Michaël Borremans, and Amy Cutler. Wyeth has a magic realism to his work that I have always tried to replicate, Borremans deals with more abysmal themes in the human condition, and I’ve always loved Cutler’s strange domestic scenes she creates.
￼What about now? Whose work gets you excited?
Gosh, there’s so much work that I’m excited about and am constantly seeing new work. Let’s see… Christto & Andrew, Juno Calypso, Christina A. West, Anila Agha, Toba Khedoori, Pixy Liao, Kat Toronto, Cristina Coral and so many more.
Do you feel like you’re doing the thing you were born to do?
Hmmm, well I feel like I am maybe on the cusp of that? I’d really like to dedicate more of my time to my practice. But you know, there’s bills and work and all that stuff you have to do to create art. But I am finally at a point where I am satisfied with what I’m making. I truly feel proud and want to show my work which feels really great.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
Do the things and make the choices you want to do without the fear of disapproval. I spent a lot of time not taking action because I would overthink every person’s reaction to my decisions – something I still am working through but have gotten much better at.