In a vast warehouse in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn, Katie crafts couches out of various textiles and her signature lady lamps out of clay, celebrating womanhood with colors and textures in the form of functional pieces.
Katie’s creative process is bold, experimental, and constantly evolving—during our studio visit she was feverishly finding a way to support a desk she was assembling out of papier-mâché and wire for an upcoming show. Katie’s work can be intimidating because of its sheer boldness, but when you strip it down, it’s a reflection of the woman behind the work: engaging, approachable, confident, and fun.
In her corner studio on the sixth floor with a wall of windows overlooking much of Brooklyn, Katie and her two assistants work on a variety of ongoing projects. “I want to take a more humanistic approach to art and art making, one where it can be touched and used, and provides a different and more welcoming approach to how it’s viewed and how it functions.” When asked about the sexual nature of her work, Katie responds by saying the pieces, “defy traditional categories of what women are supposed to be by being domestic and choosing to be sexually open. Don’t call it naughty.”
“My education gave me the tools to know which rules to break. It’s like what John Waters said, ‘In order to have bad taste you must first have very good taste.’”
What is your favorite piece you’ve ever created?
My favorite piece has been Wench Bench due partially to the unexpected and automatic nature of its actualization. I had a chainsaw artist in Duluth carve nude female forms out of pine stumps. The nude ladies were various apathetic positions lying on the floor—in fetal position after having given up—and I had them carved out of stumps into little stools. But the carvings came back much smaller than I expected and were too low to sit on. So I puzzle-pieced them all together into a bench, which I called Wench Bench, which made for a far more dynamic piece than my original idea. I like working with mistakes and chance, and being open to shifting ideas. I think there’s also something poetic about originally wanting to make separate pieces about female fatigue and then ultimately making one about strength in numbers.