Starting out as a sculptor she has now included elegant ink drawings and mixed media works to her repertoire.
She studied in both Oakland, California and New York and is a recipent of the Barbara Deming Award. Now she has been awarded a place on the INDIGITS A8 hall of fame!
1. What would you say is the most important theme in your work?
In the subject (shadows, bicycles), it is really about the unknown in the familiar… Seeing things you don’t know in something you think you know.
2. What’s most inspiring to your working process?
Control and loss of control. I use the form of an actual cast shadow to draw from. Within that constraint I have great freedom. The inks flow through the drawing and different inks compete for space based on their densities. I never know what will happen and I enjoy seeing it unfold.
3. Have you any strange talents that influence the work you produce or the way you produce it?
I started as a sculptor, casting iron, making large scale ceramic sculptures. These drawings are really sculptural.I have had a bunch of crazy jobs like making fake rocks for props or monumental flower arrangements, bicycle messenger, wholesale florist, sandwich maker. I wanted to know how to do everything . I pull creative invention out of old work skills.
4. Which artist of the past would you resurrect to collaborate with and why?
No artist but I had a gallery I worked with in Chicago, Flatfile Contemporary. We parted ways over administrative problems but it was the most creative relationship I have ever had with a gallery. Every few months I would call and ask what thematic groups shows I could participate in and then invented work to respond to the theme. It was inspiring.
5. Do you think your work is understood or misinterpreted and why?
All the time and not in a bad way. When I was doing the bicycle shadow drawings people would talk cycling to me “Do you cycle?” and then they would tell me about their derailleurs. I thought it was odd because I relate to the big drawing, the machine, speed, movement, floating pile of whatever that drawing is, not the stuff it’s made of. Then I saw a viewer squeezing his hand around an imaginary brake he saw in the drawing and I understood that the drawing was triggering all his bike experience. The drawings were doing something I had not anticipated and that was good.
6. If you could decorate one place in the world what would it be and how would you do it?
I always wanted to do one of those decorator’s showcases in public housing where really creative people come in to awful spaces and redo them in collaboration with the tenants. I am not particularly fond of poverty but I find abject poverty inexcusable.
7. What to date has been your ‘cherry on the cake’ moment and what was it that got you there?
Work work work work work for decades in oblivion. I live in San Francisco and couldn’t get anyone to represent me. I was in a group show with a bunch of famous local artists who did not send their best work. The show got reviewed and said “Why have we not heard of her before?” It made me feel like I had done my job and that viewers and art lovers have an obligation to see the unrecognized.
8. What we ask everyone! Does your artistic style influence your underwear?
Well, yes and no. I tend to go elegant, minimal (or post minimal; understated but pleasing) but my underwear is neither important nor of great value. Wear it, toss it. Get more. I don’t feel that way about art.
More info www.katinahuston.com