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Art & Life with Kate Johnson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kate Johnson.

Kate, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I never imagined I would be an artist. I was more of a reader than a drawer as a child and I always thought you were an artist if you drew pictures. Then I picked up a camera and looked through the lens. Photographing became a form of daydreaming for me, one step removed from the world in front of the camera. The medium keeps evolving for me with new techniques, cameras to learn and rules to break. I never let go of studying it through college and eventually grad school and then finally teaching it. My practice now combines multiple mediums, but photography is always in there in some form.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I combine a few mediums in my work with photography, collage, and sculpture. Recently my work has been focused on creating pieces of water and sky. I love staring at the ocean and the horizon as they both represent depth often completely beyond our human perception and therefore rendered flat, a facade of what we imagine we understand.

I make these pieces by first collaging together photographs of water into different geometric forms that create an illusion of depth. I then custom make wood panels to fit these geometries and adhere the collage to it. Then two layers of resin are added to the piece to seal in the collage and create a glassy surface. The wood panels just 3 inches from the wall furthering the impression of depth on a flat surface. The stand-alone sculptural pieces are also 3 inches deep and continue that dimensional confusion.

All of my work relates to perception. I use optical devices of illusion and confusion to nudge the audience to think of multiple realities existing simultaneously. We can experience the same event and have completely different takes on what happened or what it means. That’s fascinating to me. My work resides in that space between understanding and/or meaning.

Any advice for aspiring or new artists?
I think the biggest advice is to keep making. With whatever is around you and however, you can. Sometimes restrictions offer a new way of thinking. I know for me, I was concerned about the cost of getting these complicated frames built out for my pieces, so I borrowed tools, got advice from friends and learned how to make them myself to save money. That ended up leading me on a whole new path of my practice and opened up my work.

The big lesson for me in making art is not to isolate yourself. It is important to have a community of other artists and makers around you. It’s so easy to get caught up in the studio on your own but having people in for visits and going to see other artists at work has been invaluable to me.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
You can see and support my work either on my website or on my Instagram. I post updates there of upcoming shows or new work in progress.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kate Johnson

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