Katie Lane’s sculptural paintings are influenced by her surroundings in and around Boston, where architectural and urban environments such as crumbling structures and interesting color juxtapositions lend themselves to photo documentation, and wind up as chunky, energetic paintings. More at the links below!
Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I spent most of my adult life working and creating in and around the Boston area. I live in Somerville, MA (just outside of Cambridge) and have a studio practice out of Medford, MA. I graduated with my BFA in 2016 from the New England School of Art and Design (NESAD). It was a small program that had a focus primarily on concept development starting in around your 2nd year. This left a lot of the technical side to be discovered and determined by *ME* under the supervision of two really amazing and well known artists in the Boston area, pretty cool. Since graduating, I have been focused on maintaining and building a sustainable studio practice while maneuvering around different day jobs and trying to figure out my next move.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I was an 18 year old who jumped into an AP art class following the lead of a friend (I’ll also mention this was my 2nd time even in an art class), about to head off to a liberal arts school for Psychology when my teacher sat me down and told me that was a big mistake. She was right, so I changed majors a week out from moving to school and was lucky enough to be able to transfer credits, etc., to get into the art program at NESAD.
In college I found myself interning in a gallery and working in concept driven restaurant in Boston’s Back Bay area that found it’s niche in a rotating curation of artist’s work from around the country. It was around this time, I was introduced to both oil paint and abstract painting and was lucky enough to have been included in a few group shows at the restaurant with these paintings. Before I knew it I started painting for events at the restaurant and making huge abstract oil paints that people were actually liking, responding to and buying (?!) so it was then that I realized there could be an actual life in the arts.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
I’ve put my process and work through the ringer the past couple years since graduating. I went months where I explored more photo-realistic work that had very textured abstract elements to it. It was here that I got a camera and started taking way more photography than I ever had before – so I could begin a stock pile of people, places, and objects to paint at the ready. Alas – I realized this process was not what was going to be sustainable for myself and my work. I was getting bored of painting realistically with oils. So I went back to my abstract roots, now armed with a camera, exploring my environments through the lens to figure out what makes me tick. I realized that I was, am, and continue to be fascinated by the textures that come about by the collaboration (or forceful nature of) human and organic textures and patterns as they coexist in our environments.
What is your process like?
As I said, I take a level of photography into my practice. This is really the only ‘planning’ that goes into the initial stages, I might crop or exaggerate the image a bit in Photoshop too. The past year I have been fascinated with looking at the crumbling sidewalks and buildings, the mix of old and new architecture of my area, the funky color palettes that can only come about due to our New England weather changes, and the foods I eat that help me sustain my lifestyle. These concepts give me a lot to work with so I feel like I’ll typically be working on a minimum of 2 maximum of 6 pieces at a time. My work is typically small in scale (6×6″-11×14″) with heavy build up of paint and industrial materials so there is a lot of dry time for me to start new projects 🙂 Works are complete after a certain amount of texture has been built up on them and they have spent at LEAST 2 months in my studio with me continuously working on them.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
I think I like Picasso’s quote, “Inspiration will find you but it has to find you working.” I think that was Picasso, and I think that’s the exact quote, but I find that helpful. That’s helpful advice in order to find ways to be in the creative mind even if you aren’t in the studio, or if it’s been too long out of the studio, it’s a reminder to get back in. Someone has told me to “go for a walk,” that was some good advice. Another person has told me to lower my daily expectations – I have a tendency to be high strung and super hard on myself so much so that I turn myself off to wanting to make (it’s like suffocating sometimes..) so I think that was some specific and thoughtful advice. One piece of advice that I was given in school was, “don’t work on a square” because it’s a hard composition, never listened to that, now I make my own squares.
What is your studio like?
My studio is based in Medford, MA part of a small artist run cooperative out of a split house called Jerome Street Studios. It is a 9×9′ room, painted white when I first moved in- now it’s covered ceiling to floor with paint and other mediums. I’ve since duck taped a plastic tarp to protect the ground and a nice little welcome mat for me to wipe my painted feet off when I leave for the night. It’s a mess, I’m busting out of it with paint, collage materials, concrete blocks, plastic tubes for mold making, wood panels, BUT it’s my space, and all my space, which is awesome 🙂
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
At 24 years old, it’s all scary, it all challenging, it’s all frustrating, but it’s unescapable when you really want to be able to make work and be a ‘professional’ artist down the line. There’s no way and no one (even myself) who can convince me to NOT make art, it’s compulsive. I currently work in a 8a-4:30p job as a coordinator for an office and have my nights and weekends off to maintain my practice, apply to shows, start work, finish work, find inspiration, reflect, breathe, cry, drink, meet up with friends, date, and repeat. I find the most daunting thing for me currently is when I think about going back to school – a whole slew of questions come up from there (financials! location? is it even necessary in this tech age?)
What are three words you would use to describe your work?
What are you working on right now?
I recently stretched some canvases again (for the first time in a year!) I’m looking to work a little larger in scale – taking the techniques I’ve learned from working smaller to make slabs of “walls”. I’m fascinated by subtle textures right now that I see everyday on my walks that have developed on walls of buildings and the crossing over of light/shadow/wood/concrete/plastic/paint.