By SPECIWOMEN Illustration GINA PIERSANTI
"I often use my female nature to empower me forward instead of holding me back. I see my femininity as an asset."
Who are you?
My name it Katie, I am eighteen and attending SAIC in Chicago. I am from England and have been residing in Connecticut for around eight years. I consider myself a multidisciplinary artist and my main focus is in performance art which utilizes costume.
What sparked the beginning of you career as a designer?
Around three years ago I was introduced to performance art. When I was fourteen I attended an arts boarding school in Michigan which allowed me to grow profusely as an artist. I had always been an avid drawer but never explored concept and nontraditional forms of making. I enrolled in a class called new genres and my practice was instantly changed. Learning about artists like Yoko Ono, Ann Hamilton and Hannah Wilke amongst others made me want to explore. I soon became interested in characterizing my performances as different creatures. Costume allowed me to morph into different identities. Soon each of my performances had a new look representing different parts of my personality.
When did your interest for fashion come about?
I grew up in the world of fashion. My father is a fashion photographer and so my childhood is filled with memories of being on sets at shoots and having endless magazines to flip though on the coffee table. I learnt how to draw people using those magazines as a guide.
Who are the top three designers you’d like to work with?
Leigh Bowery, Nick Cave and Yohji Yamamoto
Now, who are three designers—or trends—you think are overrated?
To be honest I don’t follow many trends! As long as someone has their own personal style I think that’s the coolest thing ever.
What about designing is more liberating than other artistic forms?
Designing is a very big section of my work but it isn’t all of it. I think expanding to other artistic forms is fantastic. One part of my practice that I enjoy is that I have experimented in sculpture, painting, photography, performance and design. I think combining different areas in art leads me to learn as much as possible as I’m working. Since I am a conceptually driven artist, my ideas often come first and the material choice follows after. This allows me to play with many materials before discovering which form will heighten my idea the most.
As a woman in the industry, what have your experiences been like?
I often use my female nature to empower me forward instead of holding me back. I see my femininity as an asset. Since I perform in my work the physicality of my body is very present. Most of my characters are strong women who differ in mindsets. I have recently been working on a series of work where femininity is extremely present and it has given me a lot of strength and excitement. In the industry, unfortunately women get less work. Most of the artists I reference as inspirations are male because I have only recently been exposed to female artists. Gallery shows are largely dominated by men, but that drives me forward to be part of the change to even out the curation in shows to all sexes.
Where can we buy your clothes?
Unfortunately, my costumes are not sellable, the clothing usually deteriorates in the process of my performances. However, you can buy prints of my work. I consider the photos of my performances the final artwork. In addition, I sell paintings. You can check it all out on my Instagram!
Describe your aesthetic in six words.
Colorful, absurd, uniform, handmade, inhuman, patterned.
All documentation of Katie's work is her courtesy.