Katie Turner’s art takes me back to when I was 13 and coming to the realization that I had to figure out what it meant to be a girl. Girls lie out and tan, right? I will too then! Oh wait, now I’ve got this really bad sunburn. Do I want to be a girly girl or a tough girl?
Other times I feel like I’m simply looking at a beautiful comic strip, or sketches made from a feminine cartoon’s memory.
Either way, her stuff rocks. Katie lives in Brooklyn NY with her boyfriend and her dog. Sounds blissful, doesn’t it? Here is what Katie has to tell us about herself:
Ashley Arabian: Do you need to have a space to create, something to call your own?
KATIE TURNER: I don’t necessarily need a specific space to make things – I can draw pretty much anywhere – but it does help! I have a small studio in my apartment. I like my workspace to be colorful and well-lit. It also helps to have a window nearby so I can at least get a glimpse of the outside world while I work away so I don’t go crazy. I like to hang inspiration from different artists and other ephemera around so I always have something nice to look at. And fresh flowers too!
A: What subjects or themes do you tend to tap into?
KATIE: I like to illustrate a wide range of themes, but there are some things I often come back to. I love to draw things about my experience as a woman. With so much media dictating to women what they should feel, look like, do, etc., I feel like I have a bit of power to represent myself/my experience exactly how I want to. I would love to work with clients in the future that could put a more positive message out there.
A: What mediums do you use to create? Is there anything you can’t do without?
KATIE: I use a variety of different things to create illustrations, and often use completely different materials from one piece to the next. My favorite physical materials are soft lead mechanical pencil, colored pencil, and gouache. I also use Photoshop quite a bit. I love texture, so I have a library of textures and patterns that I’ve scanned into the computer to use on my digital pieces.
A: Have you ever struggled to be an artist? What does this struggle add/take away from your work?
KATIE: It has definitely been a bit of a struggle to get to where I am now. To freelance full time is a constant hustle and a lot of work! Being able to do what I love as a full time job is something that I can really appreciate after working so hard to get to this point.
A: When do you feel a piece of yours is done?
KATIE: Never! It’s really hard for me to stop working. I’m always tweaking some tiny last minute thing that no one but me will notice. I’m working on creating some simpler pieces to get over this!
A: Do you ever struggle to put an idea of yours into your work or does it come naturally?
KATIE: Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s really hard. I find that if an idea is too hard to put down, it usually just doesn’t work in the long run. Most of my favorite pieces I’ve done are the ones that seemed to just flow easily from beginning to end.
A: Does music have an influence on your work? What have you been listening to lately?
KATIE: I love music (who doesn’t?) and how it influences me varies from piece to piece. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of soul, Amy Winehouse, Beyonce (as always), and Robyn.
A: Your apartment is on fire and you can only grab three things:
KATIE: Can they be people and animals? If so, my boyfriend, my dog, and my childhood teddy bear. If no, then my teddy bear, my necklace made with the stone from my mother’s engagement ring, and some old family photos. What can I say, I’m a sentimental person!
A: What’s your favorite thing about living in this city?
KATIE: Besides living near all of my friends, and the sheer BIGness and yet SMALLness of the city at the same time… there is always something to do! A few weekends ago my boyfriend and I were searching for something to do, and we found out that Tommy Wiseau of The Room fame was going to be speaking at a midnight showing of the movie. Within a few hours, we had met him!
A: If you were to live in any city in the world, other than the one you are in now, which would it be?
KATIE: So hard to choose! It would have to be somewhere warm, maybe near the water… California? Or maybe I’d just move a bit closer to my hometown (Tulsa, Oklahoma) and settle somewhere like Austin, TX. I’ve never been to either, but they sound so nice. I can’t decide!
A: What’s your favorite year of your life and why?
KATIE: If I could time travel back to my childhood, I would, and for that I’m very lucky… But I think my favorite year of my life is the one I’m in now! It’s definitely been hard, but worth it and I can already tell this coming year will be even better.
A: Any quotes to live by?
KATIE: “The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self.” – Mr. Rogers