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Katie Robinson – Interview
(MARCH 2010)

katie robinson artist interview

– Please tell us more about your art and when did you start this passion for design and graphics, and what did you do to take it further and turn it in to your profession?

This might sound silly but I have always thought of myself as an artist, in fact I was so busy being an artist in my head that I didn’t actually create anything till I was 27! My mother always said I should go to art school, but it wasn’t really my thing when I was growing up. Part of being an artist in my head was not being told what to do, haha. The way I got into it was very natural and there was no set ‘learning’ involved. I quite like how my style has evolved naturally with no pressure, so maybe not going to art school was a good idea =P

Once I decided to paint, which was about 3 years ago now, I just set out and did it. Incorporating digital images by way of stencils happened so slowly that I didn’t even notice that I had become a stencil artist.

I decided that I really should start painting, as it was something that I always felt I should do. So I found some old board and went to work. I loved the effect you get from using a blank piece of paper against a background and painting over it, after you take it off you are left with a perfect line. That perfection is something that I don’t usually achieve (or want actually) in my work so I liked to experiment with it and how it offset my normally quite dark and messy style. After not too long I realised I could apply this technique to various shapes and set out with a very simple rabbit image, then an actual person! The detail I could get was amazing and since then I have developed my skill to use with some really detailed images. There are a lot of different ways to cut a stencil that give you different effects, many, many hours of work with a blade later and I feel that I can achieve almost anything I want. It’s both a nice feeling and a frustrating feeling. The things that I could create if I had the time!!!!

– Your work is very unique and full of creativity. Where do you find inspiration to create such awesome pieces?

My inspiration comes from everything, every element of life gets me thinking and throws ideas into my head. Good, bad, confusing or straightforward and simple, anything and everything has something in it that I can use.

The photos that people want me to turn into portraits inspire me greatly also, I love that when I see the right photo my mind explodes with ideas and colours. The fact that they choose me to create something special from their favorite memories is very special to me.

– What, according to you are the pros and cons of being a designer?

The positive things far outweigh the negative things. The most prominent thing that I find to be a negative aspect of having a skill that I can use to express myself is that there is just too much that I want to capture. On a normal, basic day of my life I have many flashes of paintings and photos that I would like to investigate. In a particularly inspired time I can get quite frustrated that I can’t do everything that I see, ideas just keep coming and I am too busy trying to persuade my son Ash, who is 17 months old, not to eat rocks and throw his shoes into the toilet that often I don’t have the means to apply myself in that way. But really that just means that when I do have time I really, really get into it and don’t take a moment for granted!

The pros without a doubt are being able to donate my time and ideas to causes and charities etc. I love that I can use a skill that I have to raise money for people that really need it. I am always open to opportunities to use my art in a positive way.

Please give us some tips for people that feel that they would like to get into art or design?

“Do It!” literally just do it and get started. Don’t take no for an answer and just persevere with your craft until things start happening. Approach it from a positive angle and positive things will come to you. If you can use your passion to create things you love, people will be naturally drawn to it. If you have a big idea and you are ready to convey it, there are people in the world that will share your idea and will love to see it! Also don’t let your tools of the trade bring you down. If you can’t afford canvases go and get some wood to paint on! That goes also for the other extreme, if you have a canvas in front of you, don’t treat it as anything hallowed and special and be uber wary of what you put on it, just do it! You can always paint over it! I talk to lots of people that would like to get into painting and they are just so shy of the paint and canvases, thinking that everything they attempt needs to be perfect. My favorite line is “The art police are not going to arrest you for painting a wonky tree” =P Art is whatever you create, it certainly doesn’t have any special guidelines it must live up to (some would argue that, but it’s what I think.

– What are your upcoming projects?

I have in my mind a few paintings that I am dying to complete. The general theme of them is to do with the area that we live, I am surrounded by the most spectacular sights and my mind won’t quit until I have captured some of them! There are a few old trees that I have my eye on and I have a thing for powerlines that I would really love to explore. I have done most of the design for them and now on to hours of cutting and then painting! I have been using a blue paint, that when used in a sky, turns a very light and happy scene into something quite gloomy and surreal, I plan on creating a body of work incorporating that blue.

For one particular gallery that has asked me to give them some work, I am going to start on a series of portraits of strangers. I haven’t developed the idea further than the plan to take my camera out into town and look out for some interesting characters. It has come from going out, seeing certain scenes and people and wishing I had my camera on me time and time again!

Another project I have happening is a commission from a Philosophy Professor in Washington DC. She wants a painting for her office that is inspired by a certain idea (which I won’t get into now =P) It’s a different kind of job for me and I am really enjoying being challenged.

I have wanted to make a painting for the Childrens Heart Ward in Starship Childrens Hospital where our son, Ash has had his surgeries. They have been fantastic to us and I would love to gift them a special painting one day soon. I have an idea and a photo and I would love to do it very soon!

– Which are your top 4 favorite websites?

www.depotartspace.co.nz
I have always loved this gallery, lovely people and fantastic philosophy behind it keeping it open to the creative community. I am currently sorting out a time to put some work up there. Funnily I used to always visit and never dreamed that I would be able to say that!

www.antsang.co.nz
Ant created my first and favorite comic of all time. It’s called “Filth”. I have collected the set of them 3 times now but have lent them to people everytime, because I loved them and wanted to share, but I never got them back each time! He is a very talented New Zealander and I completely love his work.

www.thebigidea.co.nz
Fantastic site full of opportunities involving all things creative in New Zealand!

www.stencilhistoryx.com
This is a beautiful site which some amazing work. I could look for hours!

– What are your magic tools, both hardware and software?

I could not live without Photoshop and Dreamweaver.

As for art supplies, I use DAS canvases and many, many (and any) types of paint and brushes.
A large scale printer makes my life a lot easier, I have developed a nice relationship with my local printer and visit him often! (I love seeing things in print that I have been working on)

A full can of spray paint and a sharp cutting blade brings me much happiness and I have to add coffee to this list or it wouldn’t feel complete!

– Where to find you on the web?

www.katierobinson.co.nz

www.facebook.com/katierobinsonart – I have something exciting running at the moment, when we make it up to 500 members I will have a competition for a free portrait. We had great fun when the group got up to 200 and everyone posted their photos, very hard to choose but looking forward to doing it again!