Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Conley.
Katie, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I believe I was born an artist. From as far back as I can remember, I’ve been involved in artistic endeavors. I always had a creative project that I was working on. I took art lessons, built and decorated my heirloom dollhouse, created a cut paper collage calendar to give to my aunt, to name a few.
When I started college, I dismissed art as a profession because I was focused on paying the bills. But after a year or so I switched my major to studio art with a concentration in painting and am so happy I did! I’ve been painting on my own ever since. I also enjoy making mosaics and switch from painting to mosaics to collage on a monthly basis.
I started making postage stamp collages in 2003 for my mom. Our neighbor had some art made from stamps and after trying unsuccessfully to contact the artist I thought “hmmmm… I think I can make stamp art!” So, I started making the collages for my mom as gifts on holidays and special occasions. Pretty soon other people started noticing the stamp collages and wanted their own. I’ve been making collages out of postage stamps ever since! I’m frequently being surprised by packages in the mail from friends and relatives full of old, canceled stamps. I enjoy sorting through the stamps and categorizing them by color, region or topic. Every once in a while, if I come across a stamp that seems rare to me, I will check online to make sure it’s not worth a lot of money. So far, none of them have been worth more than a few dollars.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I am an artist living and working in Austin, Texas. I work primarily in oil paint, mosaic, and collage. My paintings focus on what I find beautiful and are often inspired by photos I take while traveling or out & about. I love to use a lot of bright colors. I love miniatures and interior design, which you’ll find reflected in some of my pieces depicting domestic settings, interiors, and exterior structures. My style is impressionistic. Simple, old-fashioned, feminine subjects are what I prefer to paint. My postage stamp collages are a mixture of subjects that I think would be fun to make and commissions from patrons. I’m intrigued by the unique requests people ask me to make out of postage stamps. My mosaics are similar to my paintings with an emphasis on bright color and what I think is beautiful.
I feel very lucky that I get to pursue my passion as an artist on a daily basis. Making art seems to impact those around me in a positive way. I feel I owe it to myself and my family to use my creative talents. My husband and children are very supportive of my art.
Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
I’m very lucky to have always had a supportive environment for my art-making. Being an artist is not an easy job. I had taken breaks throughout my career when I was working full time as a stay at home mom to two small children as well as when I was working as a high school art teacher. But honestly, I was still making art even then. If you are a true artist, it is impossible to give it up. It is discouraging when the public doesn’t value your work and the prices put on it. I think it’s important to educate them on what goes into an original, hand-made piece of art so that they understand the price. I feel that the public still has a lot to learn about choosing something made locally by an artisan vs. an easy, cheap grab at a big box store. I think social media has been extremely helpful for artists in the last few years – but it’s a mixed blessing. The more time spent in front of a computer promoting your art is time spent away from the studio. I think Austin is a great place for artists to thrive! There are so many great festivals, events, and workshops for artists to get involved in!
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
If you’d like to stay up to date on my new work and upcoming shows, the best way is to subscribe to my newsletter. You can do this by sending me an email: email@example.com
If you are in Austin, you can check out my work at the S. 1st gallery Art for the People as well as their online shop:
- Website: www.katieconleycreative.com
- Phone: 502-432-0627
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/katieconley
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/katieconleycreative
Personal Photo: Jerry Blackwell Photography