Next week, Brooklyn-based artist Katie Bell will be gracing the streets of Portland as she installs her show Face Off. She’ll be gathering oodles of home building waste materials and compiling them into an immersive installation in our main space. In eager anticipation of her arrival, we asked Katie some questions about her work…
What is your studio/work environment like? What is a typical working day for you?
My studio is a collection site of things I have found. There are large piles of material everywhere. A typical day in the studio is mining through these piles and pulling things out to work with. I like to go back and forth working on really large pieces, where I am on a ladder, and then working very small, sitting on the floor and having something in my lap. I make models and lots of drawings in preparation for most of my work, so that is part of the process as well.
How long have you lived in Brooklyn? How does it compare to other places you’ve lived as a working artist?
I have lived in Brooklyn for about 3 years now, I moved here right after graduate school. Brooklyn is a very challenging place to work as an artist, but at the same time very exciting. The challenge is the expense of affording it all, but you are surrounded by so many amazing artists and can see such interesting work. Myself, and my work, have grown tremendously since moving here.
What’s your next big project?
In the fall, I have a few things coming up: I am working on a large installation in Grand Rapids, MI as part of SiTE: LAB, I am making a large sculpture for the Brooklyn Biennial through BRIC, and I have a solo show at Drew University in Madison, NJ.
What’s inspiring your practice right now? (Films, books, foods, places, other things?)
I recently took a trip to Arizona and collected all different kinds of rocks. I brought this large collection home and these rocks have been a source of inspiration. I have been interested in how these rocks work as a collection, the power of seeing all of them together. This is something I have been thinking about – collections of things.
Who are your art heroes?
Jessica Stockholder, Franz West, Ree Morton, and Richard Artschwager.
What does the studio space of your dreams look like?
Really big, lots of skylights, and a small woodshop attached. Space is the main thing I desire.
Can you talk about your video work — particularly Confessional and Messin With a Hurricane? How did these projects get born?
The videos I have made have all been collaborations with other artists. I see both of these videos as a project between people thinking about their work in context with one another. Sometimes, the videos are just born out of circumstance. Messin With a Hurricane was made when myself and two other artists were stuck in a house when a hurricane hit Providence.
What is your favorite material to work with?
I would never be able to choose. An important part of my work is materials in relation to each other, so it’s never about one, it’s about the group.
Face Off is on view from June 21st through September 5th.