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Katie Hogan - July 2024

July 2024's Spotlight Artist - Katie Hogan

How and where did your art practice begin?

I've been creating all my life, beginning in my home town of Virginia Beach, Virginia. I remember we always had some sort of craft table in the kitchen full of coloring books, markers, paper, polymer clay and so so much other fun things! I kept taking art classes throughout school, and decided to pursue studio art as a minor in college. I'm a portrait and figure artist today, but it wasn't until my junior year of college that I started drawing people. I was studying abroad in Florence, and I was forced to draw from a live model for the first time -- and I was hooked. I came back to the states and took three semesters straight of figure drawing, learning artistic anatomy, mostly working in charcoal. After graduation my figure drawing professor said that if I wanted to keep making art, I should learn how to oil paint, so after moving to Wisconsin, that's exactly what I did!

I found an artistic home in Madison at Atwood Atelier, a figure drawing and portrait painting studio on Madison's East Side. That's really where I learned to paint, showing up every week and trying, experimenting. Making a lot of bad portraits until one day the colors started to make more sense, and I started to feel more in control of the medium.

I've been a full time, working artist, for a little over a year now, and I spend my time experimenting with mixed media, working on private commissions, teaching classes at Atwood Atelier and Art Hub, and working a couple days a week as the Gallery Manager at Art Hub as well.

Where do you draw inspiration for your forms/designs?

I paint people, and I LOVE IT! It's really hard, but in a way, it feels like the most satisfying puzzle. When you get the pieces put together right, the anatomy, the lighting, the color, the composition, it looks like and feels like the person. I'm driven to not only achieve a likeness, but to capture their personality, their person in the moment they were on the model stand, or when the photo was taken. Every person is different, from each other, from one moment to the next. People breathe, and blink, and yawn, so it never get's boring. I find the interest, find the angle, and get to work.

What draws you to your specific/preferred medium?

Oil paints used to TERRIFY me, but once I found a place to learn the basics, I haven't looked back! The biggest thing about oils for me is the drying time, I love working on a piece after it's been drying for a day, it has a sort of tacky quality to it that I love to work back into. Acrylics dry too fast for me, and there's this lovely quality to the depth you can achieve with oils that I just love.

Vice Grip - an award winning painting; The Portrait Society of America

Who were your mentors or what resources did you use to learn your medium?

I didn't learn how to oil paint in an academic setting, since I started learning after college (I actually have a degree in economics! lol). Most of my oil painting knowledge built up over weeks and months of just showing up to the studio, and continuing to try. With the guidance of Philip Salamone at Atwood Atelier, I received information and feedback on using the medium, how to think about edges, and color in general. I also learned from watching the other artists at the studio at work, and asking a lot of questions. Since then, I've taken a small number of workshops, one with Taya Kuklina, and another with Jonathan Aller. I find exposing myself to other artists with different techniques and styles gives a jolt to my own practice. I learn new approaches, and always end up incorporating something new into my practice.

What result can a finished piece or your process yield that makes you feel rewarded or proud?

A majority of my work is made entirely from a live model session, or at least begun from a live model. (I do work from photographs as well though, especially for commissions!) When you work from a live model, you only have 3 and a half hours to paint, and the time constraint can produce some wonderful serendipity. You can't think too too hard about each brush stroke, you just have to start! Reaching the end of a session and looking back at what you're capable of in a few short hours is incredibly rewarding - even if the painting isn't all that good.

Where is your practice now, what is your focus, and where is it growing?

Currently, I'm really interested in using the 'waste' produced in the art making process: the canvas scraps I trim off of finished pieces, odd shaped pieces of linen, leftover and hand-me-down embroidery floss and yarn from my grama. I have some woven pieces made up of painting offcuts, merging them with gesso, and painting on top of them. It's been a lot of fun, and very freeing. Those textile and painting combinations come from a much more intuitive place than a very planned out commission.

How do community art spaces like Art Hub enhance your ability to make, distribute, and celebrate art?

Not only am I a gallery artist at Art Hub, but I also started as the Gallery Manager back in the fall of 2023. I've gotten to learn first hand about everything that goes into running a gallery, showing and selling art, and what it takes to run a small business. It's such a pleasure to sell a piece of artwork after telling the buyer the story of the artist, about their process. I've learned about how powerful it is to have your work displaced in a professional setting, about having passive income sources, getting your name out there, and supporting the arts in the community. We've had people come in and be impressed with the quality of the art coming out of our community, not that it should be a surprise, but it feels good to show them how incredible the arts are! Art Hub has given me so much, and given so much back to the greater Cambridge community. By increasing access to the arts and providing more income and visibility for artists, Art Hub helps develop more sustainable creative practices in Wisconsin.

You can view many of Katie's paintings at Art Hub, learn more on her website, and follow her on Instagram.

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