1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
My name is Katharine Watson, and I’m an artist and printmaker currently based in Portland, Maine. I lived in London until I was 12, and Hong Kong until college, and traveled a lot growing up. When people see my work, they often say “this reminds me of Mexican textile art” or “this reminds me of the Polish art my grandmother had”. I think spending a lot of time in different cultures while I was growing up has made my work into a blend of styles, where people will see the tradition they are most familiar with. I love hearing how people connect to my work, even when it wasn’t intentional.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I’ve always been really drawn to monochromatic patterns, and that is one of the main themes in my work. I love how bold and simple monochromatic palettes are, and I think printmaking really shines when the colors are simple.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I mainly work with linocuts, which I love because of the bold texture (and of course the monochromatic palette) but I also love to paint and work with other mediums like textiles and ceramics.
4. What is your artistic process like?
When I get an idea, I work really fast to bring it to life. I’ll go weeks without making something, and then a thought will pop into my mind and I’ll work frantically on that idea. And whenever I’m not working on an idea, there’s all the administrative and business work that comes with being an artist that keeps me occupied.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
I love looking through vintage textiles and pottery, and also looking at shapes in nature. Sometimes I’ll see an unusual leaf or flower and think “hmm, how can I turn that into a print?”
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
A huge one, although it’s been like that since I was a kid, so it’s never been any other way. I see everything through that lens: when I travel, I love to see how other artists are working, and I’m constantly thinking about my next piece or project.
7. Where did you study?
I went to Kenyon college, and studied abroad in India and Senegal. When I was in India, I did an apprenticeship at a block printing factory and that really helped me blur the line between fine art and commercial art in my mind. In college, the focus is very much on “gallery art” so it was eye-opening to see that it wasn’t the only route.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully still doing what I’m doing now! If I can maintain my career at its current level I’ll be very happy.
9. What about in ten?
Same, but maybe with a little more traveling.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I love blurring the line between fine art and commercial art. I love having a house full of art and things that I think are beautiful and I think that it is becoming more accessible than needing to go to a gallery or dealer to get that. I love the movement of being able to find art that you love through Instagram, local stores, or online.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
12. Favourite book?
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.
13. Favourite genre of music?
14. What are your hobbies?
Being out on or near the ocean, and eating Maine seafood.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
Probably something to do with travel or artisan development around the world, or a combination of both!
Photo credit: Jesika Theos