- The Design View: How did you first off as an artist?
- Katherine Streeter: Art has been the one and only constant and unquestioned thing in my life. My parents picked up on it early and were very supportive, even though they were not artists themselves (they were teachers).
I'm very grateful for that, and I was lucky to get to be in after-school art classes and summer programs that helped nurture my interest, which always seemed to take priority over most other things. I would also get up early on weekend mornings to draw with Captain Bob on TV, in fact, I think there is still a pastel tiger portrait framed in my parents house from the early 80s that I made while watching that show.
- The Design View: Where do you mostly get your material from for your collages?
- Katherine Streeter: I collect a lot of stuff. Mostly vintage scraps, albums, magazines, books and other ephemera from flea markets and thrift shops. I get obsessed with certain things and then keep my eyes out for that topic or subject matter, like old shoe catalogues, or books from the 1950s about plants. I'm lucky to live in NYC where there is no lack of aged printed matter available.
- The Design View: Please take us through your design process, where do you start?
- Katherine Streeter: It always varies. As random as that sounds, I try my best to keep true to that approach for myself. This non-process is something relatively new for me because after years of making work for clients who called me because of my style and conceptual approaches, I was finding that
I was locking myself into a formula. I had certain ways to come up with ideas, then sketch them out , then proceed to the final art.
Once I was past the formative years of figuring all of that out, I had a consistent style- but then, after so much time of doing my work that way, it became a little predictable for me.
So, in recent years, I have been experimenting more with my process. Sometimes I just dive right in to it and try to treat assignments more like my personal projects and private sketchbooks, which so often feel much more soulful to me. That said, it is not always appropriate for the job, but I try to have at least some of that freedom for myself in it.
- The Design View: Can you please tell us a bit about your collage dolls?
- Katherine Streeter: The dolls have been something that I've been thinking of making for a long time. It took a gallery space to grant me a solo show to finally make them.
They are inspired by my interest in doll history and my personal varied collection, and they are made from old fabric scraps and an overflowing closet of vintage clothing. My intent started as something primarily decorative, but as I worked on them, they became more like collaged layers of memories and reminders of attachment for me.
In the end, they held value on all these different levels: material, sentimental, historical, and familiar. They are symbolic totem objects for me that came about by playing, and they allowed me to take a break from the narrative and metaphoric mindset of illustration.
- The Design View: What tools do you use for your work?
- Katherine Streeter: For my painting and 2D collage, it's mostly material from various sources of paper ephemera and matt medium . I also have been pretty devoted to using acrylic and pencil. I use inexpensive paper and gesso (the art store basics make me happy). I also use a computer to scan, and sometimes change images a little bit.
- The Design View: You showcase your work at exhibitions, but what does it take to get your work in an exhibition? Do the galleries contact you for a show?
- Katherine Streeter: At this point, all the shows I've been included in have contacted me. I have been lucky to be in a generation of illustrators who are able to exhibit their work as fine art as well, so I have been given some gallery opportunities from people seeing my work commercially.
Doing work for clients a full time job- even when not actually working, you are always planning and plotting and promoting. I'm not as good about that as most of my peers are, so now I'm happy to have an agent to do a lot of that. So now, when I have down-time I'm able to do more personal work. This is always something I've felt was extremely important to nurture, but only recently have I really been thinking of it in terms of bodies of work with purpose and collective meaning.
When I get more of the fine art side of my collection organized, I'll start to contact galleries and see what happens.
- The Design View: What are you currently working on now?
- Katherine Streeter: I am working on getting into a few new markets commercially. I'd like to do more product based work. I fantasize about going back to school but it is just sort of an idea flying around my head right now. I'd like to explore fiber arts and building more and I think about video and doing something with my photos, which is an invested hobby that has never really crossed into my collages. (I never use my own photography in my work.) I'm thankful for the editorial work that still comes in.
Also, I'm working with an animator on a project for a historical museum exhibit. When I find a chunk of time again, I'll go back to thinking about what book ideas to finish and work on. And I will make a lot more dolls, there are big ideas for those down the line, but I'm limited with work space at the moment.
- The Design View: Favorite website(s) you would recommend?
- Katherine Streeter: This one has really pretty collage : Not Paper
- The Design View: Any words of wisdom you would like to share with us?
- Katherine Streeter: I would say to anyone, doing anything creative, at any stage of their career path: just keep doing work that moves and challenges you. It sounds cliché perhaps, but it's a good reminder... A daily mantra to keep in the front of your head. If you are in a rut or bored or tired a lot while you are working, then take note and re-evaluate.
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Please note: The Design View would like to thank Katherine Streeter for this interview. All work featured within this interview is copyrighted by Katherine Streeter. The Design View has written permission from Katherine Streeter to use the selected pieces for this interview. You may NOT copy or redistribute any of images within this interview without the written permission from Katherine Streeter. For more information please contact: Katherine Streeter