Boss Lady is a series by Social Stylate that shares personal insights from creative women in business. Recently we spoke with Katee Boyle, a local fine artist who paints and works with different mediums like fabric and metal. As a visual storyteller, Katee shares life experiences through her work and expects different reactions from readers.
Tell us a little about yourself and your career.
Since as far back as I can remember, I have only ever wanted to be an “artist.” There was nothing else I thought about being and my biggest supporters, my parents, encouraged that dream. I grew up in Chadds Ford and followed my dream to NYC for Art School (I graduated with Degrees from both FIT and School of Visual Arts). Naturally, I was inclined to stay in NYC and worked in a variety of artistic opportunities for 12 years before relocating back to PA. My husband and I have three children under the age of eight, and work and life pretty much revolves around them.
What prompted you to make art your full-time gig?
A bad economy.
In 2009, When the market was souring, I was laid off from a very demanding operations/events position with a prestige company that I had been with for 11 years. Simultaneously, I was pregnant with our third child.
I had so much energy from working 50 + hr weeks, it was difficult to put the breaks on. It was also a very emotional time and I spent a lot of of that time worrying what I was going to do next. My husband reeled me in and reminded me that I had My Art and that it was time to get back to my work. It was there all along waiting for me to return so I started painting again. Career wise, that layoff was one of the best things that happened to me.
I have been educating and opening myself the last couple of years through a lot of exploratory work with different mediums but painting comes naturally and is the start and the end of everything for me. I also incorporate a great deal of fabric into my work and since September, I have had the incredible honor of apprenticing with a ridiculously talented blacksmith so now I pretty much love bending and twisting metal and have many plans for tying that in to my future art projects.
Do you have any rituals or routines before/during work? (Do you listen to music? Is there a particular time of day you prefer to create? etc.)
I work at night. There is too much life going on during the day time hours to otherwise maintain focus. I have always been a night owl and now that my days are consumed with my families activities, my work day starts at 10pm. I don’t have time for rituals and although I love music, it’s not part of my work scene. I find music is disruptive to all the chatter in my thoughts while I am working. I process my life experiences through my work. My work illustrates what I might not otherwise articulate.
I do dream about the kind of badass work I will be able to produce once I am able to shift my work day so that I may be fully productive (and awake). My four year old is my full time sidekick and when he is in school full time, I will miss him dearly but will also be kicking up my heels in my workshop.
What is your most successful form of marketing? (in terms of promoting your artwork and achieving sales)
Facebook was really great to me for work sharing and sales but now with their limiting availability of posts, that fell off. I love Instagram for networking with other artists. It’s a game changer.
The support of local community oriented businesses who share my work has been tremendous for local exposure and has offered me opportunities for spreading my wings into other communities. I really appreciate the chain reaction.
I had told myself that for one year, I would say yes to any opportunity to share my work but I found myself in some less than feel-good places with my art. It compromised my integrity so I am thankful that year is up and will be selective going forward. I would rather show less with quality work and surroundings that share my sensibilities. I think that is really important for an artist/creative to remember. Otherwise, you drown yourself out. Networking is easy but you really must pick and choose.
What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
My moods, my thoughts, my dreams, my encounters with other people. Emotions. Grit. The Trees, the sky, the unknown. I’m very analytical, I over process everything and pour it all into my work. My mixed media work would be most closely defined as abstract expressionism relying heavily on emotions. My work is highly textured and often has upwards of 20 layers, some peeled back, thoughts scratched out, ideas gouged from the surface.
I pull out what I would not say aloud. My clients tell me that even years after purchasing my work, they still see different things popping out at them. We all have stories to tell, if you look close enough, you will find something to relate to.
Just for fun…
Favorite museum or gallery?
MOMA for it’s awesome representation of contemporary art. It gets five stars for being an extremely child friendly museum.
Who are your style icons?
As an extension of my personality, I am all over the place with my style. It would start with my mom in the 1970’s in her corduroy overalls and Frye boots, Kathryn Hepburn anytime, Cowgirls and Indians, Amelia Airhart’s flying outfits (including the cap and goggles) and women’s turn of the century undergarments (bustiers and pantaloons). Anything deconstructed catches my eye. If I could, I would wear some sort of costume/uniform everyday to suit my mood but I am really trying not to embarrass my children during their formative years so mostly, you will find me in paint covered denim, preferably bell bottoms, a tank top, and boots.
Cocktail of choice: Ice cold Prosecco is ALWAYS a good idea.
Where to locally find Katee Boyle’s work:
– Shish Interiors in Wilmington, Delaware
– Blue Streak Gallery in Wilmington, Delaware
– Philter Coffee in Kennett Square, PA
– Mala Galleria in Kennett Square, PA
– Addiction Studio in Philadelphia, PA