Interview with Katy Gilmore
June Featured Maker: Katy Ann Gilmore
June 1, 2015
Grace Gulley: So first question! When people ask what you 'do', how do you answer?
Katy Ann Gilmore: Haha I feel like I always answer in a round about way. I tell people I make art, mostly drawings these days, but then I love working with three-dimensional pieces and art installations as well. 3D is really my main love. In general, I tell them that I'm an artist who is influenced by mathematics and other disciplines. But I'm also working on building myself as a brand, so entrepreneur works its way into the description as well.
GG: It's not such a simple answer as they would have you believe-you're never just an artist, you're more akin to a hustler! That being said what you do is very interesting, how did you get so into three-dimensional design.
KG: I've always loved working with my hands. From a young age, I loved to build things, and my mom was into wood working, so I was able to learn that type of making pretty early. I found myself drawing all the time, but also gravitating towards projects that dealt with 3D space in some capacity. I started researching phenomenology and experience in my MFA work, and really found a niche there. It's been great to see my drawings progress as well, and I think they often depict that keen interest in 3D work.
GG: They certainly do! It's really easy to get lost in your work trying to explore all the depths and space. On the subject of education (you having your masters and all!) I'm curious how you feel in regards to an education being integral/or not to being a working artist?
KG: I think it can be an important asset, but not necessarily integral. I think it depends on what type of realm of the art would you want to enter. Knowing art history, your contemporaries, and having knowledge on the state of the art world is something that can come from formal education, but you obviously have to couple that with your own drive. I don't think college, grad school, etc is for everyone. I happen to LOVE school, so it was a good choice for me. But if someone can map out their path and find another way to get the education/knowledge they need, then do that instead of school if you prefer. There are also lots of free or low cost online schools for education (edX, Udemy, Skillshare). I've worked to rack up my skill set in ways that education didn't provide. But, all that being said, my education helped me learn about what it takes to be a working artist, and to think about the specific ways that I want to fit into the art world.
GG: Great answer. I feel a lot of people get pulled into the mindset that they HAVE to have their education to succeed. And while education can be valuable, there are a lot of other paths, considerations and options. I'm going to push a little because I'm very curious now about how you personally see yourself, or would like to fit into the art world?
KG: Oh, I think I'm learning more and more about where I want to fit in daily. One thing I loved about my research in phenomenology was the emphasis on our interaction with the space around us... and how that connects to installation art, environments, and oging beyond the white walls of the gallery (side note: Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space by Brain O'Doherty is a great collection of essays in Art Forum from the 70s and 80s about the subject). I don't necessarily see myself fitting into the traditional path of making work and showing/being represented by galleries. I see this as being part of my future, but I'm also a big proponent of bringing art into other spaces and making it accessible to others. I've noticed that I have a bit of an entrepreneurial mindset and drive, so I expect that to be a big part of my future. I like to think about ways that I can bring my art to others through business/marketing strategies. So, hopefully I answered this question well enough. I feel like I'm just rambling. :) But in short, I don't see myself following the standard path, and look forward to exploring new opportunities as they present themselves.
GG: By no means do I take it as rambling! I'm finding myself making mental notes and planning on researching 'Inside the White Cube'! And I believe with your open, flexible mindset and entrepreneurial spirit (not to mention insane talent!) you will certainly achieve a lot and inspire many [more] along the way. :) What are the biggest challenges you have come across so far in your work?
KG: One challenging aspect has been paring down ideas. I know this is like one of those backward challenges... like when someone asks you your weaknesses and you say 'working too hard' or something HAHAH... but I sometimes find it hard to fully marry ideas, or choose an idea to follow. But, I've learned to just start. I make a lot of small works to get through this challenge. It helps me sort out ideas and figure out which ones I want to pursue on a larger scale. I highly recommend this to anyone feeling blocked or debilitated and overwhelmed by ideas. Another challenge is learning how to market myself well. I've been focusing on this a lot over the past several months and have seen good results. I'm still learning about the ways that specifically work for me, and I've been working a lot on building my aesthetic and cohesive social media (Instagram, website, etc) that depicts the way I want to present myself.
GG: Well it seems to be working because people love you and you're certainly producing a lot of work! I have the problem of too many ideas, not enough time... but mine may be more attributed to procrastination! HAHA. On top of everything else you are doing what are you reading/listening/watching currently for inspiration? (Or for fun, people still do stuff for fun, right??)
KG: HAHA thanks! I'm a big music fan, and often love listening to James Blake, FKA Twigs, Shy Girls, or How to Dress Well while I work. I'm also on a Lost kick right now. I totally missed the boat when it first came out and finally watched it about two years ago, I usually binge through a series or some sort of NPR podcast when not listening to music while working. I suppose on the inspiration side, I'm reading (for about the one thousandth time) 'Surely You're Joking, Mr. Fenyman' by Richard Feynman. He was a great physicist and lived his life in an awesome way. He was propelled by curiosity and learning, and it showed in his work. Although my work is different, I still want to emulate his drive and tenacity. :) HAHAHA and I try to make time for fun. Definitely a necessity. I love hiking and live near the foothills in Southern California. I find big inspiration from them. You can probably see that in my topographical/mountain-ish drawings!
GG: Adding that to my reading list because you can never have enough books! I also only just watched Los last year for the first time, and I binged on it! You can definitely see the inspiration of the foothills in your drawings. Last question, although I could just keep picking your fascinating brain forever, (and keeping with the Lost theme) if you were the only survivor in a plane crash on an island, what would you do?
KG: Oh, this is a great question! It's funny because I've thought about what my role might on the island. You know, there's Sayid who can fix or make anything electronic. Jack who can lead and save everyone. Sun who can make an awesome garden... and I just keep thinking, where could I find paper and something to draw with?! If I were by myself, let's just hope that I stumble upon an unlimited stash of food and water. I could see myself enjoying building a shelter, and have a few ideas in my head about irrigation systems and boiling salt water and catching the condensation for drinking. I really think I would need to keep busy making things, or I would go crazy. But I think I would have a hard time killing animals, so again, let's just hope there are a lot of berries and edible plants. :)
GG: Yes, please let me crash on an island that has an unlimited coconut and raspberry supply! :) I like to pretend that I'd be the Sawyer by the way, but that's probably just my bias surfacing since I swoon a little when he's on the screen!