Hi Katie! How are you?
Hi, Filippo! I’m doing well, and yourself?
Me too, thanks! Can you introduce yourself?
well, my name is Katie Sanvick. I’m a graphic designer and freelance illustrator living in Minnesota with my two cats. It’s my birthday this wednesday so I’ll be turning 23!
I have just seen Napoleon and Frankie. The second one looks really clever, eheh… Did you have study graphic design or you’re self-taught?
They are both a constant source of entertainment!
I have a BA in graphic design, I graduated last year from Winona State University, but I suppose I’m also self taught. I was always a creative kid and got into drawing at an early age and just went from there. I had a few very influential teachers that encouraged me to follow this path I’m on and I’m very grateful for that. I basically bleed art, and it’s all I think about!
First of talk about your portfolio, I would get a couple of other questions: Do you keep informed on the contemporary art world?
My portfolio is constantly changing, always adding to it and weeding out older material. I don’t feel I have a recognizable “style” yet and don’t know if I ever will. I just make what I feel like making how I feel like making it at that time and I enjoy experimenting which is half the fun of art! I do tend to gravitate towards portraits but I’m working more towards incorporating backgrounds and other elements as well. I sort of have drawing ADD, whenever I start projects I abandon them to start other projects, I have more ideas than time!
I think about half my computer’s hard drive is full of inspirational material from artists I admire, photography, and notes on future projects. Tumblr is like a gift from the heavens! It makes it so easy to keep tabs on what my favorite artists are doing, and discover new art as well. I also really enjoy process blogs where artists share their tips and tricks they’ve learned along the way.
Yes, tumblr is a great source for inspiration. Can you say us what are your tools of trade? Do you prefer photoshop or pencils?
I feel most comfortable with graphite, or any pencil-like medium like pastels, or colored pencils, and markers. Usually I will combine both traditional and digital - i’ll scan in a drawing and color or alter it in photoshop. Each medium has vastly different qualities so it depends on the project and what effect I want to achieve. Recently I’m starting to work more with oil paint, and on a large scale- both daunting tasks!
Yes, I think working with pencil and the computer at the same time is a sign of our times, no? How do you relate to technology?
It definitely is! I totally embrace the merging of the two, it’s the best of both worlds! Some people who are interested in my work cant really wrap their head around my digital work, that might be because they don’t know how I create it and want the “original” work which is lost in the digital world, although can be replaced by a limited print run. There’s just something about seeing brush strokes, and pencil lines and even small imperfections on paper or canvas that people really like, it’s just not the same with digital…BUT there are also many advantages to digital that keep me coming back! My newly upgraded Intuous4 tablet surely is to blame..
How do you create your works? You start from a specific project or you let yourself be inspired at the moment?
usually I’ll start by gathering some images to put together in photoshop. This could be the color range in a photo that appeals to me, a tone, mood, or figure.. For instance, in my most recent piece “The Games” I saw some really awesome pictures of a foggy tree line that just gave me an idea and I went from there.. gathered a few images of Jennifer Lawrence and started brutally butchering the photos to arrange them in photoshop into something that felt “right”. The end product looks pretty messed up I have to admit, but it’s just how my though process works and it all comes together once I start creating the piece. I do a lot of stock photo hunting for poses or facial expressions, I’d love to have a model at my beck and call but since I don’t and I’m no expert at anatomy, I’ll have to make due with chopping up pictures in photoshop.
One of your works that have most impressed me is Katie Repent-Sanvick. It’s a kind of self-portrait, isn’t it? You were inspired by any particular source?
yes, that was part of an on-going “darker” portrait series including “Forever” It was inspired by a photograph I found on tumblr - it started out as a portrait study but as I was working on it, it kind of evolved into this incredibly dark painting and so I just went with it, I love the vibe it gives
The cross you wear around the neck has a special meaning? And what you say about the white eyes?
It’s sort of a religious piece, the title “Repent” explains it all- the very meaning of repent is to feel sorry, self-reproachful or contrite for past conduct- to feel sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better. I added the cross to sort of make that idea very obvious. They eyes sort of represent that blank stare of regret or sorrow, and i was watching the exorcist at the time…
Your portfolio is full of beautiful illustrations. Another that I really like is The Girl On Fire. Have you been to the cinema recently, right? :-)
Thank you! yes, haha, I actually renamed that piece “The Games”- I’m very indecisive and hate the process of naming my works..
The movie was great, definitely wanted to do a Hunger Games illustration as soon as i walked out of the theatre. I now have a crush on Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence is great!
anything to distract me from doing “twilight” or kristen stewart related works, which I’ve done far too much of in the past.
What is your favorite quote?
“Vita Brevis, Ars Longa” which means “life is short, art is long” I liked it so much I tattooed it on my arm
Can you take a snapshot of your tattoo?
ahah, cool :) last question: what are your plans for your future?
well, just keep doin what I’m doin I guess.. I would eventually like to work for myself but as far as short term, I’m focusing on gaining exposure, trying to get some of my work published and set up an etsy account :) I also dream of moving to California and visiting Europe. Just tryin to live life! It was nice chatting with you!
It has been a pleasure for me too! Thank you Katie, I hope you’ll follow my little blog :-)