Katie Blaine

My work is inspired by New York City’s history of graffiti and urban architecture. I am drawn to wild lines of bright colors sprayed across subway trains and old brick buildings. Working in mixed media allows me to recreate this environment.

My work builds upon a canvas or wood panel in a style that I call “urban grunge”. While visiting New York City, “urban grunge” described the layer of city life that coated my skin after a day of walking the well-worn streets. I felt as though this substance that has accumulated on the buildings imprinted itself onto me. The way it coated my skin is the way I coat my surfaces, with an accumulation of layers. In my work, I implement elements of the streets by using cardboard and duck tape. I layer them with images and acrylic mediums to evoke that urban grunge experience.

My creative process begins with photos I took in the city. All of my work stems from these photos. This allows me to ingrain the feelings I experienced upon the surface of the piece. Once I choose my images, composing a piece becomes messy and spontaneous. I like my surfaces imperfect. I recreate eroded brick walls and pockmarked streets. I build out from a flat surface, building from front to back. Images and textures combine to give the illusion of depth using forced perspective. I create unrealistic scenes and shapes similar to graffiti artists. Layers of pictures and paint on cardboard emerge as rows of buildings, street signs, and traffic signals in my work.

Tactile qualities are important to my work because a city teeming with life should not be confined to one dimension. I break away from the surface of a panel to emulate the way graffiti artists broke away from traditional methods. Building the urban environment off my work and embedding urban grunge into my pieces is what I want the viewer to experience.

Graphic Designer & Mixed Media Artist

Artist Statement