Katy Gardner's practice explores the transitional space between reality and imagination. Katy has a constant yearning to understand dreams, distant memories, and mutating shapes in the dark that inform the progression of each artwork. Her work is process-led: often using fluid layers of ink as a base, to then find and highlight emerging forms. Considering the fragility of dreams and memories, the work can build from splinters of multiple moments or feelings, into a scene, that fits neither into the compartment of a memory, or real life, or complete imagination.
1) Which art movement do you consider most influential on your practice?
I look mostly towards modern art, but have a keen interest in Surrealism, Magic Realism, Romanticism and Abstract Expressionism.
2) Where do you go and when to make your best art?
I make my best art when I am wearing the softest, most comfortable clothes alone in my studio. This is when I can completely remove myself from my surroundings and get lost in the process. I pair this with some bulky headphones that hold my thoughts together and keep the creativity from seeping out.
3) How do you describe your 'creative process'?
My creative process starts with a lot of thinking. I spend a lot of the time observing my surroundings and thoughts. Work normally develops when I get stuck on a particular image or feeling- from a dream or something I’ve seen previously that keeps coming to mind. When I finally sit down to create artwork, I have these fuzzy snippets of different moments that merge and direct the forms in my composition. My work often becomes a type of reclaimed memory – something that feels familiar but has been reconstructed to the point of being barely recognizable.
4) Which artist, living or deceased, is the greatest inspiration to you?
I love the work of Peter Doig. There is something magical about each of his works, I could look at them for hours. Other artists that Inspire me are Chris Ofili, Daniel Richter, Dorothy Tanning, Agnes Martin, J. M. Whistler, to name a few.
5) If you weren't an artist, what would you do?
Maybe I would become a baker. Mainly for the smell of fresh bread and the satisfaction of making the perfectly risen loaf.
6) What do you listen to for inspiration?
When stretching canvas and priming, I love a good podcast (my current favourites are My Favourite Murder and No Such Thing as a Fish). When I need to be more in touch during the painting process, some classical music (particularly piano) gets me amped up and takes me on an emotional journey.
7) If you could own one artwork, and money was no object, which piece would you acquire?
Kurt Cobain’s Greenhouse by Dexter Dalwood. I love the collage style of the painting. I saw it a few years ago and would love to spend more time with it.
8) If your dream museum or collection owner came calling, which would it be?
Tricky. I like to focus on one goal at a time. A solo exhibition would be a massive achievement. As my practice expands so will my dreams, maybe one day I will have work in a permanent collection at a well-established gallery.
9) What is your key piece of advice for artists embarking on a fine art or creative degree today?
Absorb everything. Artist progression doesn’t have a set pace, trust yourself and your process.
10) What is your favorite book of all time (fiction or non fiction)?
Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd. The book jumps over time and location, presenting a new way to approach a story. It is moving and powerful and definitely worth a read.
11) If you could hang or place your artwork in one non traditional art setting, where would that be?
In a cave! Imagine an exhibition in such a magical natural formation- like the old cave paintings in Chauvet Cave, France, but not quite as cool.
12) What was the biggest lesson your university course or time studying taught you?
You get out what you put in.
13) And finally, if we were to fast forward 10 years, where would we find you?
In a studio bigger than my bedroom, making artwork bigger than myself, exhibiting in shows with artists bigger than I can imagine.
Learn more about Katy and discover her collection of artworks.