Sit Down With Our February '22 Featured Artist

Katie Smith 

Instagram / @katiebute_art
Featured Artist / February '22 ScrawlrBox 

Katie Smith, working under the alias KatieBute Art, is a professional artist from Scotland, now living in Zürich, Switzerland. 

Katie´s formal education began at school on the Isle of Bute, where she began to take interest in painting and illustration. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Textile Design with Honours from Heriot-Watt University, formerly the Scottish College of Textiles, where she gained experience in woven and knitted textiles before specialising in printed textiles.  She paints nature and the organic world with watercolours, drawing and painting in a detailed and exhaustive manner.

Discovering all possibilities is an important aspect of her method; working closely with subject matter. Katie finds inspiration in the natural environment, historical artists and her travels. Her goal for teaching is to inspire others, help people learn and bring people together through art.

In 2016, Katie made the move to Madrid, Spain and quickly gained a footprint in the cities galleries and exhibitions as well as in wider Spain.2019 saw Katie make the move to Zurich, Switzerland where she continued to paint and present her work in an exciting art market.KatieBute has art exhibited in galleries throughout the West Coast of Scotland, Italy, Spain and Switzerland."

What does art mean to you? Why do you gravitate towards creativity?

I gravitate towards creativity and art because it helps me capture all the amazing things which exist in the world. Between what I see personally andall the amazing photographic images which other people have captured in the world there is so much opportunity to make another memory throughmy own interpretation. I love capturing a feeling, movement and the colour of the subject but as well as this it keeps me challenged considering how I will make something work on paper.

Do you think where you are from/your upbringing has affected your art? If so how?

I was brought up on a small island on the west coast of Scotland, the Isle of Bute. The island is incredibly picturesque and has a lot of nature so in many ways this has influenced my artwork although growing up I am sure I wasn’t aware of the effect it was having. From a very young age I was always interested in animals particularly birds which I still love to paint on a regular basis. I was also a keen dancer andI think therefore movement, form and light and shade are aspects which appear in my work often. I like to make the colours dance on the paper maybe! Now my life is different as I have lived in various places, Spain and now Switzerland, with different cultures, visions and influences which certainly influences my creative output.

What inspires you to create?

I am inspired a lot by nature and the organic world. Capturing the colour, movement and light is important to me in my painting. I enjoy testing myself and my creative boundaries too, trying new topics and subject matter, although I have a mini panic about what it might look like as a result it usually really helps to try something fresh and change direction.

What style of art do you tend to produce and why?

I would like to describe my art style is colourful, playful but realistic yet explorative. I enjoy working with watercolour and they give the opportunity to add layers, play with colour, remove colour to add light and create texture or depth.

How do you think your style has developed over the years?

I think I have developed in terms of understanding how to capture detail and making bold choices with colour.Details wise for example with animal fur/ feathers etc. I have found good techniques which work for me which include working from dark to light rather than the opposite and building from there with new colours and layers. In colours I try to see beyond the obvious colours in any reference photo I might be working with to interpret the various layers. I also am not afraid to remove colour from a painting, lifting out the watercolour from the paper which for me helps with light.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Have confidence and believe in yourself, be bold, be original.

Have you always been creative? When did you first realise you wanted to create art?

Yes! When I was a child, I was always drawing, I was a careful colouring in kid neat and in the lines! My love for art increased in high school where I was introduced to a world ofnew tools in the classroom, this was a time I was certainly more creative and finally found my love for watercolours.

Do you have any favourite music that you like to listen to when you are working on a project?

Oh wow! My music choice is pretty much rock indie with a twist of 60`s – anything from The Libertines, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Strokes and Pearl Jam to The Doors, The Ronettes and The Chantels.

Who/what are your biggest influences?

Biggest influences, a tricky question as I am inspired by many of the greats, but I would have to say I definitely paid attention to Alphonse Mucha, Georgia O`Keefe and Klimt.

What is your favourite medium to work with and why?

Watercolour, always! I find it so versatile to work with, washy to details it makesit happen for me. I always say you can`t really make a mistake with watercolour if you have good paints and the right paper there is nothing which can go wrong or can`t be adjusted on the paper.

What is your dream goal with your art? Do you have any plans for the future?

No dream as such, I just feel very fortunate to be in a position where this is my full time job and I get to create every day. Future plans are to continue to inspire others, be brave and take chances with projects which come my way even though they aren’t necessarily my vibe but this helps me toget outside the comfort zone and be open to all opportunities. Finally continue towork on my own projects, commissionwork and galleries this year into next throughout Europe.

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