Arts Under the Stars: Meet the Artist

Arizona Science Center is kicking off a new series as a part of Adults’ Night Out called “Arts Under the Stars.” This new series will feature artists, film directors, musicians and even make-up and special effects artists in the unique context of the Dorrance Planetarium.

September 6, 2013 will mark the first ever “Arts Under the Stars” and will feature artist Katie Davison.

See our interview with her below:

1.       How would you describe your art?

I would describe my art as an exploration into who we are as individuals and how we interact with the world. I use art to dig deeper into our anatomy and what makes each of us unique. My art is mostly figurative, as I like to work with the human body, but sometimes it is also abstract as I want the viewers to create an image for themselves. My work includes a lot of detail and is very time consuming, but that’s what I enjoy. I like to use traditional mediums and create work by hand, recently with pencil, pen, ink, and watercolor.

2.       Where does your greatest inspiration come from?

My greatest inspiration would have to be my favorite artist, Alphonse Mucha. He was a Czech painter and drawer during the Art Nouveau period, lasting from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. He would draw very beautiful women with organic curves and intricate details, his line work is very clean and precise; it’s amazing. He’s also considered a decorative artist and created a lot of advertisements and posters for movie stars. I could stare at his work every day. He inspires the way I think about art and how details can make a piece.

I’m also inspired by everyday things like nature, music, and although admittedly creepy, people watching.

3.       What is your favorite piece and why?

My favorite piece would have to be “Pinned,” a self-portrait I completed in May. A lot of my work was completed while I was in school. With art assignments, I had limitations or requirements, but for this piece I finally had some freedom to create whatever I desired. “Pinned” is a large self-portrait drawing using a technique called stippling, which is using small dots to create patterns or shading. All of the shadows except for the hair use this technique. The drawing took me 36 hours to create, so it was a test of patience to complete it and I feel good about the result. This piece features myself with a butterfly pinned to my neck, which represents the thyroid gland, commonly referred to as the “butterfly gland” because of its shape. As a child I had developed Hypothyroidism, which means I have an under-active thyroid. This portrait speaks about that disease and to others who also have it as well.

4.       Do you think that science influences your work at all? If so, how?

Yes, definitely! Anatomy and physiology has become an influence on my work. During school I took a figure drawing class and we talked about the skeletal and muscular systems so that our drawings reflect better anatomy. I also took a neuroscience class where I learned about the different parts of the brain and how different diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s occur within the brain. I found these classes incredibly interesting and it has influenced what I want to create with my work.

5.       Do you think that science will continue to influence your work in the future and in what ways?

Yes, I do think science will continue to influence my work. I’ve had an idea to do a series of portraits depicting certain diseases and creating awareness with them, this includes physical and mental illnesses. I think that the brain will continue to be a focus with my art and I want to learn more about it. I’d like to take more neuroscience classes to help with this. Other parts of science will continue to influence my work like nature; I have an ongoing series where every fall I photograph the leaves that start to turn color, I find the process of that change amazing. Lastly, the universe will continue to be an influence as well. I love to learn about different planets, stars and galaxies, so I would like to include facets of these into my art in the future.

Come to Arizona Science Center, September 6 to meet Katie and explore her work in a unique and immersive experience as it comes to life on the dome of the planetarium!

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