Briefly describe the work you do.
I work on many projects at once that revolve around the ideas of new romanticism, slowness, wanderlust, cartography, and a political call to the return of yesterday’s pastimes for the preservation of today’s environment.
I have both a studio and post-studio practice. In the studio, I make photo collages on vellum and wood panels and I secretly make tiny landscape paintings. While creating small-scale works, I dream of doing large-scale installations with these projects one day.
In my post-studio practice, I invite people to participate in adventures like extremely long walks in New York City that feel like climbing a mountain, or tours that invite people to come back to nature by viewing a sunrise for just a moment.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
While growing up, I was involved in a lot of artistic activities outside of the visual arts. I worked extensively in the theatre department and I played flute competitively.
Upon entering university age, I decided to major in theatre at a reclusive liberal arts college in the Pennsylvania Mountains. I soon grew self-conscious during my second year about being a ‘triple threat’ in the theatre world; so, I changed my major to art and began pursuing graphic design. Simultaneously, I took a painting course and remember one night stating, “If I could do this the rest of my life, I would.” My professor, Melissa Kuntz, soon encouraged me to apply to art schools where I had since graduated with a B.F.A. from Purchase College, lived in Flux Factory (II) in Long Island City, and received my M.F.A. from SMFA and Tufts University amongst other highlights in my emerging career.
Today, I still take my theatre, graphic design, and musical background into consideration as tools for projects that I have worked on and projects to come.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of ‘being in the studio.’
I jump back and forth between being in the studio and having a post- studio practice. This comes from attending two schools of thought, both Purchase College (studio-based) and SMFA (post-studio based). A majority of my work happens outside of my studio. However, I do crave making tangible objects and the satisfaction of seeing a product that long-term conceptual projects can’t immediately satisfy for me.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
When I began, I never saw myself as being able to break down the walls of my studio to involve more community-based projects. Also, I didn’t foresee including social elements such as collaborative projects to performative works – and thank goodness for this because it can get lonely in the studio.
On another note, I never saw myself as an activist and an artist and being able to co-mingle the two. Today, I see my interest in Disaster Relief Volunteering and being an artist inseparable. I enjoy the research aspect of this practice and the ability to be ‘in the field’ as a documentarian of epic catastrophe and a helping hand.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
I try to be good about budgeting my time, though it gets tricky because I have a full-time job as a designer in a gallery in Chelsea and I run a website. But I make sure that I have one full day a week in the studio and try to squeeze the sleepy hours after work in as studio time. I write in the mornings and begin working in the afternoon – sometimes my work outside of the studio happens in the wee hours of 4:30 am to 10:00 am.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
I think my artwork within the last five years has undergone a huge reconstruction . . . but, mybe later down the line, I will see the connection that lead me to where I am in the future.
In 2009, I was a purist painter living in Flux Factory and I had a studio in 5-Pointz (when artists could afford studios in NYC). I didn’t get Flux Factory when I lived there at the time. I would think things like, ‘why would you build a Shanty Town (by Ian Montgomery) on the rooftop?!’ but at the same time I was extremely mesmerized by these works. I began wanting more than the limits of the stretcher bars; my ideas felt bigger than a 2-Dimensional still image.
Today, like all ex-painters will say, I feel like I still have the inner core and heart of a painter and most of my work is inspired by images in historical and contemporary paintings.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
Current Artists: Bas Jan Ader, Caspar David Friedrich, Sophie Calle, and Alejandro Jodorowsky
Family: All of them from the republican-gun-loving-southern ladies and gents to my British-tea-drinking-sassy-loving grandmother and my ever-supportive mother and father.Friends: They are all muses in so many ways – whether chosen artists or not – from every laugh and conversation, my life is enlightened
Professors: Jeannie, Mary-Ellen, Barbara, Katharina, Nancy, Bobby B, Dannielle, Melissa, Patte, Kaersten, Cathie, George, Magda, & Kate
Current book of influence: Wilderness and the American Mind by Roderick Nash, How to Use Your Eyes by James Elkins, & Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit
Dreams: My reoccurring dreams about the apocalypse, which often look like environmental disaster sites.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
Fo’gedaboutit! I work too hard to be an artist in the moonlight hours to think about being anything else . . . maybe a professor, with a lush studio in New York and many research grants to practice my art . . . or, an artist represented by a blue-chip gallery (hello, museum collections!) – but this is all in the world and range of an artist.
Born in 1985 outside of Los Angeles and grew up in the suburbs of Washington D.C., Katrina Neumann works internationally as a visual artist. She received her B.F.A from SUNY at Purchase College and her M.F.A from Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her work has been featured in the juried-in-print exhibition New American Paintings, Radio Context, WNYC, Whurk Magazine and Berlin Art-Parasites. She is affiliated with Flux Factory, Elsewhere Museum, CAC Woodside, LMCC, Creative Capital, Artist Alliance Inc. and All Hands Volunteer.
Neumann is the Founder and Chief Editor of Rate My Artist Residency. This growing resource provides a platform for artists to socially and critically engage in conversations about artist residencies worldwide. The website has been featured in ArtFCity, BlouinArtInfo, Artspace, China Residencies, CMagazine, and NYArts Magazine.
Katrina currently lives and works in New York City. Her upcoming projects include a collaboration with a string quartet (Rose Hashimoto, Karen Dekker, James Waldo, and Beth Wenstrom), a residency with Artists Alliance Inc. and a forthcoming exhibition with Cuchifritos Gallery and Project Space.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.