Katie Hector

Artist Katie Hector invites me into her studio to discuss life after graduation, developing a creative community, and her new FOMO series

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On The Playground

  • Growing up Katie was always the kid in school that was drawing in a notebook when she got the chance. In high school Katie was lucky to have a few teachers mentor her and introduce her to a community of artists in the Trenton area.
  • Katie's family was also artistic as her grandfather was a water colorist and her grandmother loved the work of Andrew Wyeth who was a realist painter. During the holidays Katie would ask for papers and painting materials to continue to learn and practice.

Making a Move

  • After high school Katie chose to study art at Mason Gross at Rutgers as opposed to an art school in New York or Philadelphia. At the time Katie felt that it would be very overwhelming for her and glad she decided to stay within New Jersey.
  • She entered the Painting program at Mason Gross and was introduced to more conceptual ways of thinking and developing work. It took Katie up until her thesis year of the program to really let go of more formal ideas such as portraiture and work more abstractly.
  • One of the best parts of the program that Katie enjoyed the most was that students were encouraged to take courses outside of their focus. This allowed her to learn about printmaking, video, and sculpture and would help further develop the way she approached making work.
  • One professor stands out when Katie thinks back to her time at Mason Gross and that was Raphael Ortiz. Professor Ortiz would push students to try and open their minds to different ways of thinking.
Photograph by Damon May Design.

After College

  • Katie knew after graduating the program she did not want to go to graduate school. She had studied alongside artist Stephen Westfall who would encourage her to look into programs but Katie had decided that she would move to Brooklyn and figure things out along the way.
  • Katie moved to Brooklyn and found a job within a few months as a manager at a fabrication studio. Over the next year Katie would meet so many artists through the studio and work on personal projects in her apartment.
  • Katie eventually stepped away from the manager position to focus on developing a studio practice and producing more work. She took a risk by taking one less day of work to allow herself to concentrate more on her practice.

Developing a Creative Community

  • After settling into her studio practice Katie began to yearn for the community she once had in school. The ability to have conversations with other artists and share feedback with each other.
  • Katie would coordinate a number of gallery exhibitions and invite various artists that she admired to also show work. She also hosted events in her neighborhood where friends and other creatives could share work in progress.
Detail shot of Katie's FOMO series. Photograph by Katie Hector.

Creating and Performing

  • In 2018 and in previous years Katie has performed in Art in Odd Places which is an annual festival along 14th Street in Manhattan presenting visual and performance art in unexpected public places. This year's theme was Body and was curated by artist Katya Grokhovsky
  • One of Katie's recent series is centered around FOMO or the fear of missing out. It was something that she had worked on briefly during school but moved onto other ideas at the time and recently has revisited the work to further explore it's potential.

When She isn't in the Studio

  • Katie notes that she is obsessed with her work and even outside of her studio she continues to create. However she does enjoy reading. When she isn't working on paintings she is writing proposals for either curatorial projects or residencies.

Favorite Neighborhood Galleries

  • Katie is currently living in the East Village and loves to visit a few galleries to see the exhibitions and learn about new artists. Some of her favorites include The Hole, Turn Gallery, and Freight and Volume.

Big thanks to Katie for sitting with me to record this episode and also Damon May for sharing photos of Katie with me for this post.

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