SENIOR HIGHLIGHT: KATIE LEE
INTERVIEWER: LEXI LEE
What defines you as an artist?
Art has always been something that was a part of me, ever since elementary school! Art class was my favorite time of the day during school, and I even spent my summers at art centers. It may not necessarily be skill or knowledge that defines me as an artist, but the dedication that I’ve subconsciously made. I've seen my artistic expression shine through in every single one of my classes. I often dabble in a lot of different types of art, and I think that’s what defines me as an artist.
How have you seen yourself grow as an art student throughout these four years?
Oh boy. You should see my freshman year sketchbook. Not to say that it isn’t good, but it is definitely a crazy collection of abstract doodles that I keep tucked away on a bookshelf. Believe it or not, I was actually going to stop taking art classes sophomore year because I could only choose 1-year long elective (darn health class). I’m so glad I decided to stick with art because I have grown so much through my paintings due to the class. The art rooms and hallway are my home at Harriton, and I think that shows how much I have grown attached to it.
There’s something about an artist’s brain that works so differently from others. Looking at still lifes and swirling paint on a palette may seem like an anyone-can-do-it sort of thing, but it is hard stuff! Those hours spent looking at all the grooves on an onion or spent finding the exact yellow color you used yesterday all contribute to how you view other things in life. Painting has helped me find peace at times when I’m stressed, and it has helped me have a more critical eye when observing things. I know this all sounds vague, but it’s because art has helped me in literally every aspect of my life and I cannot express how big a part of me it is now.
What has been your primary source of inspiration or style?
I have my favorite artists like KAWS, Daria Callie, and Shepard Fairy, but my most significant sources of inspirations have been my art classmates that I’ve spent the past four years with Meili, Ellie, Jane, Maddie, Katie, Olivia, and Zoey. I cannot even count how many ‘crits’ that we have done together and I loved seeing everyone else grow with their art as well. They are all amazing and have their own distinct and unique styles. We have always been so open to giving feedback to each other plus the feedback that I have gotten on my own art from them has definitely had a big impact, and I’m so thankful for that. I also love Behance and Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration! (SUE ME!)
How did you find your own style?
Honestly, I have no idea. I remember when I was an underclassman, and I was looking at the seniors like Sydney Doblin and Josh Foltz, I was like “Oh my god they’re so cool and amazing I want to be them.” They had very distinct styles that were their own, and I noticed that the trick was not to try. The more you try to have a style, the less successful you are. I think you just have to force yourself to create as much art as you can and then at the end, take a step back and see if you’ve found your style. I found my own style by doing exactly this, in addition to other people telling me what they saw my style as. It’s hard to see your own style, and other eyes are a big help when it comes to that.
What have you learned through art that you will carry with you through college?
Ugh, so much! I will definitely be taking art classes (perhaps minoring in fine arts) at CMU and my previous four years of experience will definitely help with that. Specifically, by taking AP Studio Art, you learn to pace yourself and basically force yourself to keep creating even when you feel too lazy. Besides learning new techniques, I have definitely become a less lazy artist (and student) because of art!
What advice do you have for fellow underclassmen artists?
Don’t be afraid to try out different styles and use different media! You will never know how much you like something until you try it and you’ll love the outcome no matter what anyway. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself by taking different art classes, even AP!