Kate Pugsley is an artist I discovered on Etsy years ago who I've only come to admire more and more as I've seen her expand her practice from mainly gocco prints to full-on oil paintings. The subconscious is very present in Kate's work - associations, symbols and fluid shapes that are purposeful but also full of mystery. At the base of Kate's work, though, is serenity, a sense of profound contentment that calms the psyche.
I'm very proud to welcome Kate to Buy Some Damn Art!
Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
I was born and raised in the splendor of Cleveland, Ohio's eastern suburbs. I moved to the east coast for college at RISD and have been living in Chicago, Illinois for the last three and a half years.
How did you get your start as an artist?
I used to spend hours perfectly finishing every page in coloring books and sketchbooks with Mr. Sketch markers given to me by my great aunt Eileen, and it progressed so that art has been happening all my life.
The artist's studio
What are some of your major influences?
I saw a few exhibitions when I was a teenager that made a deep impression on me and made me realize I really wanted to be an artist of some sort. Some of them were Michaël Borremans, The Flemish painters, Viktor Schreckengost and Alice Neel. That feeling of awe you get when you are young and impressionable really stuck with me. More recently I feel like my influences change every week and include all different types of stories, objects, art and illustration.
Detail of Embryonic, $500.
What inspires your color palette? It is to-die-for!
It's always evolving, and mixing colors and combining them is maybe the most exciting part of painting for me. There are a lot of colors I've learned to avoid for various reasons, so the colors I use have largely just been the result of lots of practice. I am inspired by the colors in my neighborhood, nature and sea life, medical textbooks, magazines, old photographs, etc.
People are most familiar with the collage and print work that you sell in your etsy shop. How is this new body of work (here and in your shows at Union/Pine and The Cold Press) different?
Having two different styles is something I've been attempting to reconcile since I was studying illustration in school. I frequently felt that I needed to have just one style and somehow make my drawing look like my painting and vice versa, but I came to the conclusion that it's OK to just let it happen. Painting is the kind of work I most enjoy making, and that's what I've been working on for this and other upcoming shows. I'm a rather slow painter, working in many layers to build up a final piece, but I find that it's the most satisfying work for me.
Pink Mermaid - my introduction to Kate's work.
Do you use any reference material or do you paint totally from your mind's eye?
I typically use references for facial structure or body language and leave the rest up to the mighty hand of fate.
What are a few of your favorite things (not necessarily art related)?
Victorian houses, organizing paper clippings, masala dosai, old glass, green curry, the quiet neighborhood on the other side of the train tracks near our apartment, motivations, classic fiction - Maugham, Hardy and Iris Murdoch are some of my favorites, coincidences, fresh juice, my charming husband, whale sharks.