Today we’d like to introduce you to Katia Wish.
Katia, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Unlike many artists, many years passed between the moment I first discovered my love of painting and when I had a genuine opportunity to develop my skills and voice as an artist. When I finally had that chance, I took it, and haven’t looked back since.
Growing up in Belarus (a former republic of Soviet Union), I attended art classes as a preschooler. I love my memories of painting with watercolors on Sunday mornings. For whatever reason, though, when it came time for me to choose between art and music in school, I chose music.
As the years went by, I drew and painted very rarely, though the desire was still there. As a young adult in Belarus, it was too late to take up art again. There are almost no continuing education or any other art classes for adults. I had practically given up on my early love of painting.
When I was 19, I moved to the US. And after several years of living here, I finally had the opportunity to come back to my art again. So, at the age of 24, I started my studies at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
I had very low skills and always had the feeling that I needed to catch up. But I was so in love with the illustration that I didn’t mind working hard at developing my skills. It was incredibly exciting, and a bit overwhelming, to discover everything all at once. I tried all kinds of media: 3-D illustration, scratchboard, pencil, cut paper, but always went back to what I loved the most – painting with watercolor and gouache.
Even though the feeling of trying to catch up never really goes away, I can pause and appreciate how far I’ve come and how much this country let me develop my skills and learn and explore. At this point, I have illustrated several children’s books, worked in children’s magazines and educational market, worked on numerous freelance projects and private commissions. I have a wonderful agent who works with me very closely at developing new stories which we submit to the publishers. In addition, I teach Illustration at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and exhibit my work in galleries throughout New England.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My primary focus for creating artwork is to expand my portfolio suitable for children’s books. That includes having strong characters and narrative qualities in my work. I love working with watercolor and pencil. Earlier in my career, I got advice to “brighten up” for a young audience. My work was called “dark, moody, European.” I took that advice to brighten up my palette but always felt that I was not completely true to my vision and background.
Recently, I started listening to my intuition again and creating work that makes sense to me. And I truly believe that both grown-ups and kids respond to this new body of work. I love working with a limited color palette, muted colors, a strong sense of light and atmosphere, and a strong sense of place. When the viewer looks at my work, I would like them to have a sense of wonder, to take them to a different place/world and think about what all those characters are about, where are they, what their story is.
Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
I think the conditions are pretty hard for artists today. Rents for the studios are extremely high and it’s tough to make money doing art as is. Cities can do several things. Open more exhibiting opportunities and promote those venues. Another thing would be not to separate artists/craft fairs from the life of the cities. Find a way to make viewing art more flexible, accessible, in conjunction with other events. The saddest thing is to come to yet another opening of an exhibit to see the same faces – artists themselves.
I would also challenge businesses and cities to think outside the box when it comes to any design/promotion/posters opportunities. For so many years, photography has been the preferred choice for so many things, but I believe illustration and fine art also have the possibility to attract people’s attention and deliver messages, whether for advertising, education, or anything else.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
People can see my work at www.katiawish.com, as well as all the social media outlets mentioned below. The best way to support my work would be to buy my prints at www.etsy.com/shop/KatiaWish
- Website: www.katiawish.com
- Phone: 978-857-2390
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @katiawish
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/Katia.wish.illustration
- Twitter: @KatiaWish
- Other: www.etsy.com/shop/KatiaWish