Katy Mixon, a South Carolina native living in Brooklyn, NY, is a visual artist and recent graduate from UNC Chapel Hill. Her studio, located in the basement of her apartment, though small is an efficient and very well organized artistic space. There is nothing extraneous here. It is clean, competent, and fresh but not without personality. Color is the first thing you see, jumping out at you from both walls where multiple in-progress paintings hang. Next, you notice her intricate storage system for the carved chips of paint removed from her works, each color getting its own clear cube to exist in until used again in another work. Even her desk is enviable, with containers of various supplies, books, and source images ready to be used. Not to mention her adorable cat Marcel sleeping in his chair. Subverbal was invited to join Mixon in her studio to discuss her new work and processes, upcoming shows, and what life in NY is like. http://www.msmixon.com
Make sure to check out her work in the upcoming show titled Is Art Work?
On view at the Spartanburg Art Museum March 16th - June 4th, 2017 - Opening Reception: March 16th, 5-8 pm
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE WORK YOU ARE CURRENTLY MAKING IN 3 SENTENCES?
I am currently working on a series of carved oil paintings that are always in the process of becoming. They are negotiations between my intentions and my accommodations to the material. I hope they are alert, and if nothing else, they are excessive, obsessional necessities.
WHAT/WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES AND/OR WHAT IS INSPIRING YOU RIGHT NOW?
Seeing the work of Alma Thomas at the Studio Museum in Harlem -- walking around the gallery was spiritual, and reading about Thomas’s search for and acceptance of beauty was re-energizing, particularly within the dismal socio-political climate of the last year.
Also, the Ree Morton show at Alexander and Bonin -- the sentiment, the playfulness, the way she mapped her own work -- it was magical.
MATERIALS/TOOLS/PROCESS - HOW ARE THEY IMPORTANT IN THE WORK?
I grew up playing sports, and now, I regularly practice yoga. For me, painting is very similar. I work from an instinctual somatic place, doing the same thing every day. Through repetition, I see my patterns and variations in behavior. If there is something holding it all together, it’s the act of practicing itself. I am always asking questions around coherence, progress and agency -- how do things take shape, evolve, and change overtime?
HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR WORK HAS EVOLVED OVER TIME?
My relationship to the work is evolving more quickly than the work itself. I am increasingly more accepting of my limits, and overall, I feel I have less to prove externally. Anxiety is such a powerful motivator. I have to work really hard to move away from it.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW YOU MANAGE YOUR WORK/LIFE BALANCE?
Not very well. I just moved to Brooklyn from NC, so I am in the process of finding a new work/life balance. Both places have their challenges in terms of time, money, and space, and living in a more expensive city is definitely difficult. The upside is I’ve had to prioritize in an aggressive way. This year, I started keeping a detailed studio calendar which is helping. I look for anything that makes time more visible.
WHO IS YOUR ART MOM, DAD, AND CRUSH? (INSPIRATIONS AND ASPIRATIONS)
I have a huge crush on Ragnar Kjartansson. I saw his piece S.S. Hangover a few years ago and was mesmerized. I’ve been following his work ever since. The way he uses repetition to elicit and exploit our tendencies toward an emotional response I find very meaningful. His work is beautiful, comical, perfect ... it’s a pretty serious crush. And, he collaborated with the National! How cool is that?
I have a big crush on Anoka Faruqee, too. Her visual and written work on feminism in practice through optical abstraction is sensational!
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND NOISE (OR LACK OF) WHILE IN THE STUDIO? MUSIC? TV? PODCASTS?
Like all my obsessions, it cycles. Lately, I’ve been listening to Alice Coltrane’s Anthology on repeat. I listen to a lot of Podcasts as well -- WTF, MAN, Gimlet, NPR, Crooked Media.
WHAT IS THE MOST OUT OF PLACE ITEM IN YOUR STUDIO?
Nothing, there is not an inch of arbitrary space.
IF YOU WERE BEING SHIPPED OFF TO SPACE TOMORROW, WHAT 5 BOOKS WOULD BRING? (ART RELATED OR NOT)
Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States
Haruki Murakami, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Flannery O’Connor, The Complete Stories
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
Jeanann Verlee, Racing Hummingbirds