My Story.

Hello there and welcome! The busyness of our world today is not lost on me. However you stumbled upon this page, thank you for taking the time to listen to my thoughts, learn about me, and my process. I started my website during the summer of 2016 and I still struggle with posting consistent journal entries. In 2018 I intend to share more regularly with you, hopefully allowing you to identify with my work, and me, on a deeper level. I figured, why not start with telling you the story of how I arrived to where I am today.

I don’t remember my first art experience. Not because it was non-significant, but because art has been in my life from the beginning. My mom has her BFA from Michigan State University, and after graduating she started teaching K-12 art in schools. While teaching, she became pregnant with me, so I literally have been learning about art since before I can remember. My mom took a break from teaching for a couple years while my sister and I were young, but she didn't stop teaching art to us. Art was always my favorite activity, partly because our arts and crafts closet was essentially the wardrobe to Narnia – endless and full of possibility. *Of note, my dad also happens to be a not so low key talented artist and craftsman himself, so shout out to him here as well for encouraging my creativity. 

Paint the Window Contest "Reach for the Stars" circa 1997. Straight from a soccer game. 

Paint the Window Contest "Reach for the Stars" circa 1997. Straight from a soccer game. 

Growing up, I craved the silence and calm that washed over me while creating. Art class was the one time of day where my anxieties and thoughts got quiet and I was able to recharge. Throughout school, my self-confidence grew as I received positive feedback from my peers and teachers, as well as during art contests, submissions, and class events. 

Senior year of high school my multi-passionate personality struggled deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up. Of course I loved art, but I also loved sports, architecture, design, science, writing, teaching, helping people... the list goes on!  Innately, I gravitated towards creative fields, but senior year the recession nudged me towards more stable career paths. After much deliberation, I chose to attend the University of Michigan, where I majored in Kinesiology and minored in Spanish (told you, multi-passionate). While at U of M, I became more interested in exercise science. I joined the university triathlon team and immersed myself in this new interest. After college, I went on to earn my doctorate in physical therapy at Northwestern University in Chicago. My love for physical activity continued in PT school - I carved out time to run several marathons including the Boston Marathon. I wouldn't trade these experiences for the world - I can't say enough wonderful things about these Universities and the lasting friendships I made here (including my fiancé Dave, which he frequently reminds me of don't you worry). 

Working in my first studio "nook" in my Lincoln Park apartment. Note the plastic on the windows... Chicago winters. 

Working in my first studio "nook" in my Lincoln Park apartment. Note the plastic on the windows... Chicago winters. 

You might be wondering where my "artistic side" was hanging out during these seven years. Well it was still there, a calm pool within me. It bubbled up whenever I traveled somewhere new, visited a unique café, or walked past street graffiti. When on vacation I easily lost myself in art galleries, staring at artwork so long my friends and family would be halfway down the street before I realized they had moved on. Seeing people's creations fills me up and inspires me. When you look at someone else’s artwork, whether that is painting, writing, music, or performance, it’s a window into their mind. It is a vulnerable thing to let people into this space, which is why I find it so fascinating.

The summer after graduation was a gift. I had nearly five months to myself. It was as if that calm pool of water saw an opportunity to spout and make itself known again. I very naturally fell back into creating and painting. With extra time on my hands, I decided to create an Instagram account and share some of my work online. Thanks to some hard work on my end, and lots of love and support on your end, this pursuit has been slowly and steadily growing ever since.

As my art has grown, so has my style and approach. Originally I thought, art was supposed to be deep. I’ve always thought I wasn’t interesting enough to produce meaningful artwork. I liked painting pictures I would want to put in my own home, but did that mean anything? That’s not going to make anybody feel anything, right? I searched for something to paint that gave me meaning and couldn’t put my finger on anything. Throughout this journey I learned something that has given me a lot of freedom. Now I create with this in mind:

Create what brings you joy. If it fills you up, that will be apparent in your work. Create for you, and if it doesn’t serve you, then take a break. If you’re looking for a meaning, be patient. It may sneak up on you later.
A figure study from a series I am planning to release this February. 

A figure study from a series I am planning to release this February. 

To read about some meanings I’ve discovered I talk about them in previous journal entries, such as “Gather” and “Shades of Chicago”.

If you made it to this last paragraph, thank you for sticking around. I’m so grateful that well of water within me decided to wake up and make waves. Most importantly, I’m grateful for your love and support. Because of you, I’m encouraged to keep pushing this passion and see where it goes. In 2018 I have big goals and can’t wait to learn how to scale my art to better support our lifestyle dreams.

Currently, I am working full-time as a physical therapist in Chicago while painting on the side. I live with my sweet fiancé, Dave who is an even bigger supporter of my work than myself most of the time. If you have any questions or comments, please share below! I’ll try my best to respond or incorporate them into a future journal entry.

xx,

Katherine

Me and Dave in our favorite place in the world - Northern Michigan. 

Me and Dave in our favorite place in the world - Northern Michigan. 

Katherine Corden4 Comments