Santa Monica Pier No.1
oil on canvas 66 x 62"
Where did you grow up?
I grew up down in Manhattan Beach, California, but moved to the suburbs of Washington D.C. when I was 13. I stayed in the D.C. area through high school. I graduated from college from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in conjunction with Tufts University.
How long have you been an artist and when did you consider yourself an artist?
I feel like I've been an artist most of my life. My father was a recognized abstract watercolor painter, and I grew up going on painting trips with him, in California and all over the Southwest.
Where do you your find inspiration for your works and how do you choose your subject matter?
I get my inspiration from things that set off my sense of humor. I see life as sort of a running cartoon. In my ceramics pieces I like to juxtapose fairly serious looking people with material things which are pleasurable and bring happiness. It's sort of a way of saying that material items can't bring one happiness, but at the same time it's fun to see the divide between whether we have the appearance of happiness and whether, often food, can bring about happiness. I like to use food a lot for some reason. Maybe I'm just hungry.
In my big oil paintings the inspiration is set off by people at the beach. I try to have the people not interact with one another, but just playing out their own drama. I like to use alienation in a situation where one would think people would connect. I see it all as funny in a sad way.
oil on canvas 50 x 62"
Can you name a few of the most important (to you) artists whose work you like?
There are so many artists that have inspired me, starting with my dad, Keith Crown. But I've also been influenced by Saul Steinberg, Alice Neel, Joan Brown, people that play with the figure. I love Nathan Oliveira and Red Grooms too.
Why do you make art?
I do art to keep myself from falling into deep depression. The work is cathartic for me, I need to do it.
What is the hardest thing about being an artist? The best thing?
The hardest thing for me about being an artist is any time that I have to explain my art to people, or speak about what I do. I'm mortified by public speaking and like to let my art speak for me.
The best thing about art for me is it's ability to keep me going and finding new ways to express myself.
Katie Crown's exhibition opens March 1, 2011.