Katie was born in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and grew up in California and Florida. When her family moved to Key West, she followed and made the island her home base while she attended college at Florida State University and the University of West Florida. While at FSU, Katie studied art and art history abroad in London, England. Upon returning to Key West in 2004 with her B.F.A., she became the art teacher at Horace O’Bryant School and married conch artist Garth Holtkamp.
As a military child, travel, the ocean, and art always served as a constant comfort for Katie. Her paintings are a reflection of her love of the island and coastal life. Katie focuses on highlighting little snippets of what makes conch life so sweet. She streamlines the natural elements of the island climate and focuses on form, light and color.
“SALT is the perfect space for my artwork as the gallery and my aesthetic share a common theme of celebrating the beauty of simplicity,” Katie says.
Katie’s main artistic influence for this collection of paintings has been Georgia O’Keefe’s flower and skull close-ups. She taught a unit on O’Keefe’s work in her art class and became obsessed with the idea of celebrating the tiny natural objects you haphazardly pass as you go about your day. She loved the idea of giving that random flower, shell or fruit a voice by painting it large with an uncomplicated background. Katie also cites Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, David Hockney and Cindy Sherman as additional aesthetic influences.
“We are so looking forward to featuring Katie’s beautiful paintings at SALT,” says gallery owner Laura Richardson. “Her work is a poetic tribute to the small things that truly make Key West special from conch shells to grape leaves, Katie’s subject matter and soft color palette will give you a renewed appreciation for the little things that we tend to overlook on a daily basis. There is also a sense of peace inherent in her work that fits the aesthetic at SALT perfectly, so our partnership with Katie feels very natural and organic.”
Gallery owners Maria Sharpe and Laura Richardson feature a new artist each month at SALT Gallery. For more information, call 305-517-6088 or visit www.saltislandprovisions.com. ¦