Katy’s knack for creativity may have been innate as a child, but this 24 year-old’s pursuit for an artistic career began only twoyears ago. In that brief time, her conviction to grow and watermark her own style as an artist has made a rapid impression. From wild life animals to female icons, her work is always splashed with vivid colors, bold strokes and lively sentiment. Cliché talks with the young, UK-based artist about what drove her to follow her art, how she continues to rapidly accelerate and her charitable plans for the future.
Cliché: Where did your artistic journey begin?
Katy Jade Dobson: Drawing is always something I have enjoyed doing and been somewhat good at. I used to do a lot of drawing and coloring when I was younger, which led to my family encouraging me to do more. That is where I started to develop my skills from an early age; however, my own artistic journey began in 2011 when I bought my first canvas to work on and create my first original piece of artwork. I [then] began to slowly build up techniques and knowledge over the next year, leading to 2013, when I began to work professionally as an artist, having found my feet and style.
Are you completely self taught or did you study art? If the latter, where did you study?
This is a hard one to answer because I think every artist is self taught. I studied art throughout my educated life, working specifically in art at college and university; however, an art course can only take you so far. You are introduced to artists that might inspire you, encouraged to focus on a project that brings out your skills, but how well you execute those skills is down to your own work. How much time you’re willing to work on a drawing or painting until you get it right– that’s the sort of thing that can’t be taught. I saw artist’s work that inspired me and made me want to be of that standard, so I put in the time to accomplish it. I don’t believe you have to be born with an eye for drawing, just the desire to do it and an idea of how you want it to look. I studied at the University of Lincoln for three years, where I took away more from the theory side of the courses, which I have applied to selling my work now.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from a few different sources. When I started out creating my own artwork, I worked solely on the subjects that I liked the most. That is how wildlife became the forefront of my work. I am a huge animal lover, and with this passion for animals and their traits, I knew I could portray the subject with as much truth as possible. Lately my inspiration derives from colour palettes; as I have become more familiar with my materials and colour especially, I notice how some colours work together better with others. I may see a scene in daily life where the colours catch my eye, so I photograph it and keep it in mind. I then find a subject that will really be enhanced by this idea for a colour pallet. There is no particular pattern or step by step way to find inspiration and go about a painting. Sometimes the core inspiration for one may be the last thing considered for another.
Much of your work incorporates wildlife animals, any specific reason for this?
I have a soft spot for animals, wildlife and their habitats. Stags were always my subject of choice; the majestic qualities they hold fascinated me, and I felt a deep understanding for them, leading me to believe I could correctly portray them in a painting and do them justice. It is important to see the strength, royal qualities and elegance all at once and include these concepts into the piece. Birds are a subject that I frequently paint, as the movement in the wings is a huge accomplishment to capture. Wildlife is a subject that is hugely relatable and a passion for so many people.
What techniques do you use?
Techniques for my paintings seem to vary from piece to piece. One piece can never be recreated or be particularly similar. I believe there are so many factors that add up to create the final piece in such a way that it belongs to the moment it was painted in. I listen to music when I paint, and over time I began to notice the way that the tempo can affect the brush strokes. Small changes such as brush size, color restrictions and even temperature can affect the overall outcome in some way. The techniques I use when approaching a painting have been somewhat refined to habits. I believe more importantly than anything that approaching the canvas with conviction is the absolute most vital part of the process. Any waiver of doubt or uncertainty will throw your intention and be apparent within the piece. If you are so sure that you want your art to look a certain way, you won’t stop until it does. That kind of arrogant confidence is what makes your painting bold and whatever you want it to be.
Do you try to create daily or feed solely off inspiration?
I have a whole backlog of inspiration! I have no creative blocks at the moment. As I have progressed further into my artwork, I have more and more ideas stored in my mind and never seem out of ideas to work on. The way I have collected this inspiration comes from looking at everything I love. I look at artists I love; for example Odilon Redon and his use of color has been my biggest inspiration and one that I carry around in my head and apply to any ideas. I take notice of what is around me, the ways things fall, how they stand, how they move. Inspiration is always there and always will be; it can only be apparent to a person who wants to see it.
What would you like for your art to say about you?
I believe it is not so much about me, but what it says about someone else. I had an elderly lady buy one of my very eccentric and abstract stag paintings; she had always been into traditional oil paintings of villages and cottages, and was so happy to have found something so eclectic that she loved. It made her see herself differently, and I loved that. At first I wanted to be known for elegant pieces that were slightly dark and suggestive, but as time changes, people do also, and as a result, the artwork follows. I like my work at the moment to be fun with so much movement and life. Who knows how I might want my work to be portrayed in a years time.
A new project you’re working on incorporates inspirational women, how do you pick and choose who to feature?
It was hard to narrow down such an objective category. I had to try hard not to just include the women who I felt inspirational to me personally. I tried to look very deeply into these women and their histories, and not only see what they have done and achieved, but why they are well known, why we idolize them and what the fascination is. It took awhile to shake off the search for purely good and charitable women, as this does not define an iconic woman. Badly behaved women are also icons; it is just important to see their influence as well. I wanted to include some very blatant and obvious talents and beauties, as well as controversial and debate worthy women. The collection as a whole is a celebration of women who have made their mark for whatever reason. I don’t believe they are celebrated enough.
Do you have any advice for young artists?
A quote that I wish I had read earlier is ‘I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times’ – Bruce Lee. Working on your skills non-stop can only make you improve beyond what you thought you could achieve. My portrait collection that I am working on is an achievement in itself for me, as portraits were never a strong point of mine. Perseverance and practice are the most important keys in getting to where you want, and you would be shocked at how far it can take you. It is important for artists to find their creative feet as early as they can; create whatever you enjoy and it can never be a bad job.
Do you have any other projects you are looking forward to?
I will be working on more refined collections for some wildlife series where money will go to charities for elephants, birds and many others. It is great to have a whole project in mind to work towards, especially if the subject is something you are so passionate about!
To see more of Katy’s work, visit her website, katyjadedobson.com
Katy Jade Dobson’s interview originally appeared in Cliché Magazine’s October/November 2013 issue.
Images courtesy of Katy Jade Dobson.