Meet Katie Ré - a true creative powerhouse who's unconventional approach to painting is nothing short of captivating. In this Q&A we learn more about Katie Ré's exclusive Vibrant Imperfections series as well as her journey as an artist.
Your pieces are often left in a state of dynamic incompletion, allowing the viewer to project their own experience onto the canvas. Is this the approach you took with your Vibrant Imperfections series?
While that’s true of my work in general, I wouldn’t call it my “approach” exactly. I think it's a result of what I find most interesting visually, while I’m in the process of painting. My attention can shift from painting a flower, for example, to exploring an unplanned but compelling moment that just happened on the canvas. I may begin a piece looking closely at the delicate edge of a petal, following its line like a contour drawing, and then my focus shifts because I’m so taken by the lush way my palette is mixing together. I like to explore the moments that capture my attention as they happen without judgment. I follow those moments and it usually takes me where I need to go.
Do you have a favorite piece from your Vibrant Imperfections series?
Ooo that’s a tough one. I really love them all if I’m allowed to admit that! I currently have "Pink/Cream Anemones" in my living room and I’ve fallen in love with it. It’s neutral but exciting and edgy, and looks great against my Chantilly Lace walls. The week before I had "Pink Petals" in its place and that one is so ebullient and lush. To me, this series emits great energy.
You worked on Wall Street for 12 years before becoming an artist. Did you always know you wanted to move into a creative career space?
I had a big career way back when and it feels like a lifetime ago. But no, I didn’t know I was always going to make a move to a more creative career space. I was an equity trader at Keefe Bruyette & Woods, and I lived for my job and loved the people I worked with. We were on the 89th floor of 2WTC, and I was randomly late that day because my alarm clock broke. The minute hand had fallen off. All of my direct colleagues on my desk died that day, except one who was out sick, (KBW lost 67 employees in total on 9/11). I can’t begin to describe the trauma of it all. I stayed with the firm 9 years after 9/11, and helped rebuild and rehire, while just trying to survive my new reality. After about 4 1/2 years of psychotherapy— (without which I would not be the person I am today), I was available to happiness again. That’s when I met my husband. We were quickly blessed with two babies one after the other, and we decided to change our priorities. I wanted to be present for the blessings in my life. I owed it to my friends who lost their lives to live my best life and do it boldly because I’m here and I can. Or, I can at least try. We moved to the country where we’ve raised both kids, and my husband is a history teacher and football coach and I am a working artist. The business of selling my work happened organically as galleries approached me and word of mouth spread as I gained Collectors. I pinch myself every single day.
Your barn studio is amazing! Do you always paint there or do you sometimes take your canvas outside the studio?
Thank you! The barn is a pretty special place. It’s not hard for me to get in the zone when I’m in my studio, I’m so lucky to have that as my workspace. I do all of my painting in my studio, but sometimes I’ll do my works on paper and collaging in my house. They have to be immaculate, and my barn has critters.
Why do you think people are drawn to abstract art?
I think people are drawn to abstract art for lots of reasons. Sometimes words can’t summarize how you feel, and a painting elicits a response that makes sense to you. If you’re drawn to it, I believe it’s got something you’re needing or wanting.