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based in Brooklyn . NY . USA
31 years . illustrator

I was born and raised in Scotland, running wild through the ramshackle woods and disappearing into books. I always loved to be creative; putting on plays, dancing, singing... but didn't discover that I loved to draw until my teenage years. I studied at Edinburgh College of Art, moved to New York City and have been making art ever since.

Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
// Which media do you use to express yourself?

I love to paint with gouache. I also love to collaborate with photographers and express myself through fashion and portraiture.

Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
// What is your biggest motivation to create? What inspires you?

So many things, the simplest answer being that I can't not; creating is such a huge part of who I am. I am also very drawn to the idea of putting beauty and good energy into the world, especially when the news can feel so hopeless and overwhelming. Also, many of my ideas begin with a color palette and I think that maybe all of my work is an exploration of color in some way, or at least the energy of color.

Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
// What is your creative process like?

A spark of an idea, excitement, research, inspiration, organization, painting, drawing, making,  frustration, editing and finally:  happiness at ending somewhere different than I thought I would! Hopefully some small satisfaction with what I have made.

Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
// What do you do in your daily routine to help maintain creativity?

I find that I am only able to function well creatively if I am healthy, calm and well rested. I think that self care feels is especially important when you live in a large, busy city which is a constant attack on the nervous system! I eat well, I workout, practice yoga or at least move daily, I take herbal remedies to calm stressed boost immunity, I take hot baths and go to bed early and I enjoy wine with friends and family!

Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
// What are you favorite works or projects that you have done? What was the motive?

I have been collaborating with my husband, Fidel Garcia-Reichman, who is a photographer, and some other creatives. We work together on fashion photography projects which I love to do; it is so inspiring to collaborate and be part of a team. I see my photo art direction work as an extension of my painting; I'm still interested in color, mood and faces, it's just a different media.

// Have you had a decisive moment in your career? How did this influence your trajectory?

When I found my agent Kate Ryan Inc, it really helped me to find my place; nestled somewhere between fashion, illustration and fine art . It also opened doors to collaborating with new people and finding paid work as an artist.

Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
// Who are your influences, inspirations, or preferred artists? How do they reflect in your own work?

Some favorites: Matisse, Ellsworth Kelly, Vanessa Bell, Ana Kras, David Hockney, Etel Adnan,  Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Patricia Treib, YelenaYemchuk, Phoebe Philo, Ariel Dearie, Cass Bird, Jamie Hawkesworth, Helen Frankenthaler, Frida Kahlo, Joan Mitchell. I am drawn to artists who explore color, flowers or complicated women as these are my favorite subjects, too.

Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
// Do you think there still exists a bias in relation to women's free expression? Do you feel this in your work?

I think that society is still somewhat uncomfortable with women being free, wild and emotional. So much of my work is about trying to capture that wildness, to show soulful, complicated woman & feelings and put that energy into the world. I feel lucky to know many creative, kind, amazing women who inspire me every day. I think that sisterhood is a powerful thing. I hope that if we keep standing up, telling our stories and using our gifts, us women can step into our power - together!

Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
// What makes you happy?

Quiet mornings, warm stones, dark chocolate, hot baths, dancing, walking with my husband, talking to my mum, wine and gossip with my friends, having people I love sitting around our table eating and drinking and laughing.

// What tips could you give to other women to help them bring their creations into reality?

Just keep making and drawing and creating. Try to follow your instincts and let go of guilt and fear. Reach out to find a community of like minded creatives. Be kind to yourself!

Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
Katy Smail por Projeto Curadoria
// Do you have a new project in the works?

At the moment, I am focussing my energy on my art directing work; after many years of painting in solitude it feels good to be working as part of a team and collaborating!  I have always loved fashion imagery and magazines and think that the fashion world can be such an amazing vehicle for creativity; despite the limitations and problems. For example, I feel passionate about casting diversely and showing images of natural beauty instead of the 'perfect' representation of beauty staring at us from so many magazines. I want to create images that show imperfections, alternative narratives, painterly ideas. Expanding my creative universe in this way feels very rewarding and I'm excited to see where it may lead.