This interview is part of #MixedMediaMondays, a way Main Street Calumet is highlighting the human capital of artists in our area. Artists who live and work in Calumet (or have in the past) are welcome to complete a survey style interview to be featured.
What's your name? *
Katie Jo Wright
What's your Calumet connection?
I moved to Calumet, MI in 2007 from Twin Peaks, California with my then-boyfriend. I was just a youngin' really. I helped launch 5th & Elm Coffeehouse and later went on to be involved with other businesses and organizations in and around Calumet. I use to live above Cross Country Sports in the cutest apartment and worked at the Michigan House for many years as a bartender as well. Calumet holds a dear place in my heart. I've been a member of the Copper Country Curling Club for many years, and I am proud to say that I helped organize and played the first-ever roller derby games at the Calumet Colosseum.
How can people see/ buy your work? Please provide a social media handle, website, or other location where people can follow you/find your work?
www.katiejowright.com is my website - instagram handle is @artbykatiejo - I have a little shop on my website that has a couple print items patrons can purchase. I use my website and instagram as a way to promote what and where my artwork is about.
How long have you been creative? Did you have any formal training?
I have been creating doodles, color, and doing fiber work since I was very young. I took art classes throughout my elementary and high school years, but have no "formal" training besides that. I learn by hanging out with other creatives and supporting them.
What type of art do you make and what's your preferred medium?
I like the pen to paper medium most, and the digital versions I do are quite similar to the nuts and bolts way of drawing and doodling, except for the awesomeness of ctrl+z. Most of my subject matter are things related to nature and people, often humorous and whimsical. I make comics and illustrations, publication spots, and sometimes fun logos for regional small businesses and organizations. I have painted extensively as well and from time to time embark on large scale murals.
What have you been working on lately? What's been inspiring you?
I am inspired by illustrators who draw in my style that have "made it." Often I think my whimsy child-like style of illustrating can't be used in business or taken seriously or given value, but as I learn and come to meet other illustrators I am encouraged that there is no wrong way to "art" and all successful artists have one main thing in common, "stickwithitness."
I have been focusing on "re-booting" older works to improve them and be re-inspired by them as well. It has been good practice for when I'm not sure "what to do" but know I need to work on "me" art. Finding the balance between self-investment, and client-investment is important. I'd like to bring into fruition this children's book my friend and I have been working on for several years which has had many starts and stops, so that's where my attention has been lately.
Tell us whose work you've been admiring lately!
I really admire Andy J Pizza, and illustrator from Ohio who also has a podcast dedicated to "Creative Pep Talk." He speaks a lot in analogies, and I find that way of explaining things very similar to the way I think and teach.
Please provide an image or video of your work and tell us about it.
I made this large scale color-me poster comprised of birds found in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (for sale on my website). Birds are one of my favorite totems and symbols. I'd like to be better and identifying the birds found up here where we live so I started by drawing them one by one in this large poster until I couldn't fit anymore. With birds, coloring is so important for identifying them, but with this color-me poster, you can make them your own, too.