We recently spoke to Clevedon-based artist Katie Blundell, who has been working towards the opening of her new studio and gallery space.
Hi Katie, can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist?
Sure thing. To be honest I feel like every life experience I have ever had such as working in hospitality, being a tour manager for Contiki in Europe, getting a MFA at Elam (focusing on printmaking) and teaching art at secondary level for about 10 years, has helped prepare me to be brave enough to commit to making art full time.
What are you working on currently?
Last year I created a pop up solo exhibition called ‘Adding Up’ in Pukekohe. It was a great success and I decided I would like to create a more permanent space for myself that I could exhibit and create in.
So this year I have made my own Gallery+Studio space at home in Clevedon. My first exhibition in the space ‘Idioms Countryside’ is a large body of Artwork, first triggered by words, as the idioms I have chosen act as a catalyst for each work. I have used country animals as models, this has enabled me to distance myself from the human issues reflected upon in the idiom.
Please tell us more about the studio and gallery space, and what can we expect to see there over the coming months?
I aimed to create a rustic contemporary and welcoming art space. It has been a lot of work but I am very proud of the result. It is now ready to be a destination Gallery+Studio which will evolve as I do. If you come to see the Gallery+Studio and current exhibition you can also expect to see me creating more artwork.
Will the studio part of the space be fully open for visitors? How do you feel about sharing your work in progress to others?
Yes I will be opening the whole space for people to enjoy and engage with. As a people person and teacher I am excited about sharing my love of Art with others. I believe there is magic and joy in the process of making. I have already been sharing my process on social media for the last couple of years, so this feels like a real life extension of that, connecting with an audience further, I am excited!
What is unique to your area?
Clevedon is a gorgeous small rural village 40 minutes south of Auckland city. The Clevedon Farmers Market is already well known Sunday excursion. The Corner Kitchen and Bar is at the centre of the village. It has fantastic food and last year as part of their major renovation they commissioned me to create a large body of work that now adorns their walls. Artist friends of mine Cheryl and James Wright run Art Industries Art Gallery. They represent my work alongside their own and other artists. I believe my Gallery+Studio is also now unique to Clevedon. The ‘Idioms Countryside’ exhibition opens on the 5th November and the runs until the 18th December. Please see the invite for details and/or katieblundellartist.com
What is the one thing you can’t live without in your studio?
Doing up my studio this year has prompted me to look at other creative spaces. I admire my designer friend’s tidy spaces but have realised that tidy is not for me. I now know I can’t live without creative mess. Now days there is an order to my studio and I know where everything is. I tend to throw myself into my work and when I come out I tidy up a little.