Interview – Katty Huertas

Colombian living in Baltimore and DC, Katty Huertas’ work explores female identity, double standards, animal rights, and many other subjects . She works in a variety of mediums that include painting, sculpture, fiber work and digital drawing and animation.

Who is Katty Huertas and where do you come from?

I was born in Colombia and moved to the States around 6 years ago. I like to paint, draw and knit and I live with my husband and our two cats.

What is your study background?

I did two years of university in Colombia for visual arts with a focus in graphic arts, so mostly printmaking, illustration and all that. When I moved, I transferred and finished my degree in arts in Miami. While I was in school I didn’t want to specialize so I did a bit of everything. I tried painting, ceramics, animation, typography, etc. I liked it all.

How did you develop your style? Who inspired you?

The medium I work in influences the look of my pieces, for example, for my traditional paintings I really enjoy working with pastel colors since the material is so tactile. I also like painting with “pretty” colors since it can contrast with some of the subjects I’m dealing with. On the case of my digital drawings, my color palate is less restricted as I have infinite options. But in way, I think I’m still defining my style.

Second Skin II

What materials do you use for your illustrations?

For illustrations, I work digitally using a tablet and Photoshop. Because most of the commissions come with a deadline this is the most effective way to achieve what I want. It also makes me less afraid of experimenting as I can always use the “undo” command.

When you have to create something, how do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration from a lot of things. From the mirror, songs, people I see on the train, my cats, the news. Anything you look at can be interesting if you are in the right mood.

Lenny Letter

As a Colombian girl, how is living in Baltimore?

I technically live between DC and Baltimore and I commute to DC every day, so I would say I live more in DC than Baltimore. But living here is different than Colombia.

Before moving here, I lived in Miami for a few years, and the culture there was more like Colombian culture. But in general, I really like it, I love seasons and like the fact that a lot of people in DC are not really from DC but from all over the world.

Does your work reflect the place that you live in, the people that surround you?

I think so. Currently, my work is shifting from exploring my own identity to looking at my surroundings more so I think the place and people around me are inducing the change. I’ve been in this area of the country for a little over a year and I’m still being exposed to many new things. I remember when I first moved, I kept seeing the deer traffic signal, which I’ve never seen before, and I loved it! That’s when I did the little animation of the deer jumping inside the signal.

Deer crossing

Does the present political situation affect your career and life?

It does, a lot. On the personal side, being a woman, an immigrant and a human being, it breaks my heart to read all the changes the new administration is making. Regarding my work, I’m producing less, and when I create something new, I feel more self-conscious about sharing it. Most things seem very trivial compared to what’s happening in the world. I’ve read about it and I know I’m not the only creative person who feels this way.

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