Katie Morton aka @broke_art_student is a young female based out of Ontario, Canada who has a very interesting perspective on the way society perceives women. Her mixed media art pieces are very powerful and challenge the questionable expectations that standardize femininity in todays world. Katie's work tends to focus on strong, honest and dark-humored women expressing some sort of justification for wanting to be themselves, regardless of what society might think of them. One major reason Katie stood out to us was because skateboarding has had a major influence on her creative perspective. Skateboarding plays a very powerful role in her work; she portrays her female characters holding, riding, or talking about skating is featured in a lot of her pieces. We found that Katie's message was very similar the one that Get Born is trying to express as a place for creative expression in the skate world through a uniquely feminine perspective. We talked to Katie about her creative process, her opinion on contemporary society, on why skateboarding has had such a big influence on her work, and also what she has planned for her future career in art. If you are a believer in girl power, skateboarding, and challenging conformity, give her a follow and educate yourselves on the underlying importance of what art can do to make a change.
To check out more of her work, please visit her page atwww.katiemorton.me
What city are you based out of?
I am currently based out of Huntsville, Ontario.
How old are you?
I will be 22 on August 16th
Where do you go to school/ what is your major?
I just graduated from OCADU with a major in Drawing and Painting.
If you had to choose 3 things that piss you off most about the world we live in, what would they be?
1. Student debt
3. Not enough public bathrooms (I pee a lot)
What does art do for you as a person?
Art is an inseparable part of my life. It keeps me sane and happy.
Why do you think it is important to put art out into the world?
For some people the artistic process is private and meditative, and that’s good. However, for me there is something very rewarding about the process of making a work and moving it from such a personal space, out to share with others. I think the figures I make have a desire to make other friends and to share commonalities.
Favorite pizza topping? (Since pizza is a common food ft. in your work)
I don’t get too wild. I’m a mozzarella and spinach kinda gal.
What mediums do you work with?
I like to move across as many different mediums as possible, however I mostly use paper and gouache. I Love the look of flat bold colors.
How do you get in the zone to be inspired and create? Where/what is your happy place?
I don’t really have a method for getting in the zone to be honest. I usually gain inspiration from looking at the materials available to me and just GO. Pretty sure my happy place is in the Caribbean even though I’ve never been there.
A theme throughout your work sometimes portrays a character riding or holding a skateboard. Do you skateboard? How does skateboarding influence your work?
I started skating just as a means of transportation about two years ago in Toronto. At first I felt too embarrassed or limited to progress beyond anything more than that, but now I realize that there’s endless room for growth and creativity and I’m out at the skate park learning as much as I can. I love the creative energy and positivity that comes from it. The potential for accessibility and diversity in skateboarding influences my work greatly. It’s my goal to inspire those who maybe haven’t thought of themselves as capable of taking on something like skateboarding— Because if lil' ole me can do it, so can you!
If you could collaborate with one skate company who would it be?
I would probably choose Welcome Skateboards. I like their fun, down to earth mission statement and, of course, maximum customization of the board.
How would you describe the female characters displayed through your art? Are these characters a reflection of you and your experiences? Or are they completely fictional, perhaps without any particular relevance?
I feel like my answer for this changes a little as time goes on. It used to be that each piece was a direct reflection of myself and my experiences verbatim. However, as I progressed with them they’ve moved beyond that into figures that have their own emotions and experiences.
Do you have any unique self-taught skills that you utilize? Something that you did not learn in school?
I’m currently trying to teach myself how to braid my own hair via Youtube tutorials.
Your work is very colorful and bright, yet the expressions in your characters are usually sad or monotone, is there a sort of ironic connection? What are you trying to tell the viewer through your work?
I like to imagine the figures I paint as earnest and flawed humans. Each expression ranges from that of a powerful unyielding gaze, to a look of eternal boredom. You’re right about the ironic contrast of bold, “happy” colors paired with sad or intense expressions. I get a big kick out of that sort of playful humor. I’m not really trying to tell the viewer something, but rather have a conversation with them or at them.
Who is someone that has always inspired you?
My Dad. He taught and supported me through all my artistic ventures since day one.
In one of your Instagram posts, you talked about how frustrating it is being a “female body in a public space” and how sometimes it makes you feel unsafe and disrespected as a human. Can you tell us more about what lies beneath those words, what you think about being a female in a public space? Do you see any hope for a change in the future?
This was a particularly stressful week as I recall. I made the post after having been verbally and physically harassed by strangers numerous times. I reached a point where I needed to take back my voice and say excuse me world! There are countless people of every gender identity who suffer from these types of harassments. In this instance I was speaking from personal experience of being in a female body and the inherent feelings of power others tend to exude on that as a result of societal structures. I won’t get deep into that one right now, but when it comes down to it, alls I can say is we all need to respect one another.
I would like to think there is hope for the future. I think that social media opened up a lot of platforms for these types of issues to be discussed. There has to be hope for progress if things are at least getting talked about. Right?