Filmed by Mark Dunning and Jon Schmoldt of DEEP DISH Chicago.Read More
The Get Born Girls were featured on the cover of the March 10th issue of Concordia University's The Link newspaper along with an article titled "The Danger Girls of Skateboarding" about all the good bad luck on our Friday the 13th party in February 2015.
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?
When I met Caroline Jacobson, initially, I was a little intimidated. She’s tall and beautiful and looks like she knows something I don’t. I’m 5”4 and look like I haven’t slept in a while, so this could have been problematic, but instead she said she wanted to paint me. I was struck by the way she seemed to see something in me that I had never been able to see myself. What was more was that she actually meant what she was saying. She talks like she’s reading a passage from some book I was supposed to read in middle school; there seems to be something incredibly innocent about what she has to say. It’s quite endearing when you realize the kind of work she does. Caroline is a Chicago-based painter hailing from the good old state of Indiana whose work portrays women in a way that the Get Born Girls seriously respect. Being strong, driven, and a woman is badass, and Caroline encompasses all of that. The ladies portrayed in her pieces are beautiful and complicated, just like the best of us, and we think her girl power mentality is something to be reckoned with. Empowering women is COOL and the way that Caroline explores female sensuality in her work has our lady bits feeling some type of way. Peep her interview and some of her work below, and get ready to see some big things from this girl in the near future.
How did you get into painting and how old were you when you started?
I had always kind of dabbled in the arts growing up, but I never considered that being an artist could be a reality for me. But I’d definitely say that being in business school ultimately got me into painting. I mean, I learned a lot of extremely valuable practical knowledge, but I was SO BORED. At that time, I was watching my girl Hannah Siegfried get really into photography and she was [so inspired] building so much creative momentum. Watching her honestly inspired me to drop out of business school and spend my last three semesters of college in mostly art classes. Since I chose to create, it has really been a matter of building confidence.
Who/what other art would you say inspires you? (this could be music, movies, anything)
I have always been very inspired by different figure painters but I have always gravitated towards artists whose work elicits a strong emotional response or a sense of empathy from the viewer. The first time I saw Francis Bacon’s piece “Figure with Meat” hanging at the Art Institute of Chicago, I immediately became obsessed with his work. He and Egon Schiele have really influenced my work from a relatively young age. My favorite artists right now are probably Kerry James Marshall, Cindy Sherman, Marlene Dumas, and forever Henri Matisse.
Where do you do most of your painting?
I do most of my painting at my grandmother’s studio that she so graciously lets me use. She is a collage artist so her studio is filled with boxes and boxes of just beautiful things she has accumulated over the years. The ‘flower’ box is filled with a ton of dried flowers that her grandmother had picked from their farm in Wisconsin in the late 1900s. It’s just a beautiful place to be able to create!
Where do you go to get inspired in Chicago?
Thrifting/antiquing! But literally Chicago architecture is out of this world beautiful. The lines of the Second School of Chicago are soooo clean and amazing. The sunsets here are crazy beautiful, to say the least.
We noticed that you mainly do portraits of women, is there something about the feminine aesthetic that you really love (because we think its fucking awesome)?
Well I pretty much popped out the womb as a baby feminist. So there are many reasons that I paint mostly women, but I’d say a big part of it has to do with my frustrations with how women have been represented in art and literature throughout history. I really just want to represent each women as a whole fucking person. I want the viewer to see the rawness and importance of their humanity. I’m basically trying to create empathy in the viewer.
Why paint? Why is that the medium that you chose?
I took a painting class in the spring of 2013 and I fucking hated it. We were doing a bunch of weirdly set up still lives and I didn’t really understand how to use paint or how to mix colors. It wasn’t until 2014 that I began to like it. I’d definitely say drawing was truly my first love. A lot of my work has become a mixture of drawing and painting, but the more I paint, the more magical it becomes to me. But I don’t really stick to any one material. I love oil paint, but I go through phases of heavy experimentation with different drawing/painting materials. Its really fun and I see it as myself making a mental bank of things I can later fuck around with more.
But if if you’re asking me why I paint, I’d say its because it really scares the shit out of me. It continues to challenge me in a way that nothing has before. I am a person that is VERY capable of doing absolutely nothing, like trust me, yah girl can lounge hard. But painting is the only thing that has made me want to not do nothing. It’s the only thing I’ve ever really cared about.
If you had something that you were trying to say with your art what would it be?
I want to empower women! I want to show female sensuality as something that is natural and beautiful as opposed to making them the “enigma.” My main goal is to challenge and break down gender roles to create space for the individual.
Where do you see yourself and your work in the near future? Professionally, what is your goal?
I can feel myself going into another big exploratory phase so I see my work changing a lot this year. I didn’t start painting really until 2014 so I have a lot of time to grow and evolve! My short term goals are to get my work shown more! Getting the opportunity to show my work is the best feeling for real. Having people connect with my work makes me feel so whole!
We saw on your website that most of you work has been sold. Tell us about that.
Ya girl’s got to eat, bruh.
What are you working on right now? Any big things coming up for you?
Well right now I’m working on some nude self portraits that explore the line between being sexual and being sexualized. So they have a lot to do with how the viewer interacts with the subject being a naked woman, and whether they find that she can exist in an ‘erotic’ context while maintaining her agency. I’m also learning how to woodwork because building furniture sounds dope af to me. I’m also looking into doing some post baccalaureate work, but we shall see!
Whats your poison?
Fucking thin mints.
Favorite things to do in Chicago?
I love to thrift and hang with my bitches!
What was your first screenname?
icegirl0626, but no lie, I had some pretty embarrassing ones after that.
Blondes or brunettes?
Doesn’t matter to me! Just do you! Rihanna looks amazing in all hair colors.
Sobriety or celibacy?
Weed never did me wrong.
Nicholas Cage or Nickleback?
National Treasure Nicholas Cage is aight
Bob Dylan or Bob Sagett?
Bob Sagett is 6”4 and has connects to the Olsen Twins, so def him.
When I was 13…
I was obsessed with My Chemical Romance and Ashanti. Lol I blocked most of middle school out of my memory.
What superpower would you want?
I wish that when I touched something it would turn into money like in those old skittles commercials.
The Get Born Girls had a few beers with Montreal skate legends, Barry Walsh and Marc Tison to talk with them about their early skateboarding days in Montreal and the discovery of the Big O.
Filmed by Bing Liu.
Edited by Christopher George.
I want my art to be more than just aesthetically pleasing. I want my audience to feel something from my work. I hope that when someone sees these paintings, in their mind, they imagine what it would be like to actually encounter one of the objects. With these pieces, its sick too because the sensation is something I bet most have never thought of feeling before. Like god, I don't think many humans have sat down and imagined what it would feel like to suck a cactus popsicle or a cactus dick before because that would be pretty heinous; that would really suck to suck. Yeah, I think that's what I like most, creating a feeling someone would have never experienced or thought of before seeing my work.
I was recently assigned a project in a digital photography class that asked me to create a series of images based on a poem I felt was most relevant to my life. I chose the lyrics of the song “Ballad of a Thin Man” by Bob Dylan (the legend and hero we named this website after). The song speaks of a man named Mr. Jones who keeps throwing himself into situations he doesn’t understand. I interpreted this as Jones trying to find meaning in life by challenging himself, putting himself in unfamiliar situations. The experiences he has in these situations are causing him to become frustrated and he begins to feel like he is the only one in the universe that doesn’t belong. All of this is happening inside of him, and yet he is playing it out in such a cooled down tone that its almost comforting to him. He makes it seem like his frustration is what keeps him alive and excited. Finding his sanity through chaos. To me, that’s what skateboarding is—throwing yourself into frustrating experiences because of the attraction to danger. In these photos, I focused on capturing the expressions of those who live a life of danger with ease. I went out to photograph people who find sanity in chaos because it’s something they choose to understand and beautifully embrace.
Photos taken in Chicago, Illinois — July, 2014.