Lake Shore Dive
Spotlight On: Katie Meuser, Abstract Painter
Updated: Sep 17, 2019
The creative world of Katie Meuser is one that's full of figures, color fields, and moving hues. Using a free-flowing technique to breathe expressionless figures and fluid shapes to life, her vibrant abstract pieces are like a dance on canvas.
Getting her start drawing wildlife as a kid, Katie’s style slowly transformed from realism to abstraction. “I was fascinated with abstract art and how you can take away from the realistic element of an object and replace it with colors and movement, manipulating the viewer’s perception, yet allowing them to create their own concept of the object.”
Going to school in Nebraska, Katie felt deterred from creating the type of art she was interested in. It wasn’t until she moved to Chicago when she found her community of supporters. She was finally given the opportunity to shake up her traditional artist upbringing in an environment that not only welcomed it, but embraced it.
“My style is the classic struggle between following the rules and breaking free from control."
Katie found that the specific challenges she faced didn't define her, but instead, motivated her to refine her technique and take on full control of her work. She uses large amounts of water with acrylic and ink to create her signature style, one that entirely demands its viewers' attention. The organic shapes and vivid colors come together to create something both familiar and totally new altogether.
Her work is exciting and vivacious—partly due to the fact that Katie lets her brush and the paints guide her. She starts out with colors and then feels the rest of the piece out naturally, the way a baker kneading dough or a sculpture modeling clay would work—no outline or preliminary drawing necessary.
She intentionally leaves out specific details, purposefully removing the veil of preconceived narratives. The work is hers, but she wants you to be as much involved in the process and the experience as she is.
“I want to eliminate all of that and have the body in your face and force you to look at the paint, colors, and texture. I want you to understand how you (the viewer) are feeling.”
Katie believes the future of art is “abstract.” The vulnerability found in abstract art is something that feels very accessible. When you can share the artist's journey with them by relating to the compositions make-up, you find yourself consumed by the shared experiences of what it means to be human.
“People are tired of being told what they are looking at and how they should feel about it and non-objective abstract art is a way of letting the individual get what they want out of it, without being told what they should be getting out of it.”
Katie's work is ever-evolving and her medium is constantly reinventing itself. Lucky for her, and for us, she will always fall perfectly in sync and perfectly outside of the box.
Follow Katie on Instagram to keep up with her recent work. Check out her personally curated Spotify playlist and favorite things below.
Favorite Part about the Chicago Art creative community?
My favorite part about the Chicago art creative community is that everyone is trying to help a fellow artist out. I feel like everyone here knows there are different types of art and artists and there is room for all of it. I have never got the feeling that it was everyone for themselves when I moved here. After all, art is not a vacuum, we all bounce ideas off of others and absorb the art that is around us.
Favorite TV show?
Right now my favorite tv show is “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson.” I quote his skits every day. My one wish for humanity is that everyone would watch it so they’d understand me when I quote it...and of course, solving world hunger.
My favorite everyday cocktail is an Old Fashioned. My favorite drink when I am feeling sassy is a dirty gin martini, extra dirty! I want it to taste like the ocean and blue cheese olives!
Favorite Chicago Artist?
Mary Porterfield. Her figures have an elegance and an eeriness to them and I am obsessed! One time I had a fangirl moment and decided to comment on one of her paintings. She replied, "thanks, Kim." I was crushed but so happy she, for a moment, thought of me. I absolutely love her aesthetic and everything about her art!
Favorite spot in Chicago?
The Magic Lounge! I am simply obsessed with magic!
"Spotlight On" is a bi-weekly series highlighting Chicago creatives with a twist. We share a slice of their stories and what they love, hoping to inspire and connect.
Words by Lolo Ramos