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Artist story: Katie Bute

Katie Smith, working under the alias Katie Bute, is an artist and textile designer based in Zurich, Switzerland.

Katie´s formal education began at school on the Isle of Bute, where she began to take interest in painting and illustration. And, though an easily distracted student herself, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Textile Design with Honours from Heriot-Watt University, formerly the Scottish College of Textiles, where she gained experience in woven and knitted textiles before specialising in printed textiles.

In 2016, Katie made the move to Madrid, Spain and quickly gained a footprint in the city´s galleries and exhibitions as well as in wider Spain.

2019 saw Katie make the move to Zurich, Switzerland where she continues to paint and presents her work in an exciting art market.

She is inspired by a variety of sources, chiefly the skill of drawing and painting in a detailed and exhaustive manner. Discovering all possibilities is an important aspect of her method; working closely with subject matter ensuring all qualities are captured and then translated onto paper or fabric.

Here we chat with Katie about her journey.

1. How did you get into the art world?

I always have leaned towards creativity from a young age, whether it was art or dance it was always a part of my life. I was brought up on a small island on the west coast of Scotland, the Isle of Bute. The island is incredibly picturesque and has a lot of nature so in many ways this has influenced my artwork.  After high school I attended university studying Textile Design specialising in Printed Textiles, whilst I was passionate about my discipline I always leaned towards a painterly style. 

2. How would you describe your art/signature handwriting?

I would like to describe my art style as colourful and playful with a realistic essence yet explorative style. I enjoy playing with colour using this to add light and create texture or depth to capture a feeling or movement.

3. How important is colour in your art?

Colour is hugely important to my work as I really try to see beyond the obvious initial colour which is seen in any subject matter/topic I am working with.  I use colour to interpret the various layers which form the painting.  I’m not afraid to use really bright or rich colours combined with a technique of lifting out the watercolour from the paper which helps with light and transparency.

4. Where do you find inspiration?

I am inspired a lot by nature and the organic world. Capturing the colour, movement and light is important to me in my painting. I enjoy testing myself and my creative boundaries too, trying new topics and subject matter really helps to try something fresh and change direction I find inspiration in my travels and day to day life in Switzerland.  Of course, I am also inspired by many of the greats, paying particular attention to Alphonse Mucha, Georgia O`Keefe and Klimt.

5. Where can people buy your art? 

My main work is via commission working closely with customers to capture their vision on paper in addition to this I have regular work available on my online shop at katiebute.com 

I exhibit with galleries around the West Coast of Scotland, Madrid in Spain and Italy.  I also work as a creative for Upper Deck, USA.

View Katie’s portfolio work here.

Shop Katie’s art here.

Follow Katie on Instagram: @katiebute_art

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