#ABMB2017: Katie Stout @ Nina Johnson
We took a quick moment to ask Brooklyn artist Katie Stout about competing on TV, the current state of this crazy country we live in, and; of course; her AMMO?
AMMO: What’s Your AMMO?
KATIE STOUT: I really liked Darcie Wilder’s book, Literally Show Me a Healthy Person. It’s so unhinged. I like that there’s seemingly no filter because there’s so much truth in unexpected juxtapositions. There’s a line in it that says, “I’m late because someone called me fat in middle school.”
A: In a previous interview, you mentioned that your childhood has inspired you to make the type of art you do. Can you expand on that?
KS: Perfect segue! Well, I think my childhood was traumatic, as childhood inherently is (unless you’re one of the lucky unicorns who wasn’t traumatized, then **bless you** and also, you’re kind of lying). My mom died when I was 20 and I’ve channeled a lot of the grief and pain from that and the domestic environment I grew up in into absurd and abject objects. I think the things we use and surround ourselves with can help people make light out of uncomfortable situations. I’ve learned to embrace imperfection accidentally and a degree of dysfunction and I hope my work can help other people do the same.
A: How has competing on a nationally televised show affected your art and creative process; if at all?
KS: Well, it sort of just added to [the] absurd attitude of my work. It didn’t really launch my career but certainly added to the weird narrative of it. But also, 100,000 bought me time at a critical point. I feel very lucky.
A: You made Forbes 30 Under 30, how did that feel?
KS: I remember lying in bed in early January and thinking, wow, this year will get better! I was thrilled and a little surprised, as I tend to self-deprecate. It was amazing to be on it, but seemed like a little gift from the universe that my best friend who also makes furniture; Misha Kahn; was also on it.
A: With the country kind of a mess, how would you like your contribution as an artist to affect change?
KS: I want women to be taken seriously without having to wear shoulder pads. I want everyone to be considered without having to comply to social norms or needing a United States birth certificate. I think a lot of artists are taking a page from Dada right now and fighting absurdism with absurdism.
A: Do you have a favorite work you’ve created? One that you are most proud of?
KS: My favorite piece is the “And the other is gold”. She’s an almost life size ceramic shady lady lamp. I love her. I’m proud of her because she’s proud of herself. Sorry… I make these lamps that look like women and give them all personalities.
A: During Basel are there any artists or events you’re looking forward to seeing?
KS: I loved seeing Cardi B!
A: Most of your design work is more visually pleasing than functional. If you could collaboration with any major furniture brand which would it be?
KS: SUCH A GOOD QUESTION! I think flatpack furniture with Ikea could get super weird. I’m imagining hilarious instructions. Custom tools and hardware. Combining this totally irrational design with a completely rational approach to furniture.