Katie Shapiro is an artist currently living and working in Los Angeles. She graduated from the California Institute of the Arts in 2007 with a BFA in Photography and Media. She is a founding member of the Los Angeles art collective www.heretotherela.com From Here To There.
Katie Shapiro sat down to discuss her contribution to “I LOVE LA” and her vision of art in the Digital Age.
Which work will you be exhibiting? Why did you select this piece?
The piece that is going to be apart of Edition One Hundred is titled Owen, eyes light. I've known Owen since before he was born and this is one of my favorite images of him.
What is your charity or cause? Why did you select this? Where does community work fit in with your ethos as an artist?
I selected the Humane Society since I am a huge animal lover. I know it has little to do with art, except that my animals keep me going and support me in my endeavors. Not to mention they double as my ever-available subjects. Community fits in with my ethos in a huge way. Artists support one another and help each other out. It is a wonderful thing to be able to turn to your community for help or to be able to help a fellow artist out.
Please talk about the art scene in LA: What is it like as an industry? What is it like as a community?
The art scene seems to be multifaceted here in LA. By that I mean there seem to be many different levels of art, high and low, and different venues that exhibit different kinds. Overall I think we are a strong community and pretty approachable. I see a light-heartedness that exists in LA versus say New York. In terms of where artists connect with the public I suppose at art openings and events are where the convergence occurs.
Please talk about Silverlake, where you live and work. How does this neighborhood influence your work as an artist?
Silverlake is really the ideal place for where I am in my life right now. I live in a guesthouse with my boyfriend, and we have the ability to walk to restaurants, coffee shops and farmers markets, all while surrounded by creative folk who are like-minded to us.
There are a lot of artists on the east side of Los Angeles. There is something about the energy here; it's more bohemian. Sometimes as I'm walking or driving through the Silverlake or Echo Park hills I swear I'm in Italy or France. There is a European feel here that is slightly more laid back and definitely more community oriented than in other places I've found around LA.
I grew up in the Valley and couldn't wait to move out of the strip malls and into a richer cultural community that I found in Silverlake. As an artist it is an inspiring place because of the people who live around here as well as the natural beauty of the area.
Why should people buy art?
I think art enriches our lives, and presents different viewpoints and perspectives on the world. Art can provoke inspiration, and make you feel something you wouldn't feel otherwise, and can draw you in to it, sometimes for reasons you don't know. But that is the beauty of art, that it is often unexplainable, yet enjoyable, and if it can take you out of your head each day, that’s important.
Do you collect art? Who do you collect and why?
I do collect art. I collect the work of my friends and fellow artists. There is a lot of art I would love to own, but can't afford. One day...
What are your thoughts on the traditional role of the gallery in nurturing an artist’s career? How do you think artists will evolve in response to non-traditional (online) sales opportunities?
I believe the gallery system is in place and functions because it works. I think a gallery could probably boost an artist’s sales, and possibly the value as well, depending on the reputation of the particular gallery. The non-traditional online sales that have been popping up, such as Edition One Hundred and Jen Bekman's 20x200, seem to be a great asset to the artists, such as myself, that don't have gallery representation, but do make sales. At this time in history, in response to the economic shift, I think we all have to adjust and be flexible to new opportunities and directions that the art market may turn.
How did you connect with Cat Jimenez? What are your thoughts on Edition One Hundred? Why did you decide to be involved? How do you see this as a platform to reach a broader audience for your work?
I met Cat through the MOPLA group show I was apart of in April of this year. Shortly after it she approached me to be involved with Edition One Hundred. I immediately decided to get involved since I know this is a direction that the art market is heading into. I see it as a way to not only further promote my work and get it into the hands of more people, but as a way to support the idea of affordable art for all. I think it's a wonderful thing to be able to put art on your walls that doesn't take a down payment.
What are your thoughts on Art in the Digital Age?
I remember hearing about this computer game called “Second Life” and that some artists were making work using that platform and curating shows within the game. I laughed at that when I heard about it a few years ago, but now it doesn't seem so far off from what we might come to expect and accept. As artists, we are able to show anybody that has a computer and the Internet our portfolio. I mean it is unbelievable and very useful to an artist who wants to put their work out in the world.