Abstract artist Katrina Revenaugh has found a way to merge her deep love of graffiti into atmospheric mixed media masterpieces. Over the years she has perfected a digital collage process that combines photography with traditional painting techniques onto wood, metal, and canvas. Her euphoric work transforms the grit, chaos, and confusion of urban street art into her own language of self-expression.
Whether she visits a well-known graffiti location or happens across something while exploring, her love of weathered urban graffiti is the beginning of every piece of art she produces. Using a collage of layers, elements of decay, bold colors and the freehand of a brush her transfer of pigment and paint evolve into beautiful abstract compositions.
Katrina was born in the midwest outside of Chicago. As an only child, she was always drawing and doing crafts, to entertain herself. She helped her mother with gardening often making art forms from pressed flowers and doing crafts. Her grandfather made miniature furniture pieces out of beer cans. Her Grandmother made sculptures out of rocks and dehydrated bones and was a writer. Her eclectic style of collecting interesting books, clothes, and drawings nurtured Katrina’s creativity.
In high school, most of her friends referred to her as the art girl, she painted backdrops for the school plays and designed yearbook covers. She worked for 18 years in communication sales for the packaging industry. She helped creative directors develop direct mail pieces through design and 3D sketched renderings.
Katrina admits she started her art career later in life. After she and her husband married, his career had them on the move, moving seven times in the first twelve years. It was when they relocated to Venice Beach, California that Katrina fell in love with graffiti. The bohemian skate culture vibe really appealed to her, she admired the textured decaying graffiti, the gestures, patterns, and colors within parts of the painted walls. As she started documenting the graffiti with her camera her interest in becoming an artist grew, in 2008, she attended Otis College of Art & Design.
“It is important as an emerging artist to develop your own voice.” -Katrina Revenaugh
Katrina begins her creative process by researching, visiting, and photographing the elements she loves most at urban graffiti locations. It’s not the entire wall, instead, she dissects the smaller segments and incorporates those into her art. The digital images are then tweaked and converted into line art using Adobe Illustrator. The next step of Katrina’s process was sparked by experimental print artist Bonny Pierce Lhotka using elements from her book Digital Alchemy.
Katrina has perfected her own process over the years through trial and error. Once a digital image is printed onto a film substrate with a pigment-based printer, she uses a hydrostatic solution process to transfer the image by hand onto a substrate such as wood, paper, or metal through burnishing which lifts the pigment off of the film. The work comes together with layers upon layers of pigment, ink, acrylic, oil pastel, and spray paint. The multiple layering requires long dry times so she often has several art pieces working at the same time in her home studio.
She often plans graffiti explorations around her husband’s business trips—first researching online for where the best street art can be found and carving out 8-10 hours of exploration in a day to navigate an unknown city. Her favorite graffiti location was in Melbourne Australia and is the farthest she has traveled. There the graffiti artwork is so celebrated that maps are available to find the wonderful wall art. School kids go on field trips to learn about graffiti art. While shooting there, she met a teacher sharing stories with her students about the graffiti artist who created the work.
Katrina’s explorations are often spontaneous and her photography of graffiti has become an integral part of her art practice. On one occasion while in the Netherlands, she took a taxi over the border of Ossendrecht, Netherlands to Antwerp, Belgium spending the day exploring the city for its urban street art.
Today, Katrina and her husband reside in the Kansas City area and she creates her art from her home studio. Outside of her paintings, she collaborates with local apparel designers and does illustration work. She serves on the board of the Kansas City Artists Coalition, is represented by Weinberger Fine Art in the Crossroads Arts District, and is very active in the art community.
“I believe celebrating, supporting, and becoming a part of the art community with other fellow artists is critical in growing your career.” -Katrina Revenaugh
Katrina says Kansas City has a vibrant, tight knit supportive artist community. Having Hallmark, world-renowned museums like the Kemper and the Nelson- Atkins Museum of Art and the Kansas City Art Institute, it’s a wonderful artist-driven place to live.
“Volunteering and giving back has been a key in my growth as an artist. It has helped me to plug into my community and has opened up many opportunities with my art career.” -Katrina Revenaugh
Recently while America was hyper-focused on the political elements of the 2020 election combined with the tension of COVID-19 Katrina used her time photographing outdoor gardens and green spaces. She combined her personal emotions from the suppression and division of democracy into a new body of work called “Let Democracy Bloom.” Using street art and floral imagery she generated a series that balanced the complexities of division with the beauty of harmony.
Katrina’s work is deeply emotional, complex, and yet elegant. She is drawn to pinks, neon greens, and yellows and loves her work to feel happy and full of color. Using color, patina, and lines in her art compositions, she visually merges the rawness of urban environments. She has found a way to stylistically transform her love of graffiti into her own emotional and expressive art form.
Here is The Creative Push artist interview with Katrina where she shares her technique, her work and offers advice to other artist starting out!
If you would like to see more of Katrina’s work be sure to visit her website!
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