Katelyn Liepins’s work is mesmerizing. Her work is linear, angular and based on geometric drawings. She uses tape to define, highlight and transform space into something new. The installation pieces force you to look and follow the path. The simple black and now colorful pieces are addictive and powerful. I like them a lot.
Your work is based on lines and how they interact. How did you begin with this subject?
It’s a funny story. After graduating from Steinert High School, I went to Mercer County College, and then to The College of New Jersey to study art education. Most of my credits from MCCC transferred to TCNJ, but I had to take one more drawing class to finish my requirements. In this advanced drawing class, my professor, Mauro Zamora, explained that we were able to challenge what the definition of a drawing was for all of his assignments. We could submit paintings, sculptures, installations, etc. as long as we proved to him that these projects were in fact drawings in some way. So I made it my goal to not submit a typical pencil/charcoal drawing the whole semester. I explored wire, string, and eventually stumbled on tape mid-semester and it’s stuck ever since (pun intended).
What is your process?
A lot of my work is done on site at a gallery or office/home location, so I will make a site visit to get the creative juices flowing. The lines I create are inspired by the architecture of that space. Is there an architectural element that I can highlight with my lines to get the viewer to notice?
Inspiration for my line work comes from: barcodes, lines on the street, birds-eye view of cities, and optical illusions. I plan my ideas out with marker on paper to be able to transfer when it’s time to install.
Some of my work is based on a grid, while others are free flowing and don’t need many measurements. On install day, I will measure out the grid with pencil and then begin to plan my designs on the wall to match my sketch.
Who were you influenced by artistically?
Some of my inspirations include: Sol LeWitt, Frank Stella, Fred Sandback, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Troy Simmons, Jim Lambie and Emma Coulter.
How long will you work on a piece until you are happy?
If it’s a piece made on site, I may only have a limited amount of time before the show opens or the event begins, so there is a small window for me to get it right and be happy with it. If I’m working in my studio, it might take me a couple months to get it right before I’m satisfied with the result.
What media do you use, and why?
Masking tape is my go-to. It comes in a variety of colors. I love the fact that I can peel it off and reuse it or change the angle of the line without much effort.
How do you decide color or black and white for a piece?
I worked in black and white exclusively for about a year and then decided to introduce color in small bursts. Right now, I think the color is here to stay. I’m getting a lot of attention on my color combinations juxtaposed with the optical illusion patterns. People seem to love the vibrancy it has.
What fight/struggle do you have regarding your art?
For me the hardest thing is finding clients to support my large scale designs. It’s a huge commitment to have me come and create a mural, usually measuring over 5 feet, in your home or office.
I am an art educator at Saint Ann School in Lawrence for Preschool to 8th grade. I am also a part-time museum educator at Grounds for Sculpture and teach classes for children and adults.
What is on the horizon?
I have a few private commissions lined up for the spring this year. I am now planning out a series of smaller two-dimensional works based on puzzle pieces and I can’t wait to see how they turn out.
For more information, go online to katelynliepins.com.