LEADING LADIES INTERVIEW: Kathryn Macnaughton, Artist
Interview By: Liron Davis
Photos By: Arden Wray
At Fortnight, we gain inspiration from the artists, designers and creative thinkers that make up our city. Sometimes we even get to work with them. Recently, we had the privilege to collaborate with Toronto-based artist Kathryn Macnaughton for our Spring And Summer 2017 collection. Kathryn designed a custom nude doodle print featured in our Willow group, as well as conceptualizing and creating the set for our SS17 editorial campaign. Perfectly matched for Fortnight, her work is both feminine and assertive, celebrating the female form with a sense of ease and fluidity. As longtime fans, we decided to interview Kathryn to find out what makes our creative collaborator tick.
FORTNIGHT: Who are you and what do you do?
KATHRYN: My name is Kathryn Macnaughton and I’m a painter.
FORTNIGHT: Can you tell us about your journey in becoming an artist?
KATHRYN: I went to Ontario College of Art and Design and graduated from the Illustration department. I was doing commercial illustration for eight years and on the side I painted. I’ve always loved painting but didn’t think I could do it full-time. I had a couple of shows at my friend’s gallery, Huntclub, which lead to commissions and collaborations. Last June, I was approached by Bau-Xi Gallery for representation so now I’m a full-time painter.
FORTNIGHT: Where do you draw inspiration from when creating new pieces?
KATHRYN: My colour palettes are usually inspired by my environment — the colour palette of what I see on the streets. I also draw inspiration from architecture and interior design usually from the 60’s and 70’s.
FORTNIGHT: What gets you motivated to keep moving forward and creating?
KATHRYN: Painting is my drug. I’m addicted to it. I get such high when I’m in the studio. I also need to pay rent, so there’s that added incentive.
FORTNIGHT: What does a typical “work” day look like for you?
KATHRYN: I get up at 8:30 a.m. and walk to my studio. I make my coffee and usually write a few emails before I start painting. Then I paint until about 6 p.m. It’s non-stop. No breaks. Go to yoga in the evening, come home, make dinner and then maybe watch something (usually a documentary). I’m pretty simple and I love routine.
FORTNIGHT: Do you feel pressure about having to be “creative”?
KATHRYN: Nope! But I do feel the pressure of creating work that’s sellable. Sometimes it can get in your head and you start to second-guess yourself.
FORTNIGHT: Which artists do you admire? And what is it that draws you to them?
KATHRYN: This is such a hard question. There are so many. At the moment I’m really loving Keltie Ferris’ new work. I think it’s her use of colour. I also love the way she creates layers. The work almost feels digital. It has a pixelated look. It’s so complex yet it feels simple and balanced.
FORTNIGHT: What is a really good piece of advice you’ve been given?
KATHRYN: To not overthink, as there’s always another painting to paint. Fail as much as possible and to not be afraid of showing the work.
FORTNIGHT: How do you unwind?
KATHRYN: Yoga, red wine or watching a documentary.
FORTNIGHT: What’s on the horizon for you?
KATHRYN: Painting! I’m about to start a mural at a restaurant and I have my first solo show at Bau-Xi Gallery in June.