Interview with Katie Kurkjy



Being raised 20 minutes outside of Seattle, WA, Katherine (Katie) Anne Kurkjy grew up in a region that fosters the creative spirit like no where else in the world.  After studying sculpture and painting at the prestigious Cornish College of the Arts, located in Seattle, she built her studio in Seattle, WA, where she currently works today.  

Katie has spent time as a glassblowing assistant for Corey Hubbell, taught drawing and painting to students of all ages at Drawn2Art, and has taken on multiple commissions including mural work, custom sculpture, and paintings for charity auctions.  She continues to create her own unique sculpture that both breathes new life into discarded instruments and challenges the mind's concept of reality. 



Hey Katie, today you will talk with Music On Walls about your artworks that were inspired by music. Can you start by telling MoW why you chose to create artworks inspired by music? 

I created my first piece from a broken guitar while I was attending Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA, for sculpture. When I was younger I was always more interested in going to see live music than going to an art show, and with Seattle's incredible music scene it was easy to quickly become friends with many musicians. I'm not a musician, I'm a sculptor, so this niche I found is my way of participating in both of these worlds that I love.

Would you say there is a specific music that inspired each of your artworks presented today?

No, my work is more inspired by the events of my life and I express myself through their composition, using musical instruments as my chosen medium at the moment. I also take into consideration who gave me the instrument and what its previous life was before it found me.





What’s your favorite piece between the ones presented today?

My favorite piece is almost always my most recent, as it is a culmination of all the learning experiences from my past works. Currently my favorite is Rain City Two (see image on the right).  This is the first stand-alone piece I have made, as in my previous work hung on a wall, this is a freestanding sculpture. I am very excited to keep working on this new concept. It's also my second annual donation to Seattle's Rain City Rock Camp for Girls. They give me their broken instruments throughout the year and in exchange I donate a piece to their annual auction. They are doing great things for young women in the community and I love supporting that.




"I consider my work to be reincarnation, I like taking these objects that once were used to make music and giving them a new life in the form of visual artwork."




Do you have plans on creating new artworks inspired by music/musicians? 

I do plan to continue exploring this style that I have created.  I have many ideas for future works that I am excited to try out and bring to fruition.  I have also unintentionally created a place for musicians to let go of an old instrument that no longer works which respects the object and the love they have for it. This has ended up with me having a large amount of material to work with, so my work is cut out for me for a while. I think I will always create work by repurposing objects that have lived out there intended life, but in the future I may begin to work with non-musical related items.

 Can you tell Mow more about your techniques and how long does it takes you to make an artwork?

I am very fortunate to have my studio in my home, I have built an entire woodshop and I utilize mostly woodworking techniques that I have learned through years of classes at every level from high school, extracurricular, and on through art school.  When I set out to make a new piece I have my own creative process, just like most artists.  Typically, I will set the object I’m about to work with somewhere in my living space and stare at it for a while… sometimes months or years.  When I’m working on a show I will do this simultaneously with multiple instruments.  I really think about what feelings the object invokes, where it came from, what is going on with me at the moment, and how I can play with all of this through composition, color, and form to create an aesthetically intriguing artwork.  This process varies in length for each piece, I meticulously plan each detail of the work before I ever begin working on it, and I encounter problems and solve them before a single cut is made.  Once I actually sit in my studio to get to work, it can take anywhere from a week to a month to complete one work and sometimes I’ll step away and come back years later.  I spend a lot of time waiting for paint and glue to dry so usually I’m working on different steps of multiple pieces at once. I’m always trying new things and not everything always goes as I had planned, so it is a constant learning experience, building on each lesson from one piece to the next.

Why is music important to you, in your life and in your art? 

Music is important to me because it reminds me that generally we are all sharing the human experience.  Often times, the story or lesson or feeling in a particular song is one that is relatable. It brings up emotion and energy in ways that other creative mediums cannot always achieve.  Music is important to my artwork not only in keeping me company through the process, but it literally creates my medium.  Without music, my friends that pursue that dream, and the broken instruments that come along with that, I wouldn’t be here doing this.

Music is source of inspiration while working, what kind of music you would listen to? 

I do listen to music while I work.  I will choose music in my studio while working based on my mood, what I’m working on, and my energy level.  If I need to be pumped up a bit I’ll listen to something like Die Antwoord, or if I’m feeling mellow I’ll listen to Hozier or Dax Riggs, if I’m feeling nostalgic I’ll listen to No Doubt or Sublime, or 90’s rock or hip hop.  I jump around a lot with my genres and am always on the lookout for something new.  I listen to a lot of Seattle bands, and sometimes even the musician that the instrument was donated from while I’m working on it.

What is the song you liked the most lately? 

One song that I'm really digging right now is "Blood in the Cut" by K Flay.

What album? 

My favorite album at the moment is "Velvet Hips" by Duke Evers from Seattle.

What was the last gig you went to? 

I see a lot of live music as most of my friends are musicians, and I go see many of them perform almost weekly.  In the past month or so, I’ve seen Grace Love, Clarkia Cobb, General Mojos, Duke Evers, The Blacktones, 45th Street Brass, The Head and The Heart, James Anaya and the Current, The X-Presidents and more.  All local Seattle bands, and all worth a listen to.

Are you a musician? 

I’m not a musician, I’m definitely a visual artist, although I did play the flute, clarinet, and piano while growing up, I chose visual arts for a reason.  

How would you see yourself as a musician?

If I were a musician, I could see myself being a drummer or possibly a singer, but I don’t think I could perform, I prefer to put my art up on the wall and walk away.