Katie Chen

Enamored with vivid, glossy colors, an eye for composition, and a grandfather who made a living as an oil painter/sculptor, the easiest path would have been to follow in his footsteps and become an oil painter myself.  I have always had easy access to the vast amount of knowledge that he has, and he would have welcomed the opportunity to pass on his technique.  However, by watching him through the years, I gained a clear perspective of the negative attributes of the medium as well as the incredible positive ones.  Harsh solvents, toxic elements in the paint, and a need to a use large amount of new resources to build perfect canvasses, propelled me away from the family medium.  Like many others in my generation, I had a drive to become more environmentally conscious and responsible in all of my life-decisions, especially my artistic ones.  I have since made it my mission to use recycled and reclaimed materials in all of my works of art, full knowing and embracing the fact that it would be challenging and frustrating at times to also retain the qualities that define “fine art.”   After much trail and error, I finally created a technique that satisfied all of the requirements.  Using bits of color and texture taken from the pages of magazines and adhering them to recycled wood panels, I was able to replicate the elements of oil paintings that I loved so much.  A review written by the Mountain Xpress in Asheville, NC, acknowledged this component in my pieces, “…Chen creates organic patches of color that push against each other and at times submit to a fluid-like blend…abstract works that, at first glance, resemble paintings.”   The adhesives that I use are nontoxic, and provide UV protection so that the colors in the magazine clippings do not fade over time.  My final coat, Safecoat, is a product specially formulated to provide a varnish alternative that is safe for both the consumer and the environment.  chen

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