Miami-based artist Katherine Norman creates art inspired by the rich landscapes of South Florida. Influenced by some of the greats, from Pollock to Rothko and Joan Mitchell, her work is vibrant, impressionistic, and rich. We spent some time with her talking about her creatively fulfilled life, and where she goes to spark creativity.
Hometown and current location:
I am from and currently reside in Coral Gables, Florida, in Miami-Dade county, home of the University of Miami.
What we need to know about you?
My passion is art and creativity, also nurturing that spirit in others, whether professional artists, or art students. I am an artist and art connector… driven by how things work and new ideas. Most of my vacations are centered around art: the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, and Centre Pompidou in Paris; the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City; and experiencing Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in Amsterdam—on my own, surrounded by art, I never feel alone. Plus I always seem to strike up a conversation with other art enthusiasts.
In addition to creating and showing my own art and site-specific pieces, I have taught more than 10,000 hours on the creative process.
In my current abstract series, I combine techniques of Pollock, Monet and Richter (love the Klimt gold leaf). I focused more on the colors and materials used to create the art and the process to make it. I make my own metallic fluid paint. As I guide the paint across a gessoed board, I am fascinated how the paint interacts with other colors and the surface.
What is your first memory of making art?
I come from a creative family. My great grandmothers on both sides of my family were artists, and I have some of their artwork on canvas. My parents understood that my siblings and I had a need to challenge our imaginations. In our playroom, a space filled with books and toys, I was free to express myself, often taking apart objects and recreating new ones. In that room, filled with possibilities, I was an architect, an inventor, an artist.
What parts of nature inspire you? Specific things? Landscape?
It may sound like a cliché, but sunsets. Walking along the beach on the West Coast of South Florida at sunset after an afternoon rain shower—experiencing the calmness of the water, the reflection of the sky on the water, the reflection of the sky on the clouds—the amazing colors blending together. The Florida Keys, on the water, away from the crowds on a gorgeous calm day. Its crystal clear water, the blending of blues and greens, floating in the water—snorkeling to a reef and watching the tropical fish and coral below. Tropical South Florida Trees, flowers of the silk floss and royal poinciana trees, mangos. Watching birds fly before the sunset.
Where do you get inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere, from people I meet, things I read, see, and hear. It is only when I can quiet my mind that I can define that inspiration. I need time away from distraction. One way I do this is by going to the beach on the West Coast of South Florida by myself for a few weeks. The wonderful thing about some South Florida beaches is that I can walk for miles, and I always bring a camera.
The other way I find inspiration is a blank canvas. That’s where the spontaneous journey begins. I am taken from one destination to another. The unexpected encounters and revelations along the way lead me to unexplored territory. It is a personal and emotional adventure that can never be repeated.
Which artists inspire you the most?
Do you have time for me to write a book ? I have an enormous list of artists I am inspired by.
Rauschenberg, who I had the opportunity to meet a few times when he was alive. I even the stayed at one of his houses on his property on Captiva. I am also fascinated with Rauschenberg’s alma mater, the Black Mountain college—a dream art college that only existed for a fleeting moment of time. It brought together some of the most talented artists and minds.
I love the gestural brushstrokes of Joan Mitchell, the color field of Rothko and Patrick Heron and architectural line structure of Julie Mehretu. I’m in awe of the artistic concepts from Liza Lou, Kara Walker and Jenny Holzer, and I’m struck by Andy Goldsworthy’s collaboration with nature and love—what seems so simple is very complex—and Georges Rousse.
Watch Katherine in action here: