If you’ve been searching for a feel-good blog filled with colorful inspiration guaranteed to cause the occasional chuckle, then you’re in for a treat! Meet your new favorite blogger, Katie Sokoler of Color Me Katie.
As a young street artist, photographer, owner of possibly the world’s most photogenic cat, Sokoler is a petite girl with a huge imagination! On a recent trip to New York City, we were lucky enough to drop by her apartment and talk one-on-one about herself, her artwork, and her future plans as an artist. In addition to interviewing the lovely Miss Sokoler, we’ve launched a namesake Color Me Katie Flat!
How did you get started with paper art as your medium of choice?
My old apartment was really small, dark, and cramped. So, with no money, I imagined the white walls as a canvas, and started by covering a whole wall with paper. After crafting indoors, I thought it would be so fun if what I did was outdoors, so other people could see it and enjoy it other than me, my cat, and [my boyfriend] Matty!
Plus, most graffiti art is permanent, which I just feel is sort of rude, you know? You’re writing on someone’s property, and I don’t want to do that. I respect people’s places. So when I do something with paper, it’s temporary. It’ll stay up, and then you can take it down.
Do you have a background in art?
I went to FIT for photography. We learned mostly fashion photography, and that’s when I learned that I didn’t want to do fashion photography! I don’t want to work with models. You’re always posing them, they always have to be beautiful, and life isn’t like that. I wanted to photograph normal people, people you can relate to. I didn’t want everything to be so staged.
When I do street art with paper, it’s sort of staged in the sense that I can sort of create the scene, but I don’t know what the people will be like. It’s fun and exciting, and it always comes out better than expected, like, “Ah, that person was so perfect!”
What do your readers like the best?
It’s normally my street art stuff that gets the most comments. That stuff is the most viral. People have no idea of the trap that I’m setting up, so when the final product comes out, they’re like, “Cool!” So, it gets passed around over and over, and that brings around all this traffic. That’s how my site sort of grew in the first place, from my thought bubble street art.
What inspires your work?
The biggest thing is just life and how hard it can be at times. For instance, take the disaster in Haiti— it’s those things that inspire me to do something good, and colorful, and try to spread it around the community, because sometimes you just need it.
Does it ever feel like a chore to be so creative? Do you ever have those “I just want to bum around and watch TV” days?
Of course! Since my blog is just pieces of my life, people think that I’m just throwing out rainbows every day! I bum around, I watch TV. I get lots of e-mails every day, saying “You must always be having fun,” and it’s sort of weird, because it’s like, no, I’m normal too. I get down from time to time, and when I do, it just inspires me to make something that will make me feel better!
Are you working on any other projects?
Oh yeah, I get lots of private requests, like street art, portraits, people who want to buy prints. I also work for Gothamist, a NYC Events and News website, so I go out and shoot their events, and I also work as the photographer for Improv Everywhere (pictured above performing “Grocery Store Musical”).
The following questions were submitted by our awesome group of Twitter followers:
How did you come to own Moo?
We got him at a kill shelter in Harlem for my birthday, because I wanted a cat so badly. When we went, I didn’t even know if I was allergic to cats. So to find out quick, I took Moo like a towel and rubbed him all over my face, and arms and was like, “Okay, I’m still fine, I’ll take him!”
How do you capture Moo doing all of his quirky moves? I have a cat who seems to be afraid of the flash.
Moo is a ham! I think all he wants to do is be photographed. A lot of the time, Moo is in the picture with me, and I don’t even put him there! The other day I was trying to take a picture of papers, he saw the camera, sat on the papers, and looked up!
Do you know what breed Moo is?
One person said he was a Maine Coon, and someone else said he was a Turkish Angora. He’s not a typical shelter cat.
How did you do that magic wand photo?
That was like 20 pictures in one. These are my favorite kind to do because they’re so messy. I just throw stuff in the air, I take pictures, and then composite them all together in Photoshop.
What kind of music do you listen to when you’re creating?
It’s sort of always different depending on my mood. I like things I can sing to, like badly sing to. Earlier today, I had Frank Sinatra on. I like jazz, and French music and soundtracks, like Amélie and Little Miss Sunshine.
I’d like to extend a big thank you to Katie for being so open and generous. We can’t wait to see what amazing things she dreams up for the future! Oh, and above is Katie’s namesake Color Me Katie Flat! As colorful as the street artist herself, these bright, rainbow-hued shoes will have you spreading cheer wherever you go!