Q&A: Artist Katie Brightside
Despite its international influence, West Hollywood is actually a small town. It’s such a walkable city and it’s really common to run into friends when going to the gym, having lunch or shopping on Melrose. We also love to connect our friends with people we find interesting. One name kept popping up as someone I needed to meet: Katie Brightside. My friends at the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce suggested I meet the British artist behind the beautifully illustrated La Peer passport project. An influencer gal pal of mine had met Katie during one of her Friday afternoon creative co-working sessions at La Peer and told me I needed to connect with her. So I slid into Katie’s DM’s and we set up a quick meet and greet on a Sunday afternoon to check out the General Public art exhibit on the rooftop of Restoration Hardware.
Katie’s last name is quite appropriate as she greeted me with a warm hug, a big smile and a sparkle in her bright blue eyes. She was wearing eye-catching tights (her own design, available on Etsy thank you very much) and a simple white tank top to soak in the afternoon sun. After our meet up, she was headed to take a class at Unplug Meditation, one of her latest obsessions. (Spoiler Alert! Katie will share her idea of a perfect WeHo day with you below).
Nick Rimedio, La Peer’s dapper General Manager, had a very distinct vision when it came to The Passport for his art-forward, intimate oasis of a boutique hotel. He wanted his guests to have an elegant alternative to the huge ugly map that screams, “Hi! I’m a tourist and I’m a little bit lost!” Enter the chic, pocket sized passport that anyone would be proud to whip out of their designer bag.
He also shared that he really enjoyed the collaborative process of working with Katie and describes her as “warmly sassy.” Andy Cohen introduced her as “sexually liberated Katie” on his Love Connection show, but that’s another story for a different day.
Katie’s artwork offers me a whimsical – and provocative – take on fairy tales. As the Artist-in-Residence at La Peer, she wants to bring aspects of 18th century French salons into the modern day. A place where creators can come together, co-work, collaborate and share a glass of wine before ushering in the weekend. As a Francophile myself, I love everything about this mission.
Pour yourself a glass of wine and come meet artist and salonnierre Katie Brightside.
What is unique about your art and the pieces you create?
I try to inject personality into my work. Either with humor or a using a quote or moralist tale. I try to invoke a feeling for the viewer. Never art for art’s sake.
I love The Passport you created for La Peer. How did that all come together?
I was lucky to be introduced to the GM, Nick Rimedio, in early 2017. Kimpton needed a map designed for the hotel highlighting hot spots within a one-mile radius. It took about 9 months of playful research. The Passport took on many forms before its final montage of illustrations in a pocket size book handed out at guest check in.
When did you first realize you wanted to be an artist?
My grandfather was a graphic designer and taught me at an early age to draw. I was first published on the front cover of an art magazine at age 10. It was an obvious path to a creative career. I went into fashion initially. However I often preferred form over function. After studying for my Masters in Fine Art at Central St Martins, London, I pursued art full time. Fashion and clothing are still are in my life with an extensive wearable clothing range on Etsy.
What piece are you best known for?
The wallpaper in the restrooms at the Farmer’s Daughter Hotel. It’s a story based on female liberation, when a woman becomes the wolf.
When you need your personal art fix, where do you go?
Hauser and Wirth, as well as Luis De Jesus.
If you could paint anything anywhere, where or what would it be?
Swinetown was an epic tale depicted in illustration / poem of my hometown of Swindon, UK. Now with West Hollywood as my home I’d love to write and create something based on this magical earth I stand on. It would showcase on the billboard of Sunset and Crescent Heights right in front of the Chateau Marmont. How do I make this happen? I’m excited…
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?
I was born to pursue the arts. I couldn’t or want to do anything else.
What does a perfect day in West Hollywood day look like for you?
Wake up, walk to Blue Bottle in Robertson Plaza (just at the border of West Hollywood), grab a coffee, walk up Robertson, turn right on Melrose and head to Cycle House to take Nichelle’s spin class. After, pick up a Jalapeno and Cheese Bagel from Alfred in the Alley, walk home and answer emails. Midday take Nicholas Pratley’s “Inspired Breathwork” class at Unplug Meditation. Stop in at Zinque for a Le Bowl with Ratatouille and Egg White Frittata. Work beckons so I’ll pop into The La Peer Hotel and sit in the fabulous lobby lounge designed by Gulla Jónsdóttir and draw for 5 hours until happy hour. Margarita time, meet a friend or two. Head home about 7:30 continue drawing/working into the wee hours. Welcome to the Brightside of life.
What’s coming up next for you?
September 8, 2018 – October 12, 2018: Debut of my performance video artwork Carwash at LA Arts Association.
October 15, 2018: Turret Affair a 550’ x 6’ mural for the 8120 Santa Monica, West Hollywood site. The artwork wraps Crescent Heights, Santa Monica, Havenhurst.
October 2018: I’ve Died a Thousand Deaths, new series of artwork and clothing based on a Cristen Rodgers quote.
November 2018: Atargatis color book, the story of the transforming mermaid.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Katie. For more inside chats with international artists that create in West Hollywood, we invite you to meet Panamanian-born Marisabel Bazan or Chase Erachi from Belgium. If you have someone you would like me to meet, feel free to DM me.