Artist Spotlight: Katie Brightside
Katie Brightside talks about illustrating local icons for La Peer Passport and her perfect West Hollywood day
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. She’s the British artist behind the beautifully illustrated La Peer Passport, a neighborhood guide provided to guests of the Kimpton La Peer Hotel at check-in. I reached out to Katie 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 West Hollywood day with you below).
Nick Rimedio, La Peer’s dapper general manager, had a very distinct vision when it came to the Passport—a pocket map for hotel guests listing area attractions—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 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 illustrations you made for La Peer Passport. 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 fulltime. 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 (editor’s note: Alfred in the Alley is now ALFRED2GO, 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 five 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.