Originally from the Washington DC area, Kate Durkin has always, in some form or another, incorporated art into her life. From painting to writing graffiti to making handbags and t-shirts to painting jeans, she has not been able to shake her need to create.
After completing her B.A. in 2003 at the New School in Manhattan, Kate headed to Florence, Italy for two years. The first year she spent completing an intense post-baccalaureate program in painting and printmaking, and the second working and living as a foreigner in Italian culture. Finding a place for urban, contemporary art in the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance was in part what lead Kate to explore a balance of dichotomies in her work.
After two years of creating art indoors and out, studying, bartending and waiting tables in Florence, she packed her bags for San Francisco, where she currently lives and works.
Kate’s work brings together a number of conflicting elements, integrating graffiti and stitching, silkscreen and collage, together into a chaos that she tries to make sense of. Because she is constantly searching for new ways to set up a composition and to play with traditional notions of painting, an installation at Hotel Des Arts was the perfect chance to explore new avenues.
The result is a mix of stitching and flowers with figures in movement and urban scrawling against a background of cool greens.
“I never really know how a piece is going to turn out until it’s practically finished,” says Kate. “The original sketch that I had for the room is almost nothing like how it turned out, which I pretty much expected. I think that any project should inevitably take on a life of its own. It’s way more exciting that way.”
Of her influences? Kate gives props to Barry McGee, Dondi White, Doze Green, Lady Pink and Cycle.