ARTIST Katie Brickman started out as Kate and Andy Spade’s personal assistant in New York City when their company was in its infancy, then spent many years working on creative projects for them on a freelance basis. She created films, worked on books, and wrote stories for ad campaigns, and spent time in design and retail development. Prior to her life in NYC, she attended Cranbrook Kingswood, the boarding school in Michigan designed by Eliel Saarinen. Brickman also spent a great deal of time at her parents’ home at the Dorothy Draper designed Greenbrier in West Virginia. Living among the products of creative giants Saarinen and Draper sparked her obsession with design—clean lines, bright colors, and bold shapes, in particular. After raising two children in Lake Forest, she began creating art in her bright yellow dining room. Her work is now available through interior designer, Alessandra Branca.
I have always had a fondness for things that are beautiful in a really uncomplicated, undecorated way. Everyday objects that are a little imperfect, a little childlike, maybe a little tomboyish and naïve—a deck of cards, street signs, children’s silhouettes, matchsticks, colorful wooden blocks, patchwork sweaters, rugby stripes, little vintage book illustrations, and spools of brightly colored thread.
I paint bold shapes in bright colors on whitewashed wood boards, opting for wood over canvas because of its hardiness and the beautiful grain lines that peek through the paint. I love the imperfections and the knots and the way it ages.
Giant grids with colorful circles make formal living rooms more comfortable—and a little more fun. I like seeing my work combined with more precious pieces of furniture and objects. I am hopeful that my use of everyday materials like plywood, book pages, and hammer and nails results in an unpretentious, humble, and refreshing body of work.