Staying creative with Katya Rogers
Our latest artist collaboration is with artist, illustrator and rug maker Katya Rogers. We were first introduced to Katya after she joined us for a design internship during the AW19 season. We admired her free flowing approach to work and the 'Mr Ink' capsule was created from a collection of her automatic drawing experiments.
Themes in Katya’s work often balance feelings of freedom and isolation, where sculptures of trees and plants loom over strange human-like figures living in dreamscapes of worn pastel.
As expressed below, Katya combines several mediums in her practice, including watercolour, ink, collage, digital rendering and rug making - all of which complement the sense of nostalgia and longing in her subjects.
How have your creative tendencies developed over the years?
There wasn’t really a standout moment that I realised that image making was what I wanted to do, it sort of naturally developed. I found art at secondary school quite restrictive and traditional, it didn’t really work for someone like me who draws a lot from imagination. I was more passionate about textiles growing up, I used to make teddy bears and more craft sort of stuff. Doing a foundation course was the best decision I made because it gave me time to figure out what I wanted to do and unlearn that rigid way of working. I think it was only then that I really figured out that illustration was the right path for me.
Which artists have been the most influential to your work and why?
There are so many to choose from! David Hockney is a huge inspiration to me, I especially love his etchings and his stage sets. He has an interesting way of portraying space and how people inhabit those space and it is something that I am exploring in my own work currently. In his paintings of interiors, I love how the chairs almost become human and have their own personalities and character.
Roger Dean’s artwork is also very influential to me. When I was 15 I stumbled across a huge original Roger Dean painting in an antique furniture village and that moment has always stuck with me because it looked so out of place there. He paints surreal landscapes often made up of strange floating landforms and organic arch shapes which I am very into.
Your work seems very process-based and blends different techniques, can you elaborate?
Most of my work is about play; if I’m not enjoying the process of making I won’t create work that I’m happy with. Experimenting with new materials and techniques is often a way I use to get a project going. My artwork almost always starts out as a scratchy line drawing in my sketchbook. I never do my linework digitally as I feel something is lost in that, my lines no longer have personality and character if I draw directly into photoshop. There will almost always be an element of the hand-made in my work.
The ink print technique that I used for the Left Behind collection was something I developed last year when I was researching into ‘Automatic Drawing’, a surrealist technique where you draw without thinking, with the idea that you are tapping into your subconscious. It's a very fast and unpredictable way of working, I quite like that, not being completely in control and having the materials fight back a bit.
What can you say about the importance of the sketchbook?
My sketchbook is key to my process. I draw a lot from my imagination but I am also very forgetful so whenever an image pops into my head I draw it and then forget about it. Then when I next look back through my sketchbook it feels like I’m rediscovering things. I tend to buy cheap sketchbooks with low-quality paper as I like the effect of the ink spreading and bleeding on the page and there’s less pressure with drawing something super well. The best part about the process is experimenting and finding out what you enjoy working with and just discovering your own way of doing things. Sometimes the doodles you do on the side of the page whilst on the phone can be a really exciting part of your work so don’t overlook the stuff you might think is ‘less serious’.
"The best part about the process is experimenting and finding out what you enjoy working with and just discovering your own way of doing things. Sometimes the doodles you do on the side of the page whilst on the phone can be a really exciting part of your work so don’t overlook the stuff you might think is less serious."
What would you consider is your ‘field’, or title, as an artist? What are the best/worst parts about your title, or about the industry in general?
I am still figuring out what I would call myself but I do think a lot of my work would be classed as illustration. At the moment image-maker and occasional rug maker seems to suit me. One thing that I love about the illustration field is the connections you can have with other practitioners. There's a real sense of community and people looking out for one another. I think the illustration industry is very complicated; it can be so rewarding, you’re doing something you love and its really exciting to see your work out in the real world but it can also be a very difficult industry to survive in with work sometimes being undervalued and underpaid.
What advice would you give for an upcoming creative in your field?
Even if you’re not confident in your work, still put yourself out there, pretend to be confident. If you see an opportunity you’re interested in just go for it. You might be surprised by the results.
Also don’t compare your work to others on social media, it can be really damaging to your mental health and a lot of the time the people who you are comparing yourself to are older or have been a practising creative for a lot longer than you.
Any film/series that influenced you at all?
I really love the film Tron (1982), I think its something to do with the combination of the visuals being a bit dated with the early CGI and the costumes being slightly ridiculous. It's got a very unique retro style, it's definitely boosted my interest in cyberspace and alternate dimensions.
I also watch a lot of cartoons, I love Bravest Warriors and Regular Show especially. My laptop background is actually of the ‘Holo John’, the virtual reality toilet in Bravest Warriors. Watching cartoons definitely helped me realise that art doesn’t always have to be serious.
Finally, any artists you wanna tell us about?
I’m constantly inspired by the people that I shared a studio with at uni so I’d recommend checking out the @camberwellillustrators Instagram page, there is so much diverse great work on there.
Also an artist I have recently discovered is Sophie Podolski. She created so much amazing work in her short life and her drawings have so much raw emotion in.