FROM YOUNGSTOWN TO PITTSBURGH
JK: Why did you move to Pittsburgh Specifically?
KG: I was here for two years from 2006-08, and it was at a time in my life where a lot of things happened that really changed who I am as a person. The people I met and just the city itself was really just a special place for me. It made me feel that the things I was going through weren't so bad because I had this community around me. One of the things that happened was that I had lost a family member, and I remember walking around downtown Pittsburgh, listening to one of the songs that they loved, that they would play in their car, and I would just go around Pittsburgh and down by the river and I just felt “this is home” it felt great.
JK: So you had an instant natural connection?
KG: Yes, and a lot of my friends are not from Pittsburgh either, we all just kind of like met up through school, and formed this deep bond that we still have today. When I moved back to Youngstown I would constantly come back and visit Pittsburgh, and I would miss it so much. I used to say “I’m serving a sentence going to school away from Pittsburgh” because I loved my friends and just being able to go out on your own and have a great day. Where I’m from you have to drive everywhere and a lot of people moved away to find jobs and pursue careers. You can’t just call someone up and say hey do you wanna go to this gallery or to lunch or something. You just don’t do that there. So it was just working and going to school. And then just working when I graduated. It was me creating artwork in this vacuum. There wasn't this big community to talk about my artwork.
JK: So you need people around to be able to produce?
KG: Yes, definitely.
JK: So it’s more valuable to your artwork to have people around?
KG: Yeah and to have great conversations and to have people to introduce you to different books and movies, you need that in order to keep growing and creating.
JK: What type of audience would you like your artwork to reach? Is there a specific audience that you target?
KG: I don’t really target, but I hope that people who are facing similar situations that I have faced can look at it and say “ohh i see” like being completely broke, and not knowing where you are going in life, or just feeling down and out, and just knowing someone else has felt that it’s nice. Its a good way to relate because sometimes when you’re in those situations you’re just like “Oh god.. all this debt!” and it just feels so alienating and you feel so alone, but when you’re in the moment you don’t realize there are tons of other people going through this too and that makes it all better.
JK: If you can describe an ideal space for you to display your work to a public audience, what would it be? A place for someone to meaningfully engage with your work?
KG: It would honestly be like an older home environment, maybe not furnished. Like the 516 building at the mattress factory. It's filled with these memories already, and it feels like it's filled with this energy from people who have lived there. A really lived-in environment that does not necessarily reflect any certain person. You just feel so many families have lived here and all the things they've gone through and I’ve always found that really interesting. Just a place with a lot of character. I don’t feel that really sterile environments really lend themselves to my work. It doesn’t fit, it just seems forced. To really experience it, you need to be in a space where you can really hear, or go outside. A public space.
JK: Mostly it's you seeking out shows, or friends and word of mouth?
KG: Oh it’s definitely word of mouth. One of the hardest things to do is figure out who the contact person is for a gallery. If you have a name you can say, I’m so and so’s friend and they said to contact you. For Image Box, for example, I’m having a show there in December, and I contacted Joe Mruk because I know he had a show there before. That’s what’s great about Pittsburgh is that you know that if someone has had a show there you can meet them at their Unblurred and talk to them. Everyone is really open. Everyone wants each other to succeed. // Interview conducted Feb 15
Check out more of Katie's work at www.katelyngould.com