Why NY? Artist Profile: Katie Levinson

Walking through the Chelsea Market concourse has been even sweeter than usual since our group art show, "Why NY?" went up last month.  

As the title suggests, artists from our New York A&F family answered the question, "Why NY?" through various mediums. It's been a pleasure hearing the stories behind the artists and their work and to get a glimpse into a different, more personal side to vendors that shoppers may not always get to witness at the markets. 

We enjoyed this aspect of the show so much, we thought we would ask the artists to share some more about their work and their time in NY.  For the remainder of the show we'll be profiling featured artists who we've had the pleasure of interviewing. 

Katie Levinson

Were you born in NY?

I was born in Seoul, Korea in April 1985. I was adopted and came to New York when I was only three months old. I grew up in Ronkonkoma, NY until I graduated high school and attended college in Loudonville, NY. My mom still lives on Long Island and I recently returned to New York in January.

Has NY inspired your art/creative process? How?

My childhood has always played a pivotal role in my artwork. Since moving back to New York, I have begun to incorporate a lot more elements from my childhood home - tangible materials like my father's stamp collection or branches collected from our old backyard.  

How does your piece answer the question, "Why NY?" / tell us a little more about your piece

The concept of History speaks to my individual history and relationship to New York and to History as a bigger, grander, greater whole. The materials used in each of the four frames addresses both the micro and macro meaning and each in varying stories and scopes.

The geodes represent a personal, sentimental pastime - I loved collecting rocks, minerals, and gemstones as a child; it was something meaningful I did with my parents - they took me to huge gem and mineral shows, and also something solitary I did alone, exploring my backyard, collecting and organizing rocks. The geodes themselves hold their own encapsulation of History - the materialization of time and years.

The branch sections are from a tree in our old backyard in Ronkonkoma, NY. My parents had the house built in 1977, and before I was born used to buy ball-and-burlap Christmas trees - planting them in the backyard after the holidays. (I went and asked the new owners permission to cut a branch off of one and they graciously agreed). The rings visible in the branches' cross-section show its own independent embodiment of time.

The small bricks have been rounded and weathered by the ocean and time. These 'sea bricks' were collected on a beach a few miles from my mom's current house. I also worked for two summers on the same beach. The bricks have their own narrative - where they originated, when and what purpose they served - maybe they were a part of a small house that fell into the sea.

I wish I had more information about the Native American artifacts. My ex-boyfriend's stepfather gave them to me - he found them in a lake somewhere north of Albany, NY. He saw how much I liked them and how interested I was in them. Living in upstate New York was another crucial chapter in my life. Of course, the artifacts hold their own significant history.

Do you have any photos you'd like to share that relate to your piece? 

A photo of our old house being built in 1977 in Ronkonkoma, NY. 

Katie Levinson is a mixed media artist specializing in the small, little and dear. She currently lives and works in New York, New York and occasionally sells her artwork at the Williamsburg Artists & Fleas location.