Katie Mulder Creative X Mid-West & Co. Collab
photos by Laura Foote Photography
Katie Mulder, of Katie Mulder Creative, has been painting and doing landscapes and abstracts for just over two years. She started a business as a calligrapher prior to delving into painting. Her days consisted of teaching hand-lettering classes and doing wedding calligraphy before expanding to watercolor florals on stationery. It was a really grinding, frustrating job because while calligraphy took a long time to do, there was a cap on how much she could charge. Her work shifted to home illustrations late one night when she couldn’t sleep and her mind was dreaming up things to paint.
“I was super homesick for our house in Prairie Village, so I painted a whimsical, playful illustration of it. I was frustrated creatively and posted it on Instagram. It blew up overnight! Ironically, Laura Foote, who I know from K State and who took our photos for this collaboration, ordered the very first home illustration and posted it on her Instagram. She had a big following and it felt like overnight I went from being a wedding calligrapher to just doing home illustrations. I’m really drawn to the concept of home.”
The pace of doing the home illustrations was more manageable for Katie and her young family. She had an 18-month old and a newborn and moved back to Kansas City. She felt that the home illustrations resonated with her a lot more than what she had been doing.
When the pandemic hit, Katie’s work slowed down just like everyone else’s. Her kids were a little bit older at this point and they were all home a lot, so a bit of boredom set in. The first time she ventured out into the world masked up was to go to Michaels and buy a large canvas and some acrylic paints, two things she’d never used before.
“It felt like everyone was in an existential crisis and I needed to create and process what was going on. I painted my first landscape and just kept experimenting, but again I had this rhythm of sharing it on Instagram. People like watching me develop my style in real time. I’m not the artist with all this formal training. Art really serves no function other than to be the most genuine reflection of who you are. It puts a piece of you on your wall and that concept was really attractive to me because I connect so deeply with creating home and spaces of rest and wonder.”
Katie’s creative process begins in a somewhat unique way. She always starts with an emotion she’s trying to capture.
“For me, really nailing down the sense that a painting should bring is the first step. I’ve tried to do that recently through poetry. There’s something about playing with the words that surround an emotion or feeling that really connects with my soul. Then I intuitively let what I’m feeling come out on the canvas. I feel like I’m starting to discover my personal artistic voice. It’s slightly abstract and slightly landscape. It’s soft and a little moody, but it’s not dark. It brings calm and is textural because I’m painting on raw canvas. It gives a textiles element, almost like a wall drapery or tapestry.”
For Katie, Janna, and Megan, there was always a level of connection and mutual admiration from a distance. Katie recommended them to a friend for a bathroom remodel. The friend happened to have numerous pieces of her art. Janna and Megan discovered Katie was the artist and the three decided to get to know each other better. They grabbed lunch and dreamed about what it could look like to be in each other’s corners.
Katie has released two thirds of the 35 piece collection, in collaboration with Mid-West & Co. Each piece is created with soft pastels and acrylic wash on raw canvas. This is a unique and unconventional material to use. Because many people are intimidated by picking framing, Katie, Megan, and Janna did a variety of framing applications. Each piece was ready to be displayed! Megan and Janna did all of the sourcing of the vintage frames and provided Katie with photographs of them before she started painting.
“It was such a gift because they have an eye for what looks good in spaces. It was a match made in heaven, especially since our interior design aesthetic is very similar. We all feel very drawn to the same types of spaces. The entire collection took me three weeks to complete, but I only paint an hour a day.”
At the beginning of August, Katie Mulder Creative reached a new level of exposure. A partnership with Magnolia made its debut!
“This fall I am so happy to have a few of my pieces included in the fall collection for Magnolia. This is the first time I’ve had my work available at this scale and it has been an exciting growth step for my studio!”
Katie’s original works, including collaborations with Mid-West & Co., can be found on her website, https://www.katiemuldercreative.com/. Mid-West & Co. can’t wait to launch part 3 of the collaboration with Katie Mulder Creative!
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