Art seems to run in Katie Rodgers’ veins. Her aunt gifted her with her first professional set of watercolors before the age of seven, and according to Rodgers it was love at first sight. Growing up in Georgia, Rodgers was a country girl and would often escape both outside to the garden, or inside into her own imaginative worlds. After drawing the majority of her young life, she continued her hobby by studying Industrial Design in college.
Now based between New York City and Santa Fe, New Mexico, her work still draws upon her early inspirations. Nature, and more particularly flowers, are a constant theme in her work. But living in New York, her work also draws from New York City runways and fashion magazines, a unique cocktail of flora and fashion.
While she initially worked as an apparel designer, it wasn’t long before her fanciful watercolors caught the attention of high-end designers such as Cartier, Valentino, and Swarovski. Her work has also appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Glamour Magazine, Elle Magazine, and The New York Times. She is often commissioned by designers to illustrate their designs to give them a more natural, flowing look.
“My work has evolved over the years, but the figures within my work are often a bit abstract,” she relayed in an interview with Impakter. “I try to keep them as simple as possible. I believe there’s something interesting where my viewer can look at my work and fill in the details in their own way.”
Inspirations include ballet, music, quiet moments, and mystery. But when in doubt she always returns to her garden. “To be honest, it surprised me how much I started to care about the plants (and the fact that they flourished under my once black thumb), and how much they became a part of my life,” she described once in a post about her love of gardening. “Somewhere in that time, they inspired me to create artwork that felt like this little garden of mine. Something unkempt but peaceful. Something that could bloom and grow.”
And while her personal work is more flowing and stems from within, she admits that working with fashion brands can be trickier. “It’s a challenge I enjoy to create something that speaks my style and vision, but also speaks for the brand’s vision. There’s a fine line between too little creative direction and too much. It can be tricky!”, says Rodgers.