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Daily Inspiration: Meet Katia Meisinger

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katia Meisinger.

Hi Katia, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I never saw myself as an artist, though I was drawing constantly as a child I found myself shying away from art and even calling myself an artist. That all changed when I attended undergrad, I have my mom to thank for that.

She wasn’t your typical parent that pushed their child away from being an art major, instead, she pushed me into becoming an artist and supporting all of my crazy ideas.

Because of her, I got my B.F.A. at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. This is where I found my love of art and sculpture through abstract surrealism, discovering how I used that to cope with my emotions and mental health.

I studied how my vision of the world around me could alter how others also viewed the world with found object sculptures and full-room installations. My senior project revolved around the idea of space and how I used my imagination to deal with the life of growing up with a broken family. The TV was the friend that never left you, the end table held dark secrets in their drawers with greedy hands yanking them closed, and an armchair that was slowly becoming my body as a lone figure within the space.

Currently, I am in my third year at Maryland Institute College of Art for my M.F.A. in Studio Art where I am exploring the use of my body, the space it takes up, and the marks left behind. I paint my body and press it into the wall, cloth, and windows, I perform in the gallery naked, pressing and spreading paint with my body. What is left behind is the action of body and art-making, leaving the viewer to wonder what happened or imply their own impressions.

As well as doing a collaboration with other artists where I do a body cast of their chest and stomach as an expression of ideal beauty. No matter the gender, race, or body type, I aim to investigate how we view these bodies and how society’s idea of beauty doesn’t really exist.

I’ve gone from being an artist that only identified with sculpture as my art-making to being an artist that explores anything I can get my hands on. Currently, that is performative work and my body, a theme that probably has always been laced in my work, but it is now at the front of my art and process.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a rough road, but it definitely had some bumps. There were times when I felt as if I didn’t belong because I didn’t go to some fancy art high school, or even took art classes in high schools, like some of my friends. Then once I left undergrad I felt as if I had peaked and didn’t know where my art would go from there.

Once you leave school you also kind of lose a studio to work in, so I stopped making sculptures for a while, this made me feel like I was betraying myself as an artist, like I was forgetting myself. But the moment I realized I was just growing as an artist that bumpy road became smooth. I mean, I still have times where I second guess myself or my art but that just shows you are evolving as an artist.

I wasn’t sticking myself into one theme or medium. Now, I’m sure I’ll have some more bumps along the way, but those bumps are what help me realize it’s time to change things up or rethink how I’m viewing my own artwork.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
As I’ve mentioned, I used to have a large focus on sculpture but have recently turned to performance art. I will always think of myself as a sculptor because it is where I started, but I still see it come out in my art today. This can be in how I use materials or how I build upon a painting.

Currently, I am working with my naked body to explore ideas of how plus-size bodies are viewed, what true beauty looks like, and how my body takes up space or leaves prints behind. Beyond using my body to leave marks I have also built my form onto a plus-size mannequin that is supposed to represent plus-size women but wasn’t even the average size of a woman in America.

This caused me to explore the statistics of body and studies of beauty that just lead me down a rabbit hole of nonsense because all the research done was very narrow and based on smaller forms of body. My current work is what I am most proud of because I am putting myself out there for all to see. I am exposing a vulnerable part of myself, my body, and making people look at me.

There are times when this feels like a healing moment for my chubby inner child, and then there are times when it feels like I am exposing the art world because it isn’t often you see plus-size artists putting themselves out there like this. Not that they don’t, but it isn’t talked about or taught. It is still a small-bodied-dominated field.

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
I’m constantly researching artists and reading. I wouldn’t say there are books I use but rather themes of research. I am currently reading through many books on feminist artists, body as art throughout history, and art in space.

I recently got into Leonard Nimoy’s “Full Body Project”, reading up on Carolee Schneemann and Janine Antoni. All of these artists use the body in such beautiful and unique ways that have greatly influenced my art.

Mainly Schneemann and Antoni have given me a lot to think about when it comes to performance and how the body can be used to make art and be art.

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