Which version of yourself is the "real" you? How do you deal with the external and internal pressure to be different, appropriate versions of yourself? Armed with paint and a mirror, artist and knitwear designer Katty Huertas tangibly wrestles with these questions. Her arresting and vivid Self Portrait Series tells not only the story of her own identity - but yours too.
How did your series come to be? What's it about?
The self-portrait series started as a painting exercise that turned into much more. I had previously been working with narratives and imaginary characters, but I realized that by referencing my specific experiences the work might resonate more with others. When I decided to paint my own image, everything changed and became deeply personal.
Each self-portrait has its own unique characteristic, yet they all share the same themes - identity, obsession and double standards. By painting myself in these different actions, I'm referencing the multiplicity of self, which I know is a universal feeling.
"I'm referencing the multiplicity of self, which I know is a universal feeling."
How do you balance knitting with painting?
Knitting for me is a more relaxing and mechanical action, while painting demands my entire mind and body. With knitwear, once the design and pattern are done, it becomes an exercise of repetition that can be soothing. It allows me to create while freeing my mind.
I work on the design aspect primarily in the beginning of the year, and the more labor-intensive part I reserve for fall and winter. During those months I probably knit 12 hours a day and don't have time for much else.
What is the creative scene like in Miami?
Miami is a very colorful city so the majority of art is very colorful as well. There's also a lot of cultural diversity which definitely influences the work. The Wynwood Walls are an artistic landmark - you can see great street art there.
Describe something that you thought was a total career fail but you learned a lot from/ended up being an opportunity.
When I moved, I dropped out of college and for a while. I wasn't sure if this decision was the best for my career, but the time I spent making work for myself and not as an assignment allowed me to discover what I was really interested in. When I eventually started studying again, I had clearer vision of what my goals were and the work I produced was better.
"The time I spent making work for myself...allowed me to discover what I was really interested in."
Describe the feeling you get when you know a piece is done.
I know that for a lot of people painting is relaxing, but when I'm painting I get a little anxious. I want things to go exactly as planned, so I don't leave much to chance. By the time I'm finished, I feel completely satisfied in finishing what was consuming me. This series is composed by twelve pieces and I basically couldn't rest until they were all done!
How does it feel to see your work on S6 products?
I love seeing my work on different products and knowing that people have them at home. A lot of my pieces are done digitally, so I never get to see them on paper. Society6 is a great way to bring them into the tangible world! It's also nice to know that I don't have to print or ship anything - it allows me to focus more on creating.