Artist Spotlight: Katie Rafferty

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Katie Rafferty’s love for art isn’t something that materialized out of nowhere. Since she was a little girl, she’s always loved activities that involved her hands. Whether that be sewing, candle making, or crafts, Katie has had a passion that only continued to grow as she got older. She even initially wanted to major in Art in college but ultimately decided to pursue a different route. This route took her to France where her love for art grew even more as she learned more about art history.

Immersed in the culture, Katie had a unique opportunity that many artists dream for. Growing up in Lake Charles, life there was significantly different than it was in France. She truly feels that France has left such a significant aesthetic impression on her life. It made her realize that there really is another world out there filled with diverse art, people, and places that showed her that no one way of doing things is the right way by default. Katie is also really appreciative of how great the professors were as well as the museum scene. 

Once she got back to the States, Katie got married and had three kids. After her youngest was born, she decided to go back to art school. After all those years, her love for art never left her. The passion only grew as a matter of fact. She spent the next five years learning as much as she could. Of course, she wasn’t able to learn everything possible, but it was still enough to get her a spot in Cole Pratt Gallery in 1996 where she continues to work and display her art to this day. 

In New Orleans, the art scene is vast according to Katie. To her knowledge, there is such a diverse group of artists and styles that represent this area. In her gallery alone, there is a collection of 43 artists and 43 distinct styles! There are so many more galleries in New Orleans, so it is safe to say that the art scene in New Orleans looks to be on a positive trend. 

Katie has just recently gotten back after taking a year-long sabbatical which she used to further hone her skills and learn more about something that she enjoys. She has recently studied with the New York Botanical gardens and looks to improve her skills in illustration that she felt were lacking. Going back to school and studying at the New York Botanical Gardens was a very different experience for Katie. She shares that she learned a lot and is hoping to incorporate this into her work at the gallery. Her work before was mainly abstract, and she is hoping to introduce drawing into it. 

Going back to school was a great experience for Katie. These were some of the hardest classes that she has ever taken, but she doesn’t regret them at all. She learned a lot, and it has helped her not only become a better artist but a more rounded and experienced person. To this day, Katie is mastering new techniques and learning more things. See, as people age, their willingness to learn new things and take on new challenges goes away. They want to remain comfortable as change is oftentimes not pleasing to someone who has already passed what most would consider “the prime” of their lives. 

To this, Katie says, “never stop learning.” When she enrolled in those classes, she was hesitant. It was a three-year program that was going to take a lot of commitment, and she wasn’t getting any younger. What she found, though, was that she was one of the youngest ones in that class. The teacher was even someone who picked this up later in their life. With all that she learned about art, the most important lesson Katie learned is that there isn’t a point in life where you need to slow down. There is no age limit for following your dreams.

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