Be Wild And Free with Katie Vernon
Adventure sounds like an amazing plan for many but only a few took the courage to explore. Living in the mountains, Katie Vernon is a voyager who is open to possibilities and random encounters. In this interview, you’re gonna sneak into Katie’s nerve-wracking experience with a bear and her life on a bus. Enjoy~
AWW: Many people love living in a metropolis but you yearn for the mountains, why do you prefer nature than the city?
Katie Vernon: The slower pace and fresh air allow me to feel more grounded. I love visiting cities and appreciate the sensory overload for a bit, but when I get back to our quiet home with its dark night skies, I feel much more at peace.
AWW: Living amidst the mountains, what is the most hilarious thing you’ve encountered?
Katie: Unfortunately, I do not have any hilarious mountain stories (yet). Most of my stories are from backpacking trips and are a bit more nerve-wracking. I’ve been in the middle of a bison stampede and have had a bear sniff at my feet while I was asleep.
AWW: It’s sooo adventurous and adorable that you had been living on a bus!! Could you tell us more about those experiences? What happened to the old school bus at last, was it sold for a good price?
Katie: My husband and I got married right out of college and we weren’t ready to settle down in any particular place yet. So we bought an old short school bus to travel and live in for a bit. Since this was pre-instagram, we didn’t really care how it looked- we just tore out the seats, bolted a futon down, and set off on the road. We went all around the western US, stopping for some backpacking trips here and there. It was a great way to start our lives together. We ended up selling it on Ebay to a tiny circus based out of Texas.
AWW: As I know, you have worked in various industries like being a florist, wine pourer and bookbinder. How did you come to the decision of being a full-time illustrator?
Katie: I had been illustrating here and there for many years, but after a few larger gigs and wanting to start a family, the idea of working from home and for myself became much more appealing.
AWW: Do you prefer being a slasher with various jobs or dedicate your life to illustration?
Katie: Right now I definitely prefer focusing solely on art. But within that I’m balancing client illustration jobs, an etsy shop, painting, and personal projects; so at times it feels like I still have multiple jobs.
AWW: Your work very much reminds us to reflect upon ourselves and be creative, thank you for the positivity brought! How do you keep yourself motivated and energised for these illustrations?
Katie: I think recognising that some days you just have to sit down and put the hours in, and some days the best thing to do for my art is to go on a bike ride or go thrifting has helped a lot. Motivation and creativity are always undulating and it’s about being willing to stick with it through the ups and downs.
AWW: We’ve seen you include your daughter in the process of creation sometimes, is she one of your sources of inspiration? How do you balance your role as full-time illustrator and full-time mother?
Katie: Watching my 8 year old daughter try new things and develop cool skills (she’s currently learning the drums by playing along with Metallica) is totally inspiring. It’s not easy to balance it all, but thankfully I have a lot of help from my husband and we have a great network of friends in our neighborhood.
AWW: Your work incorporates a lot of animal and nature-themed elements, what message do you want to convey?
Katie: When it comes to my art, I’m always most pleased when a piece makes someone smile.
AWW: Last but not least, what would be your ultimate goal or dream project?
Katie: I would love to start writing and illustrating children’s books. It’s one area of illustration that I haven’t worked in yet. And as long as we're dreaming- I’ll take a huge ad campaign, an airport mural, and a line of area rugs. :)
To find out more about Katie Vernon please visit the artist's IG account | @katievernonart
All images provided by Katie Vernon.