We had the good fortune of connecting with Katie Gianni and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katie, is there something you believe many others might not?
“Do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”. Totally untrue. You’ll work hard. Harder than you’ve ever worked before. There’s stress. There’s fatigue. You’ll cry over stupid mistakes. You’ll lose sleep trying to make deadlines. But you do it for the love of your craft. Sure, I’m an artist and I paint a lot in the studio. I’m also the financial officer, the marketing manager, graphic designer, product photographer, commissions coordinator, and so much more. Running a business is complicated and time consuming, but when you have a passion for what you do, it’s worth it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I create bold, intricate paintings using various types of ink and acrylic mediums on paper. I’m heavily inspired by Aboriginal and Art Nouveau styles; Most of my pieces are embellished with gold leaf and metallic inks, with patterns and designs in white. My subjects include both local and exotic wildlife, abstracts, still-life, botanicals and more. I graduated from Stockton University in New Jersey with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking. My husband and I moved to Florida in 2015, and since I no longer had a studio or printing press to use, I began to paint the same way I designed a wood block or etching. I’m still experimenting with techniques and tools, but I use primarily paintbrushes, paint scrapers, spatulas, needles, pens and eye droppers.
It’s been an interesting journey so far! I started out painting mostly wildlife and quickly got attention for my Blue-Footed Booby pieces. I created about 60 of them so far, with many more on the way. I’ve designed tattoos for clients, painted commissions as small as 4″ x 4″ and as large as 60 x 40, I have my work on display at restaurants, cafes, galleries and homes in many locations around Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, California and many other states, plus four other countries. It’s been pretty amazing.
When I’m not in the studio, I’m working as a full-time Fine Art Framer and Design Consultant for The Gilt Complex in downtown Stuart. I’m also a board member for The Creek District of Arts & Entertainment, so I’m surrounded by art all day, everyday. I honestly couldn’t imagine anything better!
I spent some time working for an interior designer when I first moved to Florida, and while I loved the people and clients, I felt I wasn’t living up to my potential. One day I walked across the street to have some paintings matted at a local frame shop. I became friendly with the owners and we joked about how they were going to “steal me away” from my boss. Six months later, it happened.
There has only been one challenge since balancing two careers: enough time in the day. Some days I’m working non-stop from 7 AM to 5 PM at my day job, then 6 PM to midnight or later in the studio, and it can get stressful. I usually give myself a pep-talk and try to clear my mind. Mental health days are no joke, they are needed, and I try to give myself at least two a month to just sit back and decompress.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have to be honest, I don’t get down to Miami often (about two hours away). But here’s my list for best places/things to do in South Florida (near me)…
1. Wynwood (of course). You can see great art, eat some fabulous food and enjoy the Florida sunshine.
2. The NSU Art Museum of Fort Lauderdale
3. The Norton Museum of Art of West Palm Beach
4. The Elliott Museum on Hutchinson Island/Stuart
5. I’m a big ol’ Disney nerd, so I’m in Orlando often.
6. Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale is one of my favorite places to shop and eat.
7. The Beach. I love how there are so many types of beaches here in South Florida, with various places to investigate and explore.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First, I need to say just how incredibly blessed and lucky I’ve been in my art career these last few years. I would not be where I am today without my super supportive husband, my family and my fellow artists and friends. I have amazing clients and collectors all over the country (and beyond!) who’ve shared my work with others and referred me for commissions and exhibitions. And I cannot forget my work family at The Gilt Complex in downtown Stuart, FL! I’m definitely spoiled working as a fine art framer and design consultant. The owners have done nothing but support my art career and I’m so thankful for the opportunities that have come may way because of them.