I had the pretty remarkable opportunity of meeting my favorite artist in the world when I was twenty-one. I mean…I’m in to Basquiat, and I love Georgia O’keefe, and there are some phenomenal artists in my (small) personal collection, but Katherine Sandoz is my jam! And beyond being an amazing artist, mother, person…she’s the nicest chick around.
I don’t think we’re changing the world with this interview. It’s certainly not something that’s never been done before. But I think your world will be a little brighter, a little funner, a little more creative when you fall down the rabbit hole and wake up in Sandozia. Katherine’s contributions to the local (and international) art scene are countless, her passion for supporting other artists is unmatched, and her spirit is a charasmatic supernova. I’m excited to share some small insight into Katherine’s world and open your eyes to a creative wunderkind. You’ll be happy you got to know Mrs. Sandoz…trust us!
CLUTTER FURNISHINGS AND INTERIORS: As an artist, do you design your home and your workspace around your art, or vice versa?
KATHERINE SANDOZ: I collect local and regional artist works but I rarely, if ever, consider my home in these purchases. I buy what moves me and what I find beautiful. With a select group of artists, I try to purchase one work from each period so that I hold a history of that artist’s endeavors in my collection. I prefer that each object or piece of art tell a story. One assemblage I purchased left $17 in my bank account. I inherited a piece of sculpture from a very unlikely place and person. I lugged a hand-made rug almost my size from an art fair to an airport. Not easy, but totally worth it. I visit studios, galleries, online resources (artist sites, curated art blogs), benefits with art auctions and art fairs. I’ve imagined the collection I’ll host in the future and I’m working slowly toward realizing it.
CF&I: What elements of design are you drawn to?
KS: All of them! I tend to keep my walls and furniture fairly neutral and my textiles low contrast. The art and objects I collect serve to add the color and texture. Pieces of fabric, cast-off embroidery, animal hides, table cloths and most importantly, flowers and brambles from the woods also help change the temperature and feel of a room. I gravitate toward art and objects that are well-crafted, minimal or efficiently designed but that still show the artist’s hand.
CF&I: Do you have a favorite piece of art in your home? A favorite piece of furniture?
KS: If my house caught on fire, I’d grab a couple of items if I had the opportunity. And they’re all pieces of art. And while I’d miss my photos and my shoes, lost art would haunt me. They’re all my favorites and for different reasons. Today, my first choice to pull might be my collection of pottery and greenware by a number of Georgia based artists – though these might even withstand a fire. I’ve also purchased a couple of teak campaign pieces that I appreciate for their versatility and storage but obviously those would go down in the flames.
CF&I: How do you pick art for your home? How often do you change out pieces or do you have favorites that have lifetime residence on your walls?
KS: I move at least a piece or two a month depending on my mood and my need for a shift in perspective. I think a change in color, rhythm and scale can also change one’s perspective. Art certainly helps to alter our experiences and it can do that on a small scale. I have some lace sea stones that travel around our house. I curate a rotating mini-exhibition of sculpture, photography, pottery and painting in my medicine cabinet and that amuses me. I have adjustable hangers on my picture rails and that helps me to make quick changes without putting any holes in the walls.
CF&I: What advice would you give for a novice art collector on how to display art or use it in a space?
KS: Generally speaking, one might consider hanging mid and large scale pieces at 60” on center. That’s the standard in galleries. I’ve seen other “standards” listed anywhere between 57 – 61”. If you have a tall dresser and want a piece above the dresser, almost center it between ceiling and dresser with a bit more weight on the top. If you have a piece of art work that is affected by an opening and closing door, hang the piece with the door placed as it is most displayed. In our house, the kitchen to dining is generally open so I’ve pushed the art further into the interior of the room and away from the door. If you hang work in pod of three to five, consider that one might be high chroma, one neutral, one warm, one cool, etc. Contrast in any of the elements of design means that each piece may be better viewed. Conversely, if you hang five red works (for example), you will clearly have a lot of red in one area. That can be good or it might mean that one piece is lost to another. Your call, but awareness of the elements and principles of design and using them to create the desired experience is the point.
In terms of collecting, I think we all know that art appreciates and sofas don’t. Given that art stays in style, I recommend starting small until you have a feel for your own taste level and for what you find perennially attractive and interesting. Works on paper can be less expensive and are often great examples of artists’ offerings. If, as a model, you collect paintings of flowers in vessels, you might have a Van Gogh and an anonymous yard sale work. That’s great. You have an amazing story for each of those finds. In the end, the collection, in my opinion, should also tell a story; it’s about you, your time and the people, places and things represented in and around the works.
CF&I: Does your home resemble your personality? What about casa de Sandoz screams “KATHERINE”?
KS: I live in an all cypress arts and crafts (screaming arts, crafts?) house, and while our furniture isn’t exactly from that era, it is functional and simple. I’m not afraid to play with the look of the house. I’ll paint a mural on one patch of wall just because. If someone gifts a present with wrapping paper I like, I’ll paste it behind, say, the toaster so I can enjoy it. I change the color of the walls on a whim. I fiber bomb my husband’s deer mounts. I let the children re-arrange furniture. I don’t expect to be “done” with the house; it’s changing daily as we do.
CF&I: When you sell a piece of art, from your beautiful website or otherwise, do you miss it later? Is it like selling a part of you or giving a whole new life to a piece?
KS: I make images and things in order to share. I remember very clearly a few of pieces of art (made by others) from my childhood and I see them as a backdrop for many memories. When I place a painting, I hope the host family bonds well with the work; that it stays with and travels alongside the family and its loved ones for generations.
Please feel free to explore my boutique (to start or augment your collection) or to contact me if you wish to commission a work on panel, canvas, paper, house wrap, a wall….
CF&I: Where do you look to find inspiration for your style at home? For your art?
KS: It’s mind boggling; inspiration is everywhere and there is not enough time in the day to see or find it all. Nature tends to be my first go-to but from there I’m all over people watching, storytellers, travel, design books, articles and sites, podcasts, movies, literature, music, fashion – an endless list!
CF&I: What is your guilty pleasure?
KS: Justin Timberlake? Coffee. Cut flowers. Hand-made papers. Hard cover books. High-heels. Dancing. Instagram. But I don’t feel very guilty.
CF&I: Describe your amazing art in five words. (You can use amazing, too!)
KS: I can’t do it, but here’s what I respect in others’ works and hope for mine: beauty, restraint, timelessness, an obvious and unique voice and craftsmanship.
Katherine and several other Savannah based artists (including Liz Winnel and Michael Porten) recently were featured at the Westobou Festival. Head over to their website to see all the details, and find more K. Sandoz on Twitter and in her beautifully curated online shop.