BROOKLYN ILLUSTRATOR - Interview with Kati Lacker

My name is Kati Lacker. I'm an illustrator, designer, and screen printer currently living in Brooklyn. I often create work that focuses on the everyday, spending time with subjects and small moments that might otherwise go unnoticed. Much of what I create is driven by my love for color, line, and pattern. Originally from Florida, I have a degree in graphic design from the University of South Florida and I am pretty much self taught when it comes to illustration. I do a lot of editorial work and freelance design for various clients.

What gets you excited about illustrating?

I really love the idea of interpreting reality. Finding beauty in expected places and capturing moments that might otherwise get overlooked. Im also a sucker for color and good design, so oftentimes things will draw me in through that as well. I'm still at a point where I'm not entirely sure what a final drawing will look in the beginning, so the challenge of creating something that gets me stoked is also a fun thing to try and understand.

What are your first memories of illustrating? What made you decide to become an illustrator, or that you wanted to be one?

I remember as a kid I used to love copying things. Taking characters from a tv show, or objects in my house and trying to draw what was in front of me. It was almost magic to be able to reproduce reality into my little trapper keeper. My technical skills have always been pretty good, so I naturally went into fine arts and expected to become a painter. I didn't realize I wanted to become an illustrator until several years of traveling around, a degree in graphic design, and a sketchbook full of doodles lead me to just pursue it on my own.

We love your quirky style! What influenced your style and how has it changed, or progressed, since you began illustrating?

My style has changed quite a bit since the early years. In the beginning, it was much more technically driven. I've always loved line and color. I had a painting teacher in school that told me she could tell I was from Florida, because of the way I use color. So maybe there's a little truth in that. It was the momentum of working on comics with my brother that definitely pushed it into where's it's at today. Now I'm working on how can I push it away from comics and into something that is uniquely my own. I feel like it's always evolving even though I'm sure very few people would be able to tell the difference.

Do you feel that your illustrations reflect your personality?

I do actually. I feel that this is the case with a lot of people and it's funny to think about when your in a room full of illustrators. My favorite images I create are the unsuspecting ones. They might be cute with a lovely color palate, but traces of dark humor or flaws of humanity seep through the closer you look. I love surprising people with little details and I feel like all of that could definitely be applied to who I am as a person.

Was there someone or something that inspired you to illustrate? How so?

My biggest inspiration would probably be my brother. Almost 10 years ago, we started a comics collaboration project mostly revolving around strips. He would write out a punchline and I would illustrate it. It definitely pushed me to draw more and was one of the reasons I moved to New York in the first place. It was always an excuse to draw and I loved that. With the busy-ness of life we've put the project on hiatus, but I'm so happy with where it's pushed me. I'm sure we'll collaborate together in the future.

Do you ever have any creative crashes, where you don’t feel motivated, inspired to illustrate? Maybe a creative block? How do you come out of it?

All the time. There's definitely moments where illustrating can feel more like a job than a passion. It's sort of a mental struggle that I'm still figuring out how to fully combat. What I've learned so far for dealing with these moments is to seek out inspiration. Rediscover what it is you love about making art in the first place. It usually starts with getting out of the studio and exploring on my bike, doing location drawings, going to see shows, looking at other creative fields and seeing the potential of human imagination. Living in NYC, you are surrounded by so much of everything. I think it's good to get out and explore sometimes.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not illustrating?

I love being in nature. Living in NYC you are surrounded by a lot of concrete, but there are actually some really great little pockets to be discovered. I also love making things- sewing, baking bread, fermenting, building things. I bike a lot, love movies / good tv, and screen printing. I spend a lot of time in front of the computer, so it's nice to have some physical element of making to switch things up.

Do you have any projects in the works?

I'm getting ready for MoCCA coming up in April, so I'm working on some new prints and a zine of sketchbook diaries . Aside from that, I'm hoping to really focus on screen printing this year and develop a body of work that will hopefully come together as a show later on.

What are your illustration goals for 2018?

I'd love to do more traveling and create work while on the road. But aside from that, I want to just keep producing more work and really push my style into it's full potential. Looking forward to a lot of new projects and collaborations.

What is your favorite song, artist or band you enjoy listening to while you work?

The music I listen to while working is constantly changing depending on my mood or even what phase my project is at. If I'm trying to think... it usually ends up being some quiet indie folk like Wilco or M.Ward. Otherwise, I love stripped down blues-y rock like The Arcs or Courtney Barnett. Though, lately I have been listening to a lot of A Tribe Called Quest and other old school hip hop, so who even knows.