the movie

hey there folks!

so, i am just finishing my finals, and so i am halfway done with grad school! ahhh! just 2 papers and 2 presentations left, then i will be a half-master.

here is a link to the video i recently made. it’s based on b-scifi-silent films, in format and somewhat in content. i made the sculptures and paintings in the video, and learned how to do all of it (film, video, lighting, editing, stop motion, etc.). I’d never made a movie before!

there it is!!!!! under this post!!!!

let me know what you think! i want to know!

love! k

ps thank you dirty three for letting me use this gorgeous song.

Mural Club is Awesome!

Hi friends!

I was just the guest speaker at a Mural Club, at the Fernwood Campfire, in Portland. Just a couple of hours ago. Awesome!

It was completely awesome! So much fun! It’s my friend Leslie’s club. She is so cool! Those kids are lucky!

We talked about murals through history, came up with theme ideas, looked at the spot the mural will be, and voted on the murals topic. They did drawings of the future mural, and hopefully they’ll get to start paintings soon. The wall is big, and they don’t have much time, since it’s an after school club. But I think they’ll rock it.

Pretty darn cool. And the democratic part was fun, they voted and incorporated most of the ideas they had into one idea! Originally they had like 14 ideas, so it was neat to see them all whittled down into one.


So, I want to be a teacher right. And I have been working on grad school applications recently, and figuring out the age range I want to teach, and working out how to make sure I get to do what I want.

The Mural Club was a fun exercise, getting used to working with kids again. I think ultimately I would work with older kids, but this was great. They were super awesome, smart, creative and had good senses of humor. And they were good artists.

And I am going to take an art education course through the Portland Children’s Museum. I am really excited about this. I’ll blog more about it later. Very cool. I’m really curious about different age ranges, and getting into the right place – that’ll help me do some good and actually make a living doing something I love. Something sustainable for me. Something I can do for the rest of my life. And help people through art.

Well, I’ll keep making and showing art, gardening, and writing still, and all of that stuff. But I am totally at a deciding point. Even the palm reader I saw early this week confirmed that. And she said I already knew what I was going to do, I just needed to choose.

So I’m researching.

Next month I will visit classes at the high school I went to. Yes, I will visit some of my old teachers! I am very excited, and curious, what the high school atmosphere is like. I did help with a high school mural class last year. That was awesome. But I want to see the whole shabang.
So I’ll sit in on a Sci Fi class (Ms. Till!) that I took, a ceramics class (Mr. Emery!) that I took, and a general art class, with a teacher I don’t know.

I am super excited about all of this. It’s all falling into place at exactly the right time.

That’s my news for now.

Hope you are well folks.

Love! Katie

those mural pictures i promised


so, i promised that i’d give you some photos of the murals i did for that awesome family…
here they are. there are some blurry photos, i’m not a pro, and given low light and over caffination i didn’t do a very good job with the photos.

notice… the pooh and pokemon were done over 2 years ago, and the linework is much less steady! i’ve improved so much!

so, these are all spot murals, all children’s lit. or cartoon characters, and all in a family home. they were all very fun, and pretty quick (as these things go).
thanks for looking!



Oh! Mural type fun!

Hi dudes and dudettes.

I have had another busy wednesday, they always are… This time I prepped some surfaces I’d just built and gessoed. 3 new pieces are nearly ready to be made! I did some palette knifing on a mixture of glass particles (tiny and reflective, basically ground glass, that’s kin to the stuff in street striping – mixed with some semi transparent paint). Of course I did this at the studio; then I went to 3 friends coffeehouse and proceeded in drinking too much coffee with Trish, Sarah and Terra; and then I started painting a mural in a baby’s room! He is so cute! His name is Ari and he is tiny and completely adorable.

I am excited to continue this painting! I love painting, whatever kind of painting, really! Especially on walls, it’s one of the most FUN things I can think of on earth! I am totally plagarising, oh well… ha! I’m doing a Dr. Seuss theme in the home of some wonderful people who I’ve painted for before. I’ve painted Winnie the Pooh and Pokemon characters in their lovely home in Hillsboro, Oregon. And now I am Seussing it up for Ari! Yay!

I’ve kind of mixed up some of the characters from different books, there is a fish theme, and some of the pictures are different a bit… but I’m not him, so it’s ok. Oh, also Thing 1 and Thing 2 from the cat in the hat, with the fish in it’s temporary spot in that teapot, on a kite string. FUN!

There’s a funny thing with painting (any skill really) where if you do it enough, really just paint (doesn’t matter what) you get better at it. And this is really interesting to me. Since my first murals in this wonderful family’s home, over 2 years ago, I have improved a lot! I’m faster, more confident, and although I still learn something every time I do anything, I feel like I’m learning different things each time. I know more and more about how and what to do with different kinds of paint, and all of that.

School of the hard knocks, although I have enjoyed all of it so it doesn’t feel like they’ve been hard knocks particularly. Just wonderful educational experiences.

I do have a degree in painting, but I feel like my life since the acquisition of the degree has taught me so many different parts of the painting. It’s hard to quantify. It’s just interesting to think about.

Yeah! Dude! Totally!

So, I’ll be finishing up these spot murals this weekend and should be totally done next wednesday. I will post photos… it kind of makes me nervous because I’m plagerizing. But I am not making very much money, so if I am sued, I won’t be able to pay for a lawyer, and I guess I’ll just become a jailbird, write a book, get more badly done tattoos and pump some iron for a while. Something like that. No problem. I’m tough.

Anyhow, friends, I will post the pictures. And I will take pictures of the other spot murals I have painted in this home… I really like doing the work, and I’m sure other people will like (and have) similar murals in their homes. So it’s worth it. Yeah! I will paint for you. Let me know.

Have a great end to your weeks, people of the world.


Katie Simpson Spain

oh how i love to paint!

Hello fellow art enthusiasts,

Today and yesterday I went to my studio to paint, I started a few new pieces. One is of a dandylion, one is of a lentil, one is of some kind of weed i don’t know the name of (i picked it when weeding my parents garden in california last month). The whole plant, with a special attention paid to the roots. I love love love my studio, and even though it’s freezing cold in there, I have been having so much fun.

This week I have been helping my rockstar painter friend Emily Lux with a mural class she’s teaching at Hillsboro High School. I am really just helping with the painting. The class is almost over, so the students already know what they are doing. It’s really fun! She teaches 4 classes a day, and the largest mural (designed by the students and painted by them too) needs to be done really soon. So I’m there to help, just painting finishing touches, so it will be done by spring break. It’s a really big wall.

I am glad to have a couple of days off this week, so I can help her! Also I LOVE painting. I painted on that mural for like 6 hours on tuesday, and tomorrow I will do the same. On tuesday I went to my studio afterwards and painted for another 2 hours, and I suspect I will do the same tomorrow.

The parts that I have been working on are mostly rural bits, farmland, fields. Trees, grassy areas, stuff like that. Making sure there is no white wall showing, or charcoal lines. I even painted a little clearcut. I’ll try to take a picture of that so I can show you. My first clearcut painting. It’s not very big, but there are stumps.

It’s really really fun! I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Those kinds are tough man, they start at 8:30 am. I haven’t started painting at 8:30 am since, well, maybe never. I certainly have done other work at that time of day, but not painting in public! It’s fun! The kids are generally very nice, and I am so happy to be able to help them with this. They are amazing artists, the mural is gorgeous.

I tried to crochet again today, and had tried last week. Only for 10 minutes or so (that is really hard! I want to go for longer.) but my wrists and hands still felt bad weird afterwards. Up my arms even. Damn! I need to make more sculptures. I need to. But I may have to change my sculptural medium soon. I don’t think this is sustainable for my human body to keep this up, although it is better for the earth to use reclaimed plastic for sculpture. I guess I need to pay attention to my own wellbeing too. Damn.

I am going to make a couple more sculptures, but it will end up taking me much longer than I had anticipated. And I need to save my hands for other things like making money. The sculptures haven’t made me any substantial money. I have sold a few, but they are so time consuming, people do not want to pay me enough. Hard to actually bust my hands forever for under 1/2 of minimum wage, yep. And it is nearly impossible to subsist on compliments alone. I have tried this, it is hard to eat compliments, no matter how nice they are.

Please know that I do not mean to complain. I appreciate all of the support I have had for my artwork. Everyone who has ever bought a piece of my art, come to one of my shows, read my blog, talked to me, supported me at all, I want to thank you so much! Thank you. You have brought me through the tough times and helped me understand that art is like breath or water. I want to thank you all so much. I really couldn’t do this without you.

So, anyways, good people, I will do some things and make some stuff, and let you know how all of that goes.

Thanks for reading this! Thank you for your continued and cherished support.

Love, Katie

PS (relating to a previous post) The glass added to paint is fun! I’ve made some great surface with some of it. Very lovely, luminous, and with translucent paint over it… it is beautiful! The texture is great, and it soaks up my thin thin paint like… well, I’m not sure. Reminds me of painting on sugar cubes, although I have not actually done that yet… (mostly wood, canvas, plaster, paper, bricks, cinderblocks, foam, and some random stuff like rocks and bottles and feathers and string). Anyways it’s working well, and I will post a photo soon.


hi folks!

today i went to HELD Vegan Belts and was going to take down my sculptures… well, I reorganized them. so many of them are still over there. for now!

along with the wonderful work of robin and aran selki, which includes beautiful paintings and gorgeous amazing puppets!

micah perry, the fabulous, told me some great things about the sculptures too! he pointed out that they are made from petrolium, once alive (in ancient times), and when i retrieve them after their “life” in their discarded bag state – i breathe new life into them again! thank you micah! i need to quote him instead of summarizing. it was a very eloquent description and it made me nearly cry! so cool! micah is smart, and knows how to talk about art. he is awesome! he runs held, you should go talk to him, he’s often there. 3033 NE Alberta st, portland.

the sculptures will be moved around soon again too, for your viewing pleasure.

i also will be painting a little (ok, maybe 2 by 6 feet?) mural in HELD soon! stay tuned for details about this. i know, so far, that it will include birds smoking cigarettes and probably gossiping, and a rocket. maybe i will surprise you with the rest. should be fun!

i’ll post when i start, and maybe some drawings of ideas, then you’ll have to visit to see me working on it! i’m super excited. i really really really love painting murals, but haven’t worked on one for 6odd months! ahh! that long? that makes me feel weird. i need more big painting in my life. i just want to paint big! dang.

ok, have a great evening.



those are a couple of photos taken at held by my friend.

thank you everyone who came to see my installation


I wanted to give a big thank you shout out to everyone who came to see my installation!

It was really nice to see you or to meet you. I am so happy to have been able to share this art with you! It’s been a long tough road to this point. But, as some of you said (can I quote you Ben?) this is something that I’ve made into an art, and I do have complete creative control over the media now, after 2 years creating sculpture out of plastic bags. The sculpture is like nothing else that exists. So I am going to make as damn much of is as I can, before I die, so at least I’ll be famous and recognized for my achievements after that.

After my closing party yesterday I took the installation down. Soon the sculptures will go up at HELD, but I will not paint their walls. And the way they are installed will be different of course.

I am excited for that show! If you weren’t able to see the Jungle, please come to HELD.

Here are a few photos, for those of you wonderful folks who have been asking.

Thanks so much again.

Love, Katie

DSC00790fisheye jungle k. spainjungle, guardians, branchrootsthrough guardianthe old tips k. spainguardian, nyc branches, vines, k. spainnyc made branches, k. spainthe blooming vines, k. spain

ps. all of these images are copyrighted by me, dude, so if you use them for something you’ll have to tell me first and give me royalties! thank you!

pss. i am happy to do interviews, or send you better photos to publish.

10/25/09 Plastic Bag Drive at ‘Our Own Jungle’, Tyson Gallery


I’m having a plastic bag drive and closing event for my show, Our Own Jungle, at the Tyson Gallery in Portland, Oregon. The address is a bit misleading, it’s 625 NW Everett (it’s part of the Everett Station Lofts), but the actual space is on the Broadway side. The address of the gallery itself is 116. You will find it, it’s on NW Broadway, between Everett and Flanders.

The gallery will be open on Sunday October 25th, from 3 pm to 6 pm, come on by! If you haven’t seen the installation yet, this is your last chance! I’ll be disassembling it right after the event!

If you haven’t heard about it already… I make these intricate and organic sculptures entirely out of recycled plastic grocery and other bags. I do all of this myself, mostly by crocheting. I do sew a bit, and bunch the plastic up too. They are very hard to describe. The sculptures are abstract, but based on plantlife and many other things. Each person who views them has a different experience and interpretation. I’ve also painted some of the walls.

Come see, if you can!

Also please bring me your used (not moldy please) plastic grocery bags! I really like the light brown ones (ie Freddies), and any bright color that you have! Any color at all, it doesn’t have to be bright. I’m really excited about different bag colors! Purple? Gold? Turquoise? Red? I will happily use them up! I am, however, not as excited about the white ones (ie Safeway) but I’ll take them off your hands for sure! I will turn them into art! Or I will take them to be recycled.

You will see some examples, and you may have already seen some! Here are a couple of photos of part of the installation. Come by to see more! Ge up close to these intensely complex gorgeous 100% recycled sculptures.

I hope to see you there!


Katie Simpson Spain

Our Own Jungle, 10/2009, fisheye Our Own Jungle, w/ Guardian detail

Sneak Peak! OUR OWN JUNGLE. Installation at Tyson Gallery.

Why hello there,

Yesterday I finished installing my new show, Our Own Jungle, at Tyson Gallery, in NW Portland, Oregon. It’s up! I am so happy to announce this! Lots of work went in to the production of the sculptures for this installation, and many of them have never been seen in public before!

I am including a few sneak peak photos, details… bits only.

To see the rest you’ll have to come visit. There are many more sculptures not included here, and there is really no way of conveying the entire installation with photographs.

The exhibit is at Tyson Gallery, in the Everett Station building (625 NW Everett St, in NW Portland). The Gallery itself is actually on Broadway, between Flanders and Everett. The gallery # is 116. The opening is from 6 to 9 on Thursday october 1st.

jungle flower vines (j. perelman photo) jungle vines (j. perelman photo)

our own jungle shadow (j. perelman photo)our own jungle inside (j. perelman photo)

I’ll have a closing party too, but it will be a plastic bag drive, so the art may be harder to see. You should come on thursday, if you can. I know, it’s so soon! I’m so excited for you to see it!

All of the sculptures are all made from already used plastic bags. I can teach you how to turn plastic bags into yarn thing at Mission Mill Museum in Salem, Oregon – the 4th saturday of October.

And the mural is mine too. Similar to paintings that I do. And you can visit me at Portland Open Studios, the 2nd and 3rd weekends of October, in my studio, to learn how and why I paint and what I do.

Hope to see you soon.


Katie Simpson Spain

PS These photos were taken by Jessica Perelman.

installed! installation! murals! cool!

Hi all y’all.

Yesterday, sunday september 28th, I put up my installation. It is up! Thank goodness.

Here are some photos of the installation process.

I went over to the lovely Tyson Gallery at 9 am, and I left at 6:30 pm.

I started with some mural work, for maybe 4 hours I put paint on the walls. This took me less time than I thought it would. I’ve done murals and I’ve painted a lot of paintings, but these murals are the closest to paintings in my abstract landscape series. They are a lot more loose, and less detailed, less drippy, and lighter. But they are pretty similar. So, maybe that’s why 3 big walls only took me 4 hours. Huh! I think I would have worked harder on longer on them, but didn’t want the walls to be distracting from the sculptures. Just to add atmosphere. I think it worked!

Then I began installing the sculpture. Hanging lots of it from the ceiling, and stretching these vines across the gallery. Hanging flowers from them.

At some point I had the hammer up on the top of the ladder and moved the ladder, and of course the hammer fell off the top of the ladder and hit me on the head!!!!! Ouch! At that point I sent a text message out and one of my dearest friends, Jessica Perelman, came and helped me! Thank you Jessica! She saved me! I was about to give up. It’s so hard to see something that you’ve been working on all day. It was around 4 that she came over to the gallery, and helped me install the rest of the sculptures, gave me input, and talked me out of my stupor. And she took some great photos, which will be included in the next entry.

By the time I left I was jelly-brained. I can totally paint for 9.5 hours, work for other people for this long, crochet sculptures for this long, but installing… it was intense! Physically and emotionally. Putting all of these sculptures that I’ve worked so hard on for the past year and a half up. Figuring out where they go, how to group them, it was fun and very challenging. I went home and fell asleep on the couch watching a dumb movie about Phillis Diller. And woke up with a stuffy nose. Don’t think I’m sick, just tired.

Please check the next blog entry for sneak peak pre-opening photos.


these are vines before they were installed

these are vines before they were installed

installing things.

installing things.