For Immediate Release:


Katie Simpson Spain’s MFA thesis exhibition.

Presented by The City College of New York, CUNY

March 18-22, 10-5.

Reception Wednesday March 20th, 6-8:30 pm

Meet & Greet, March 21 5-6 pm.

Compton-Goethals Gallery

The City College of New York

Compton-Goethals Hall, Room 134

160 Convent Ave.

New York, NY 10031

With a focus on different ways humanity navigates in and works with nature, this interactive installation combines recycled materials, fabrics, live plants, painting, sculpture and printmaking to create a strange situation involving outdoor activities. You are invited to experience this version of nature, recreations of natural environments and recreational activities, from the safety of Compton-Goethals Gallery.

This work is a reexamination of organized outdoor activities, exploring relationships people have with the natural environment. I am interested in the thin membranes of safety that lie between the natural world and organized modern life. Often humorous and culminating in installation or video, this work combines recycled materials, fabrics, live plants, painting, sculpture and printmaking. I re-create biological environments and the tools associated with them, like giant friendship bracelets or camping tools without function. These awkward works nudge at nostalgia of time spent in nature.

Events during the show also include:

Camp Craft Time: Monday March 18th, 1 pm (friendship bracelet and drawing party)

Short Talk/Meet and Greet: Thursday March 21st, 5 pm

Please be in touch if you’d like to schedule a tour of the exhibition.

Visit this blog for details about exhibition programing and behind the scenes information about the work:

Compton-Goethals is located on the Southeast corner of W 140th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.   

Subways: 1 @ 137th St and A, C, B, D @ 145th St.  

When visiting CCNY please go to Cohen Library Archives Gallery to see an ink and acrylic drawing of mine in CCNY Women Make Art, an exhibition showcasing women artists affiliated with the City College of New York, in conjunction with International Women’s Day. The Archives Gallery is on the 5th floor of Cohen Library, in the NAC Building (Amsterdam and 136, on the north campus, close to Compton-Goethals Hall). Here is a campus map.

Also don’t miss my upcoming installation at DUMBO’s 111 Front Street, part of an awesome April group show curated by Risa Shoup of Brooklyn’s Invisible Dog.
Take good care!
Katie Simpson Spain
For more information about CCNY’s MFA Thesis Shows visit:
crop postcard vista 2

Thesis Show Coming! (Recreation)

March 18th to 22nd. Reception Wednesday March 20th from 5 to 8 pm.

Working title: Recreation.

With a focus on different ways humanity navigates in and works with nature, this interactive installation combines recycled materials, fabrics, live plants, painting, sculpture and printmaking to create a strange situation involving outdoor activities. You are invited to experience this version of nature, recreations of natural environments and recreational activities, from the safety of Compton-Goethals Gallery.

Travel Directions:

You can take either the 1 train, or the A,B,C, or D. The 1 has a stop at 137 (which says City College on it), and you just walk east (the stop is on broadway), walk through a little park right away, then keep going to Amsterdam Ave, and up to Compton-Goethals Hall between 139th and 140th. The A train is really fast, and the 145th stop is great, and if you take a train on that line head west once you get out of the train. The stop lets you out at St. Nicholas and 145th, so walk uphill toward Convent Ave, and west on that street (turn left onto Convent, it’s beautiful) until you get down to the campus at 140th, the first building on the right once you go through that metal gate thing is Compton-Goethals but you have to go up some stairs to get to the entrance because there is another building sort of stuck in the corner of it (weird, you’ll see) which is not the right one.


short spring


so, here i am, after not being very bloggy for a while. sorry about that friends. it’s been pretty nice out here, warm already, sunny, humid and dry (that’s an oxymoron, what i mean is it hasn’t rained much). so i’ve been trying to get out and see this new york thing as much as i can.
mostly though, i’ve been woking on a lot of stuff in school. school school school school school school.

i just got out of a fun and busy spring break, with some wonderful house guests, my parents visiting, and a couple of friends coming through new york (well more than that but 2 that i got to see). and making stuff and writing papers.

ahh, the papers. they’re kind of long. i am looking forward to being done with those. so i can research other things and work on the labor and time intensive art that i like to make. i love school, but it’s a lot of talk, and that is great, but i miss being in the studio all day. class is fun but very distracting from studio or other things.

speaking of that, i’ve been in the studio growing plants and working on how to combine this with my art! very exciting! i wish i had time to go see the art of people who are also doing this, because it is out there right now. i want to kick myself in the face because i mostly just do school work. but i’m doing everything i can do every day, so i will reserve the injuring myself for the art making process. thank you very much.

so, i’m still working on that stop motion animation that has completely taken over my life. i’ve had some completely awesome studio visits lately, from professors, visiting artists and other folks in my program. i am looking forward to taking 10000 more pictures, editing and finishing that thing (should refer to it as ‘the monster’). i’m getting there. slowly. and i need to start working on the soundtrack! anyone want to contribute? it’s a monster movie so i need anticipatory violins.

i’m thinking about noise, but structured music will creep in too. i’ve never used sound in art before. but i’d never made movies just 2 months ago, so here we are. well, actually i made a few as a teenager. hmmm. well, i don’t know if that applies to this project but it will probably apply to the next one. i am really enjoying using technologies i employed as a young person. like sewing. but hell i’d hardly used sewing in art before 9 months ago. so that’s a whole other ball of wax there, right. new new new.

other than that i am still working with plants. i got really excited to do some gardening in the city, and tried to figure out how to do that within my school or nearby, but have been having trouble getting in touch with the right people, or active people, or people who are working in this way already, or people who know what i’m talking about. gardening. like food plants. the days pass, and we get further into garden season… so i’m not sure that will fully happen this year. but hopefully i can just help a few people who are already doing it. also there’s the part about new york’s humidity and heat. so i’m not sure how practical my desire to work hard out in the wet heat is. so i am looking for some part time work indoors actually.

there are lots of people with little urban farms, in abandoned lots, and on rooftops, and there is a huge network of community gardens all over the city. i’m sure i’ll find something. so much already exists so i don’t have to worry as much as i do about soil toxins or revolution. i just want to help. in a broad and also specific way. new york was farmland once, like all of the other cities, and it is interesting to try to find a balance within modern and traditional food growing ideas. here are some awesome links, if you are interested in this too:, (i have a lot more links, so let me know if you want them, then i will post more about this thing more).

i wish i had a video to show you, but i will soon. i will get some good stuff to you soon though, give me a few weeks. i’m approaching finals now and getting ready for some excitement, like an open studio that i will post more about soon (i think it’s on may 11th and 12th, friday evening and saturday in the day). and i am looking forward to summer, camping, work, as will many long hours of quiet studio time, all of which i need. hopefully i will get a residency too. fingers crossed, but i haven’t heard back from one yet, and the other i didn’t get. got to keep on keeping on!

hey, you know that photo of rats above, well a bigger and differently arranged version of my rat pack will be in the ccny sculpture show that is opening next thursday. come to the compton goethals gallery to see the pack all next week,  the opening is thursday evening, the 27th!

cool, i’m going to go work on my papers now.

love, katie

ps i will post about the upcoming open studio more soon!

growing things

Hey friends,

Sooo, I have started working on the salad the farm again! I’m excited. It’s really fun. I love being out in the country and taking care of those plants. I’ve got the growing things itch now too. So I started a small garden in the teeny space of my apartment stoop.

It all started when Renee gave me some culinary herbs in pots for my birthday. That was so nice! I’ve been nibbling them for a couple of weeks now. Deliciousness! Last year I grew tiny basil and chives on my stoop, but being given established herbs started me thinking about growing more! I seeded some basil (it hasn’t started yet… it’s working on it – I hope it hurries, I want to get it in some more soil.)

And I started a tiny succulent garden in a pretty white glass dish I got at a rummage sale. I’ve been walking around the neighborhood a lot lately and I pinched one or two succulents from overgrown medians and sidewalk cracks and such. I did this with some pretty moss too, a gift for someone (top secret).

And today I got strawberry plants, on sale, at a grocery store. I hope they grow!

I hope they all grow! I’m anxious for the basil to sprout. It’s not new seed, so it might not work. It’s been a week, so it should be doing it any time now.

That’s my news. I’m getting over a cold, but haven’t been called in to sub this week anyhow, so it’s cool. I’ve been laying low. And tomorrow I have a small surgery to get an almost-cancer on my arm removed. I’m kind of nervous. And I won’t be able to move my arm enough for a couple of weeks (stitches above my deltoid), which makes me even more nervous. I am sure I’ll be fine. But I like to do things, it’ll be hard for me to sit still.

Yes, updates! For you!

I’m doing a commission, which I will work on in my time off. Heck, I’ll have the use of one arm at least. And I will post photos of my progress on here. I’ve got the surface built and prepped, so I’ll get to do the fun part soon! Painting! Well, I guess I like all of the parts. But I truly like the painting part most.

Ok, I’m going to go eat some strawberries and do some laundry. And in case you wanted to see: here are some photos of my little garden.

3 poems for springtime

Here are 3 poems I found in looking for stuff to talk to kids about. Bugs are one of my favorite topics… so I found these haiku by Matsuo Basho, from Japan in the 1600s .

A caterpillar,
this deep in fall –
still not a butterfly.

April’s air stirs in willow-leaves…
a butterfly
floats and balances.

The butterfly is perfuming
it’s wings in the scent
of the orchid.

Happy spring!

Art in April at Alma Chocolate

For Immediate Release:

Happy Spring! We officially made it through the winter! Celebrate with paintings that focus on growth, rebirth and life. And with chocolate, of course.

This April, please visit Alma Chocolate to see Katie Simpson Spain’s luminous acrylic paintings of plants and sprouts.

Come meet the artist on friday April 1st, from 5 to 7 pm at
Alma Chocolate: 140 NE 28th Avenue, in Portland.



It’s my birthday, and since I get to do whatever I want today I will blog about how it is my birthday!

I am now 31 years old. Actually, tonight I will be, officially.
But all day I get to do fun stuff because of it. And it’s supposed to be nice out even! And maybe even 67 degrees! Not rainy like my birthday usually is! Whee!

Last night I made cupcakes. Not the best cupcakes ever. But they’re modified cheapo box cake, and I added too much pineapple to them. No eggs either. Oh well. Maybe someone will eat them at the rollerskating party that will happen later this evening.

And now we’re waiting for my mom-in-law to come over. And we’ll go get something to eat at one of portland’s overly crowded breakfast restaurants. Fun! I wonder where we will go!

And earlier today I talked to the team that birthed me, my wonderful parents. And that was fun.

Also last night I stayed up to see if I changed when I became 31, and no, I’m still the same. That was a tactic I tried as a little kid, and I guess the laws of physics have stayed the same.

Hooray for 31! It’s supposed to be a good one, yeah? I’ve heard.

Thanks for being part of it folks!


I love wednesdays in nearly-spring!

Hi! It was so nice today I just have to post!

I just returned from a fabulous day spent with some of my favorite people in the world!

I have wednesdays off, so they are generally great anyhow, but today was spectacular.

First, I went to my studio, for a few hours in the morning. Favorite thing #1! I painted on a variety of pieces from my 2 new bodies of work. The roots and the new “women’s work” series.

Then I took the best bus ever (#15) over the willamette river into northwest portland. And I met with the Portland Women’s Art Group, at Anna Banana’s cafe, an old portland coffeehouse I used to go to when I first moved to portland in the late 1990s.
That was so fun! Renee, Jo, HsinYi, Alison, Bonnie and I sat in the sunshine and talked about new ideas and materials for a couple of hours. It was dreamy! A very much needed art meeting. These women are so wonderful and make gorgeous various sculptural work. Among other things. I always enjoy our meetings, but this one was the first for a while and it was so nice out, it was just perfect.

Then I took the bus back over the river and went to Por Que No taqueria on SE Hawthorne, to meet 4 very dear very old friends, Trish, Terra, Sarah and Sarah. It was so fun! I haven’t hung out with this many friends at once for a long time, just hung out without also doing some art thing, or some other thing. We hung out and ate tacos! It was amazing! Not only are those my favorite tacos in portland, these are some of my favorite women on earth. So, of course, it was great!

And now I am at home, with my sweetheart. And that too is awesome.

I think I am going to watch a movie my uncle did the art directing for later this evening. A 1994 Bruce Willis movie called The Color of Night.

All in all it will have been the perfect day.

It’ll officially be spring in a few days, but right now, it sure feels like it is already spring. Trees crazy with petals, plants growing out of every crack in the sidewalks, people out in the streets, and that dreadful dormancy portland gets in the winter (i get it too) is fading.

I know, I am an enthusiastic person, but today was extra good.

Happy spring friends!