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Artist Profile: Katie Maher

I set out in 2001 to become a graphic designer at the University of Iowa. Deciding to round out the education with a minor in entrepreneurial business and cognitive psychology soothed the dis-ease that arouse from everyone's advising to go into a practical field.

Upon graduation, a small cabin in Colorado seemed the best location to “be an artist damnit!” A small set of 20 paintings were completed and sold in Crested Butte, being new to the medium the success was surprising. And while producing scenes of mountains and magpies was enjoyable, the psyche of an artist always finds a way to surface.

The genuine feel of these characters, showed my love of surrealism and cartoons. The only appropriate venue to display them was a Gunnison Colorado tattoo shop. They found success there as well with sales, but it was time to trade a paintbrush in for a tattoo machine.

After a year or two of training in tattooing, I had to create my own vision of what a tattoo shop could be, and TIGHTROPE TATTOO was born in Salida Colorado. Six years and thousands of tattoos later, my paint brushes started getting restless with the nagging feeling that my artistic expression and passions weren’t being fully realized. But I was going to need help. Dali and Disney weren’t big enough shoulders for me to stand on.

Good artists create, great artists steal. I needed a broader vision and a wilder, freer way to paint. Enter Carl Ortman. My greatest influence to date, his style and teaching skills have been invaluable to my success as a professional oil painter. Not only in sharing his painting techniques but in his concepts of why we are driven to create and how our efforts can be of service to the world. I gained a clarity of how to paint from the heart. To achieve a meditative and joyful state when creating art that exudes from the final product.

A little time, and a lot of paintings later…In August of 2016 it all found a home in  Historic Downtown Salida Colorado.  119 N. F Street

I call my style Fractured, broken down into basic geometric shapes which are broken again to produce a vibration of color and line that mimics movement. My paintings are bold depictions of life created with classic oil techniques.  Graphic design and tattoo artist background inspire a contemporary style.

The real beauty is in the beholder, what makes an art piece special isn't necessarily what has been included as what has been left to the imagination of the viewer.

You can see more of Katie Maher's work at and at her studio gallery at 119 N. F Street, Salida.

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