Katie Powell Brickman was born a Midwesterner - first in Shaker Heights, Ohio and then her family moved to Winnetka, Illinois two years later. She was raised on the North Shore until her family moved to Chicago when she was 14 years old. Katie spent her high school years at Cranbrook Kingswood in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. It was at this school that was designed by Eliel Saarinen that her appreciation for art and design really began. Painting, drawing, weaving, design, and ceramics were a part of the curriculum but equally influential was living amongst Saarinen's design which is truly everywhere throughout campus - the gates, the light fixtures, the furniture, and even the rugs and dorm room furniture.
Additionally, Katie’s parents lived for several years at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. No doubt Dorothy Draper's vibrant contrasting colors and oversized everything made a significant impact on Katie’s vision.
Katie studied Art History at Hollins, an all-women’s college in Virginia. Being in this environment was a crucial part of the development of Katie’s vision as she was empowered by her all women compatriots.
After college, she lived briefly in a coach house on ‘Rainbow Row’ in Charleston, South Carolina which stimulated her love of saturated color. Shortly thereafter, a move to New York City changed everything. It was in New York that Katie worked for a young couple, Kate and Andy Spade, in the infancy of their entrepreneurship. Katie began to form ideas about what really appealed to her from an art and design standpoint, and she garnered firsthand industry experience with creative leaders in fashion and design. She wrote stories about her life for their ad campaigns – in fact, one campaign was developed around her life growing up in Winnetka – the pond down the street from her house, her Faith Hope & Charity Catholic School uniform and Thornwood Park.
Katie also created a documentary film with Andy Spade called Paperboys which followed young paperboys on their morning routes on the streets of a small midwestern town - inspired of course from the experiences her own brothers had as paperboys in Shaker Heights, OH and Winnetka, IL. The film was directed by Mike Mills and won awards on the film festival circuit after debuting at the famed Esquire Theater in Chicago. On top of that, Katie worked as research editor on a book series titled Entertaining, Style, and Manners, among other creative projects for the celebrated couple.
After raising two children in Lake Forest, Illinois Katie began to create art in her bright yellow dining room. Early on, the art attracted the attention of coveted designer and former employer Alessandra Branca who was looking for artwork that mixes old and new, refined, and spontaneous. With Alessandra’s interest, Katie grew more confident and began to develop her own style playing with bright colors and everyday materials.
“It was growing up in the Midwest and especially living at Cranbrook and then working for industry creatives Kate and Andy Spade that solidified my love of simple clean lines and allowed me to find beauty in bright colors and the unexpected. It’s a combination of surprise and delight with every day and ordinary materials, objects and shapes that inspires me!” says Katie.
Katie paints primarily with acrylic on whitewashed wood board. She also paints on everything from antique book pages, lampshades, and recently vintage men’s Brooks Brother’s shirts. When not creating unique art, Katie also works as a Creative Director for many brands designing labels, logos and more.