Tattle-Tales: Interview with Chicago Artist Katie Chung

Dec 22nd 2023

Tattle-Tales: Interview with Chicago Artist Katie Chung

We have been loving seeing all of the different holographic sticker orders that came through this year! Everyone has been so creative and have really been making the most of this brand-new finish. One particular order that was super inspiring was from Katie Chung who is an artist based here in Chicago. I just had to talk to her and learn more. Enjoy our chat below!

ED: Your work spans so many different mediums, from murals, to sculpture, makeshift textiles, to ballpoint pen illustration just to name a few, what is something you haven’t tried yet that you would like to?

KC: I want to try paper making. Specifically traditional Korean Hanji paper making. I’m also interested in garment making with repurposed materials and the fabric I’ve hoarded over the years…!

ED: What was the first kind of art that stole your heart?

KC: Drawing

ED: Do you have a specific moment that made you want to be an artist?

KC: I grew up obsessing over different crafts in the back of my mom’s alteration/dry cleaning shop while waiting for her to finish work. In high school I enrolled myself in Marwen, a free after school art program for CPS students. I got to learn from working artists, found a community, and got my first internship. This is where I started to understand how art can be a career.

ED: What is good design in your eyes?

KC: Functions and for my personal work, It should be interesting to look at!

ED: Who are some of your biggest creative inspirations?

KC: H. C. Westermann, Aimee Lee, any type of folk art

ED: What are you most drawn to? Color or shape?

KC: Shape

ED: Your textile work is made out of more unconventional “fabrics”, have you ever thought about designing/making clothing?

KC: Yes, I think about It a lot. I love clothes! I've made bags and up-cycled clothes. Right now I’m learning how to alter clothes from my mom.

ED: Which of your pieces took the longest amount of time?

KC: The Kyung Mi Hanbok - 2ish years. All of the dry cleaning work takes a lot of time. It’s supposed to be that way. The marking of time and labor is a large part of the work.

ED: We were all obsessed with how your holographic stickers came out! How are you using these stickers? Why did you choose to make stickers with this particular artwork?

KC: Thank you so much!! I needed new business cards for a last minute trip to LA for the Adobe MAX conference. I wanted something fun and represented my drawing style. I used a tiger because they are a symbol of strength in Korean culture. I’ve given them out to people I met during the conference and shared them with friends and family.

ED: I love that your more personal art pieces (specifically those sewn out of dry cleaning tags), make things that can be easily discarded into something beautiful. Were these connections easy for you to make? What is something else that you think is underrated-ly beautiful?

KC: This connection took me a decade to make, which started in 2019 during my time in the Center Program at the Hyde Park Art Center. It was a challenge and sometimes very uncomfortable, especially in the beginning. It’s a healing process that takes time but brings me closer to my family, culture, and myself. Making this work helps me appreciate the underrated beauty of the second generation experience. It’s a beautiful and rich experience to be a bridge between two cultures.

Thank you so much, Katie, for taking the time to answer my questions. Make sure to check out all of her amazing pieces on her website. They are all documented, including information about materials used and photographs. Follow her on Instagram to keep up with all of her future projects and happenings around Chicago. She rules and we can’t wait to collaborate more in the future!

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