Katie Puenner-Gray has been interested in art in grade school. Her passion of art created self-confidence, which transferred into other areas in her life such as school and in sports. Puenner-Gray went to school for graphic design, with a lot of emphasis of designing on the computer. She considers herself to be a self-taught fine artist. She is still design minded when it comes to creating compositions and the layout of an image. “I think like a designer, less is more.”
Puenner-Gray has had many opportunities working in public and community art. She was involved in the AmeriCorps program: City Year. She was working with children in schools and helping with their academics. Through this year of service, she developed programs that involved creating murals around the city schools in New York City. She would get middle school students involved and they would take school hallways or dilapidated buildings fix them up with murals. City Year would not be the last time Puenner-Gray worked with children. She is now living in San Francisco and is teaching art to grades 1st-8th in a Catholic elementary school. She is inspired every day. “I learn from the children just as much as they learn from me.” She always wants to draw and create with them.
The environment around her and nature are some of Puenner-Gray’s biggest inspirations. Her subject matter is mainly landscapes. Living in California gives her piece with nature and is always able to find incredible sites while she is running. Before creating a piece, Puenner-Gray begins with a thumbnail sketch in her notebook. She likes then to dive into the canvas and layer with paint. “I build textures to be consistent between and landscapes and other works.” A piece could take between 4 hours-2 weeks.
Puenner Gray’s biggest challenge as an artist is creating consistency with her work. One way she does reach that goal is with her use of color. The colors she chooses represent the different environments and people that have inspired her. It is her own artist code. She tends to gravitate towards organic forms, which is why nature is so prevalent in her work. She keeps her compositions simple to match her child-like sense of wonder in nature. Her goal as an artist is to make an impact on others through her art. Puenner-Gray wants to see what customers gravitate towards. The most exciting thing for her about selling her art is knowing that her piece is a part of someone’s home.