Katie Brennan is an art consultant, artist, educator and creative entrepreneur currently based in Courtenay, BC.
I’ve always felt like I was trying to fit into a jacket, the “professional serious artist” jacket, that just never quite fit — even though I went to art school…and got a BFA and a MFA.
When I wrote about my work the way others did, it felt yucky and empty.
When I applied for the “right” kind of shows, my work didn’t get in.
When I applied for grants, all I heard were crickets.
I was doing everything I was taught to do, and yet, nothing seemed to work.
After many years and a lot of soul searching, I’ve found a new way for me to be an artist. The right way… for me. It’s one that embraces the market, doesn’t worry about being in the “right” kinds of shows and fits me perfectly.
Let me help you find your perfect fit.
My experience - which 100% at your disposal when we work together:
My work has been exhibited my work across Canada and the United States.
I’ve done residencies at places like the Banff Centre.
Sold my work at major retailers like Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma Home, and more.
Had my work grace the pages of House Beautiful, Better Home and Gardens, House & Home, among others.
Had my work appear in tv shows like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and movies like How to Be Single.
Worked with clients around the world.
Negotiated large art contracts.
Been the Curator of a public art gallery.
Been the Executive Director of an arts council.
Been the interim director of an artist run centre.
Taught visual arts at university.
Taught art classes for kids of all ages.
Given lectures and presentations.
Developed and taught workshops.
Applied for art school, twice.
Designed exhibition catalogues, pamphlets and posters.
Designed and maintained my own website.
Created an archive of my own work.
Written for national arts magazines.
Written catalogue essays for public art galleries.
Written grants for multiple funders at the municipal, provincial and federal level.
Reviewed portfolios and recruited students for art school.
Juried artwork for exhibitions.
Installed artwork in galleries, coffeeshops, homes and offices.
Shipped artwork and prints around the world.
Done multiple public art projects.
Katie Brennan - Artist
Katie is also a very active, prolific and successful artist, with a proclivity (and long obsession with) Line, Bold / Bright Colour, Design, Gouache and Abstraction.
You can view her work at katiebrennan.ca
What do you do if you haven’t
gone to art school?
How Katie Brennan Art Consulting
Came to be.
The idea to offer consulting came during a panel discussion I was facilitating where everyone on the panel, except one, held a MFA (Master's of Fine Art) and taught at a University - I also hold an MFA and was also teaching at a University at the time. At one point in the discussion, which was focused on how one becomes a successful professional artist, someone in the audience asked
“What do you do if you haven’t gone to art school?”.
I was surprised when no one on the panel really answered this question in full. Mostly, the line of conversation turned back to “Well, you really should consider going to art school (post secondary training in visual arts), as it really is the best way”.
Afterwards my brain was reeling - how could a room full of intelligent, successful people, artists, not offer some more salient advice?
There are LOTS of other options out there! Just as every artist creates different work, unique and original to themselves, every artist’s career and artistic practice is different.
Some artists make art like a traditional job - work in the studio from 9 - 5pm, Monday to Friday and make their entire livelihood from it. But in truth, many more artists make art in conjunction with other activities - teaching, design work, work in gallery and arts organizations and any other number of every-day, and sometimes surprising, jobs and careers. The stereotype is that they do this because they have to in order to earn a living, but for artists like myself, I CHOOSE to work this way. I love doing all kinds of work and find that is it is an important activity in conjunction with my artistic practice. So why are we not sharing this so-called secret with everyone who has some kind of artistic pursuit in their lives? There are infinite ways to be an artist.
Right after this enlightening discussion, and for months afterwards, I started dreaming up just what some of the alternatives could be and how could they be offered to the artistic community of the Vancouver Island and British Columbia (formerly just the Okanagan valley). All this dreaming eventually turned into Katie Brennan Art Consulting (formerly Open Art Consulting), which officially relaunched in Fall 2018 (originally launched in the Summer of 2013)
I can’t wait to see what all this dreaming and scheming turns into!
July 30th, 2013
Revised June 11th, 2018
More About Katie
Katie Brennan holds an MFA from University of Guelph and a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art & Design.
Over the course of her career, Katie has worked for the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Kelowna Art Gallery, the Helen Pitt Gallery, the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, Gallery Vertigo, the Vernon Community Art Centre, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, the University of the British Columbia - Okanagan Campus, the University of Guelph, Okanagan College and the Centre for Arts and Technology.
Her writing has appeared in Border Crossings and Galleries West magazines, as well as in exhibition catalogues for the Lake Country Art Gallery, the Vernon Art Public Gallery and Ashpa Naira Gallery.
She was the Curator for the Lake Country Art Gallery 2011 - 2015 and was the Executive Director of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan (ARTSCO) 2015 - 2017.
During her time in the Okanagan, Katie has worked through a number of art publicity projects, including: the OKnow List - an email listserv about arts and cultural events in the Okanagan 2009 - 2011; oook.ca- the next incarnation of her arts and cultural events project 2011 - 2013; Good Times Gallery - pop-up art gallery of contemporary art work 2013 and finally the Okanagan Art Review - a visual art online magazine and directory of Okanagan based artists 2014 - 2015.
During all of these self-generated, creative entrepreneur projects, Katie completed Marie Forleo's B-School (2013). More recently she completed Seth Godin's altMBA program (2017) and is currently working through Seth Godin's Marketing Seminar.