Homesickness can be a difficult feeling to cope with. For Katie Wampler, it would provide the catalyst for her foray into art. Growing up in Louisville and having a parent who worked for Brown-Forman, the Kentucky Derby had played a significant part of Katie’s childhood. For college, Katie went out of state to UVA, marking the first time she was out of state for Derby. After UVA, life took Katie to South Carolina to teach for two years, again forcing Katie to miss the Derby and time with her family.
By 2015, Katie’s homesickness was at an all-time high. While always interested in art, she never pursued it outside of one class in high school. Inspired by her longing for home and her love of the colorful jockey silks, Katie decided to pull out the art supplies she had on hand and paint the silks in watercolor. When she showed her work to others, they encouraged her to sell prints of her work on Etsy. Even though Katie would eventually leave South Carolina for Washington DC and grad school, she kept working on her art. While in DC, she took a summer class on acrylic painting. After four years in DC, Katie decided it was time to return to her old Kentucky home.
Much of Katie’s work highlights her Kentucky roots, with the Derby and bourbon serving as regular subjects. As a fan of Andy Warhol, you can see hints of his influence at play in Katie’s work. Finding inspiration from colors, patterns, textures, and nature, she also experiments with more abstract styles and the use of floral and botanical elements. To see more of Katie’s work, you can find her on Instagram at @katie_paints. You can also find her online store at fourmintleaves.com.