Arts·Art Minute

Illustrator and tattoo artist Katie So on coming to terms with depression — and making it her muse

Whatever medium she is expressing herself in, Katie So's work retains a sense of dark introspection and humour.

'It's never gonna go away, but it's also a huge part of you that fuels your creativity'

"I wanna examine how I am dealing with living my life with depression and knowing that it's never really gonna go away. But it's also a huge part of you that fuels your creativity." 1:00

For illustrator and tattoo artist Katie So, depression is an ongoing battle she's accepted isn't going away anytime soon. So she decided to use it as a motivation for her work. "Even though it sucks at the time, it can be really inspiring," she says in the video above.

That inspiration has helped lead her from graphic design school to a place in the world small press comics, through which she has had the opportunity to exhibit her work internationally. From there, she honed her illustration style to the recognizable brush and ink work she is known for.

Do you want to feel and be emotionally intelligent and use that as a creative juice? Or do you want to just placidly go through life, just kind of feeling okay about everything?- Katie So, illustrator

For the past two years, Katie has applied her illustrative style to tattooing and is currently a resident artist at Black Medicine Tattoo in Vancouver's Chinatown. Whatever medium she is expressing herself in, Katie's work retains a sense of dark introspection and humour. It may come from an unwanted muse, but she's making the most of it.

(CBC Arts)

Art Minute is a new CBC Arts series taking you inside the minds of Canadian artists to hear what makes them tick and the ideas behind their work.


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