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All Good Things 

Artist Katie Daisy is wild and free

A few years ago I met a gal. I was officiating a wedding and she was the maid of honor. It was my birthday, so after the ceremony we went downtown to get some drinks and ended up hitting it off swimmingly. Much later that night, we found ourselves in Tin Pan Alley, drunkenly stumbling through the town looking for some shenanigans to get into. A few moments later we were standing in front of the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection, specifically a beautiful painting of a quote from Henry David Thoreau that said "All Good Things Are Wild and Free." We laughed at how true that was for us in the moment and shared our first kiss under that painting as the cool September air blew around us. It was magical.

She and I didn't stay together, but it was a relationship helped by the magic of that kiss under that painting. I always told myself I would thank the painter when I got a chance and now I finally have the chance. All of Katie Daisy's art has the power to enrapture its viewers, if not with the quote or saying that she is working with, then with the deceptively simple blend of colors, simultaneously realistic and heightened.

Her book, "How to be a Wildflower," is an old school field guide. At turns whimsical and carefree, it's also a poignant reminder not to let "adulthood" get in the way of exploration. I had a chance to ask Katie Daisy a few questions about her process, her life and another thing or two. Here is our interview.

The Source Weekly: Tell me more about your new book.

Katie Daisy: "How to Be a Wildflower" is an art book directly inspired by my beautiful encounters with nature. It's a 208-page book full of illustrated quotes, identification charts, recipes, meditations, and lists of simple everyday pleasures. The book is loosely divided into four sections: Wander, Gather, Savor, and Ponder, but it's meant to be opened to any page for a dose of inspiration.

SW: What is it about the art-lit medium that draws you in?

KD: Though there is a good amount of writing in "How to be a Wildflower," it's definitely more about the artwork and imagery throughout. I'm a painter first, so an art book seemed like the perfect fit for my work. My publisher, Chronicle Books, has published so many inspiring art books by some of my favorite artists. I'm honored to be in their company and reach a wide audience.

SW: What are some of your early connections with art and what made you decide it was your calling?

KD: I've been drawing for as long as I remember. At restaurants, my mom would always bring crayons or pens in her purse. I'd flip over the paper placemats and let my imagination run wild. Not much has changed; I'm still doodling on everything I can. I've known since high school that art was what I wanted to do as a profession, but growing up in a tiny farm town didn't really cater to this dream. Luckily I had several teachers and mentors who helped point me in the right direction of making art my career. By the end of high school I had my own line of stationery (printed at a local mom & pop shop) and had been accepted into art school.

SW: How has your style evolved to what it is now?

KD: At first, my style was greatly influenced by darker elements. I was really inspired by Tim Burton and generally creepy things. It couldn't be more different now! I think my style adapts to my surroundings. I now paint prairie-inspired florals and quotes that make me think of home. The current themes in my work are Wonder and Magic. And perhaps it's always been that way, but with different subject matter. Through art, I try to uncover the magic hidden in cracks and dark places, or places that we might find unstimulating or boring. I love finding beauty in the simple things that surround us.

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