Disrupting your life to do what you love is, simply put, daunting. Luckily, that didn't stop local artist Katie Summerrow from taking her leap of faith last March.
We’ve heard so many inspiring pivot stories from people whose careers were derailed during the pandemic. And Katie Summerrow’s (@katiemax.art) story is no exception. It was March 2020, the height of the pandemic, when the born-and-raised Atlantan lost her job due to COVID-19. But the inspiring mind decided to turn that hardship into a blessing, finally taking the jump to turn a longtime hobby into a career. “I had been painting home commissions for people for six months at that point, wanting to turn my side hustle into a full-time gig, but I wasn’t sure of the right timing to jump,” shares Summerrow. Luckily for the University of Georgia grad, she was surrounded by a quarantine crew who all decided to chase their wildest dreams when life was most uncertain. “When you’re surrounded by that kind of energy, it’s easy to take risks and run after your goals,” recalls Summerrow. “When I launched into full time, I was immediately overwhelmed by support from family and friends. I’ve been flooded with commissions ever since and haven’t looked back,” she adds.
A lot has changed for Summerrow and her career since then. Hot off the launch of two ubersuccessful sold-out collections (one of which sold out in a matter of hours), the busy young artist has just signed the lease for her first studio space. Now, she’s gearing up for the release of her new collection of paintings this August. “My new work is expressive abstract inspired by music and lyrics,” says Summerrow. Each of the artist’s collections is inspired by one song, which influences the color palette, while each individual piece is an interpretation of a specific song or lyric. Her most recent series, dubbed Where the Light Is, was inspired by the one and only John Mayer. “He ends the live version of his song ‘Gravity’ with the pleading words ‘Keep me where the light is,’” starts Summerrow. “This collection is about our own search for light… light that keeps us out of the darkness and gives us vision to see the beauty around us,” she continues.
Summerrow’s new works of art were also inspired by color harmonies, something she drew from having recently been certified in color psychology. Boasting color tones of the Mediterranean—think the gentle tranquility of Santorini blue combined with the healing and peacefulness of olive tree green mingled with warm and sophisticated terra cotta—the entire series of paintings features beautiful harmonious tones. “There’s something so fresh and magical about Santorini and the Mediterranean, and I wanted to embody that feeling in this collection of work,” adds the artist.
Up next for the creative mind? “I can see myself incorporating new creative elements to my process thanks to being surrounded by so much creative diversity in my first studio space,” she shares. Whatever it is, we have no doubt it’ll be a masterpiece.
Photography by: Preston Summerrow, edits by Garrett Lobaugh, styled by Candace Mauck