We had the good fortune of connecting with Katharine Leigh Simpson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katharine Leigh, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
For the longest time, I never considered myself to be a risk taker. It just was never a part of my frame of mind. One day while discussing a project I was currently working on with my parents, I specifically remember my Father remarking how he could never take risks the way I do. He wasn’t making a point about himself in that moment. I’ve known my father to take risks for sure. He was literally telling be about a side of my behavior that I never realized. That I was, in fact, a risk taker. I still at times have a hard time seeing it in myself. I just see what I do as making a necessary decision to try something, with the ambition to succeed, and to acheive to the greatest of my ability an end result that I am proud of. Always with the intention of learning as I go.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Even though I have been doing this my entire life, to this day I would say that what I do is not easy. To wake up every morning and have the confidence to strive towards unimaginable goals, to create magic out of thin air, is a trying feet everyday. With each large installation I create, it is like building a house while simultaneously drawing the plans. And it never fails with each new project I take on, that I yet again am building and designing in tandem. I think it is my need to create something new every time. The greatest lesson I feel I have learned through my creative process is to have faith and patience with myself. So far these virtues have not led me astray.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am an outdoors human and multiple hikes around the town would most certainly be on the list. My favorite by far is Dreamy Draw. The terrain in some spots are unexpected and house beautiful large patches of wild flowers during the Spring after a rainy winter. After that would have to be a tea and grub from Cha Cha’s Tea lounge. Atmosphere and overall vibe of a location is key to enjoing it and Cha Cha’s is the best! Grand Avenue Pizza would be lunch one day before visiting the Phoenix Art Museum and finishing the evening off with Dinner at Otro Cafe. Another day of hiking at South Mountain would find us at Carly’s Bistro after wards enjoying lunch. And one can’t go with out a breakfast at Matts Big Breakfast and a weekday public hours visit to Liberty Wildlife, a rescue and rehabilitation for wild animals…. What can I say, I Love food and being outdoors. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Huge shout out to my parents with out a doubt! With out their love and support I would not still be striving to make art every day of my life, trying to live the dream! And I’m not just talking about the hugs and kisses, I’m talking about all the times when I made no sense, when I was beyond patience and I clearly wouldn’t listen to reason and move on with my life in another direction other than art. They consistently sought to try and find ways to help me in my passion, when I myself had no clue what kind of help I needed for I was forging my own path. My parents are the best!
Jesse Paulk, Mark Short aka Fotographfx, Anna Phillips, Mesa Art Center, Jesse Paulk