Kathryn Macnaughton; Multi-disciplinary Artist, Toronto
Artist Kathryn Macnaughton is a music lover, vintage magazine collector, and a deep soul. She successfully fuses provocative images, abstract shapes and forms, and bodacious illustrations into a fluid and exciting contemporary mash up of visuals. She paints, she draws, she does collage, and seamlessly incorporates digital into her mix as well. Her diverse portfolio sees her regularly creating illustrations for fashion and lifestyle clients like FASHION Magazine, The Hudson Bay Co. and book covers for Penguin Publishing, as well as her own exhibitions that are erotic and boundary pushing in the best possible way. Her depictions of the female form and social commentary are entrancing; vivid colours, pop culture references, and cheeky details that truly paint a portrait of what is going on in media and in life today. Her beautiful, poignant, and sexy body of work can only be really appreciated by seeing the work itself, and noticing its diverse spectrum. Here we get to chat with the artist about her journey in art, new bands, and how she’d spend the perfect Saturday.
Can you tell us a little about your journey into art and what it’s like being an artist in Toronto? I’ve always wanted to be an artist. It runs in my family. My dad went to Ontario College of Art and Design and I did too. I got my degree in design there and I’ve been working as a freelance illustrator for almost 8 years now. Crazy! I started painting (abstract) on the side a few years ago and I’ve been extremely busy with that now, so my illustration has taken a bit of a step back.
Can you describe the Toronto art scene? It’s hard when you’re in it. My perception is probably not accurate. There are so many pockets within the art scene in Toronto so it’s very difficult to describe. Everyone is really friendly and encouraging. The artists in the city really love to stick together and support one another.
Whose work are you admiring lately? Can you turn us onto a couple new artists?
Camille Henrot – Oscar Murillo – Melike Kara
How do you think your work has evolved from say 5 years ago? Drastically! I wasn’t painting large abstract paintings five years ago. Both my illustration and paintings have also become way more minimal. I think the work has definitely matured over the years.
Can you walk through your ideal Saturday in Toronto? It’s actually Saturday today as I answer these questions. I asked myself that exact question when I woke up this morning! I have a bit of free time on my hands this weekend and I thought to myself I could do anything and all I want to do is paint. It’s nice to get out for a bit and socialize with some friends, grab a coffee and paint for a bit. I need to be doing something creative everyday.
Where can we usually find you drinking, lounging and eating out? Hmmm….. I go to a bar down the street from me called Loveless that I love. It’s great for meetings, catching up with friends, and hanging out. Never too busy. Comfortable and very chill. My favourite restaurants in Toronto would have to be Foxley and Bar Isabel. Also down the street from me. The ceviche is heavenly.
What music are you into these days? Yesterday, two incredible albums came out and I’m obsessed. I have a feeling I’ll be listening to both these albums on repeat for months! They are also both canadian! wooh! Majid Jordan and Junior Boys. GO LISTEN.
Do you work across all your mediums simultaneously or find yourself getting stuck into one of three? I usually focus on one. Especially when I’m working on a series. There is a bit of crossover sometimes. It’s nice to take a break. It keeps the work fresh, otherwise I get burnt out pretty quickly.
Where are you finding inspiration these days? Do you have a Muse? Recently I’ve noticed that my inspiration is coming from Arizona. My parents live in Scottsdale six months out of the year and I usually go down for a few weeks in the winter. My colour palette has really changed since going there. My work used to be more chaotic, but the starkness of Scottsdale (i.e the strip malls, highways, and pail colours) have really influenced my work. I get so inspired. I love the flatness.
A few descriptors of your work include – bodacious, arousal and romance – can you add three more to that list?
form – organised chaos – lust
You regularly work with fashion magazines, are you a follower of fashion? And what are your go to designers if so? Yes. I love fashion. When I graduated from high school I really wanted to be a fashion designer. I applied to a few schools but I got on the waiting list, so OCAD it was! I’m so out of the loop on fashion right now. I wear the same thing everyday; White tshirt and jeans, but I appreciate the fashion world and I get really inspired by it. I was always a huge Alexander McQueen fan. He was my idol.
For more information on KMAC visit