Hey all! For this latest interview, I spoke with my girl Katie Macyshyn. Let me just start out by saying that she is the bomb and is one of the coolest girls I know. Every since we met, she has been really supportive of me and my work. She is also really nice, quirky, creative, and just simply a really awesome person. Anyways, Katie is a DC based artist, reigning from New Jersey. She recently graduated with the Corcoran College of Art + Design and works in mediums such as time-based media, and performance art. She has exhibited work through the Washington, DC area, including the Corcoran Museum.
One more thing that I love about Katie is that, like Rose, her sense of style is fierce. She wears what she wants, when she wants to- and it totally works. Katie’s style is seriously unpredictable and that is one of the reasons why I was compelled to reach out to her for an interview.
Here we go!
Who are you and what do you do? (You can answer this question in any way that you desire!)
I’m an artist, originally from New Jersey, and recent grad of the Corcoran College of Art + Design. I make artwork and practice Youtube makeup tutorials when I’m not pattering away at the computer, interning at WPA, or waiting tables.
Can you tell me a little bit about your art? Do you work in any other mediums besides performance art and time-based media?
I’m going to start with the question about materials. My initial reaction to asking if I work in other mediums besides time-based ones would be YEA GIRL but when I think more about it I haven’t made a sculpture or 2D work for its own sake in the longest aside from assignments. I like to paint, use papier mâché, make soft sculptures, and do needlework but usually these are meant to be used as props and later, residue. I’m a story teller in the way that all the things I make exist in a universe. They’re actors in my plays. I’m not a body artist who wears all black or white and performs in a clean gallery space or theater, though I do respect and take cues from these approaches. My performances need a world and I need to work with my hands to create it. I think the strength and absurdity of my performances come from my hand-made props, backdrops, and costume more than my physical presence or manipulation of a camera.
Does your sense of style influence your art? Does your art influence your sense of style?
Most definitely. I think my style influences my art in that my style has helped me to not shy away from having lots of eyes on me. I am a pretty laid back person and never feel the need to be the center of attention, but if you look wild enough all eyes fall on you, and you have to own up to your style choices and come out of your shell. My art influences my style in that it makes me curious about stepping into someone else’s skin. Being an actor might be the best job in the world because with method acting you can go on a vacation and completely become someone else for a time. The body and identity are so malleable. Depending on how I look a certain day, my interaction with the world is totally changed. In a certain outfit, wig, or makeup, a different part of myself is amplified which in turn effects how external forces react to me. In a certain outfit I’ll have a different bounce or slink to my walk, look strangers square in the eye or look away, and even listen to different music. As everyone says, confidence is key. If you own it, any look can appear stylish because people are responding to your attitude.
What performance piece are you most proud of in terms of your ensemble and why?
I’m probably most proud of my Kuato bra I made with a rubber mold out of silicone. It was my first time using this process so I was happy it cured! I tend to keep my armpit hair very long. For the piece I cut it all off, put it in a sandwich bag, and used a filed down sewing needle to press the hairs into the silicone Kuato faces one at a time. The bra has my essence in it which makes it a little bit like my child. I performed the piece with bathing suit bottoms, a bad fake tan, 80s eyebrows, and Jessica Simpson heels.
Can you talk a little bit about your upcoming show Quiet Cabaret?
Yes, thank you for asking! Quiet Cabaret is going to be an extravaganza of performance and new media artworks which will have the soundtrack for each piece streamed through the audience’s smartphone. The artists all come from different disciplines so it’ll be quite the variety show. It’s February 15th from 6-9 at Furthermore, 52 O St NW.
Do you have a “style?” If so, can you describe what it is?
Honestly most days I don’t wear makeup, wash my hair, or get dressed up at all. I just look like I have a sense of style on the internet. On my scrubby days I like to think “I look totally crazy, but there’s something European about it.” This is how I justify most of my outfits.
What influences your sense of style?
My newest style adventure is wearing wigs – as inspired by Cher.
Who are some of your fashion icons?
Leigh Bowery, Nina Hagen, Divine, tumblr punks, and many more drag queens, pop stars, and swaggy old ladies.
What decade do you think had the best fashion? Why?
It’s so hard to pick the best. Hmmm. It probably sounds funny but I like the fashion of the late 90s. I think that was the point where everything had already been done and so it became cool to borrow and mix and match from other eras but was also incredibly campy. In the 90s, mod and lounge lizard wear was on trend. On the other end of the spectrum there was grunge and Matrix-esque apocalypse fashion. Some of the hip hop stuff was pretty cool too. This was all main stream and happening simultaneously. Something about the sub genres of today’s fashion don’t seem nearly as dramatic and fun to me.
Where do you typically shop? Any favorite local spots?
What’s shopping? I find my clothes on the roadside basically. Most of my favorite items were gifts. When people know you’re a clothing junkie they give you things. I’ve gotten some incredible vintage this way. D.C. shopping is hard because the prices are hiked up and most things are thoroughly picked over, but you can still find stuff on the cheap if you have the patience. When I do have some cash I 1. set a budget, 2. break the budget on shoes. For shoe-shopping, I love the Nordstrom Rack in Friendship Heights and Urban Outfitters. For basics I like to go to Unique in Merrifield. My all-around favorite is the Buffalo Exchange in Georgetown. The stuff there is practically new and the staff is awesome.
Where do you find the garments that you wear in your performance artworks? After you wear them for a performance piece, do you use them in your daily wardrobe?
Totally. I consider performances a justified reason to buy nice things.
Have you ever made your own clothing? If you haven’t is that something you would like to explore in the future?
Make seems a little involved for me but I do alter clothing, often. I really like to change up shoes the most. You can buy a cheap pair, get some rhinestones and E6000 glue, or some acrylic paint or spray paint and tape, and voila! your shoes look like a million bucks. I have so many clothing projects I want to do. For that reason I planned this event Sunday March 9, at SCRAP DC in Brookland! Please come. http://www.eventbrite.com/e/diy-wardrobe-overhaul-tickets-10597255677
Do you have any DC style crushes? Any style crushes in general? If you could borrow clothing from anyone’s wardrobe in DC, who would it be and why?
This one’s hard because I don’t want to be creepy. She doesn’t know me but I’m going to go with Victoria F. Gaitán. I met her at a Conner show a few years ago. I was a little tipsy and could not stop staring. The woman is gorgeous. I think I even touched her necklaces or something embarrassing. It’s always nice to see someone with a personal style and she definitely stands out from a crowd.
So yeah, Katie has curated this really intriguing performance art event called Quiet Cabaret happeningTHIS SATURDAY at Furthermore ( in the 52 O Street Studios), 52 O Street NW, Washington, DC. Doors at 5:30PM, Performances from 6-9PM .
Here is a description of what is is about:
“A project curated by Katie Macyshyn at Furthermore.The Quiet Cabaret will be a night of essentially silent performances.
The core idea is to assemble a diverse group of performances that are forcefully mediated by technology; performances that would be otherwise direct, LOUD experiences. The only thing the audience needs to get in the door is to bring a smartphone with earbuds. An obvious example of an act that can play with that idea might be a metal band. Typically, their audience would either hear them loud in a live context [up to 11] or through earbuds when listening to recordings on the metro [again, up to 11.] What happens when the onstage thrashing skips the amps and goes straight to headphones?”
Also, check out this write up about Quiet Cabaret on Peri0d.
See you there! Xoxoxox