In The Style Of

Katie Powell Brickman

Meet Katie Powell Brickman, abstract artist, mother, and lover of color!

How would you describe your style?

If I were a donut I’d be strawberry frosted with sprinkles. 

If I were a plant I’d be a coral geranium.  Not the red, not the hot pink, the coral lipstick one.

If I were an object in a museum I'd want to be that giant Calder mobile in the entrance at the National Gallery in Washington, DC.

If I could choose something in my mom's jewelry box, I'd pick the red and blue bracelet that my brother made her out of clay in art class in the 1970's. 

Do you have any favorite "looks?"

Long, sundresses that look like nightgowns or baggie pants that look like pajama bottoms, a little t-shirt and a comfy cardigan. I guess I lean toward things that make me look as short as possible.

What is hanging on your wall?

In my dreams:  An Ellsworth Kelly and a Helen Frankenthaler. Big ones!

In real life: My art! I started painting because I wanted to fill our house with big shapes of bright saturated colors and couldn’t afford the Frankenthalher’s and the Kelly’s so I got going and made my own…Hopefully my family likes them, because they are literally everywhere. 

Also on my wall are framed Interview Magazines from the 1980’s and a giant blue swordfish that my father-in-law caught. 

What can’t you live without?

Summer.

What could you do without?

Winter. 

Last book you read?

Every Room Should Sing by Beata Heuman 

How to Think Like a Fish by Jeremy Wade - This summer I will catch the elusive brown trout on a fly line. 

Last song you listened to?

'Sunshine Daydream’

What’s the last interesting thing you saw?

60 Minutes segment on The James Webb Telescope: Do you know there are somewhere between 100 and 200 billion galaxies in the universe? 

What’s the last interesting thing you heard?

Emma Chamberlain’s Anything Goes. Emma is adorable and funny and honest and chic. Her podcast is a stream of consciousness and keeps company and focused when I paint.

Also the Dialogues by David Zwirner episode with Ellie Rhines and Jerry Saltz. They're an odd couple so it was very funny. 

Ellie is a young gallerist in New York who owns 56 Henry a tiny space for emerging artists in Chinatown and Jerry is a legendary art critic who was a long distance truck driver for 10 years before he started his career writing for the Village Voice and now for New York Magazine.

What is your favorite color?

Yellow. Bright, not butter.

What is your favorite dish? 

Kristen Kennedy Special. A cheesy casserole with Pillsbury biscuits from the 1980’s named after my sister’s friend from high school who invented it. And ice cream bars.

Do you have any heirloom pieces passed down from your parents?

Our entire house is decorated with hand-me-downs… but now I’m going to start calling them heirlooms!  A couple favorites:

A pretty sofa from my grandmother (who would be 123 now) that I recovered in a leopard print

A giant tortoise shell which belonged to my husband’s grandparents

Little rattan garden chairs from my mother-in-law 

And my Dad’s books, lots of books…

But recently my mom starting giving me silver serving pieces that she and my dad received as wedding gifts over 60 years ago. I’m so excited to have them now...although I’m wondering if she is hinting that it’s my turn to start hosting holiday dinners?

Do you and your children share any personal style traits?

My kids both have really adorable personal style, IMO. Powell is a golfer so he’s typically in striped collared shirts and he doesn’t complain about wearing the red, blue or green golf shorts that I bring home for him. He likes surfing too so he’s a Van’s guy. Louise loves bright colors. Her high school formal dresses always had a ruffle or a puff skirt - but she is in California now and is definitely leaning into the relaxed West Coast beach vibe. 

How do you encourage self expression and confidence?

I’m going to pack as many parenting cliches into this one as possible: I love that Louise and Powell put themselves in the arena, they aren’t afraid to fail, they ask for the order, they shoot for the stars, and they give everything 100% - and a little more. The cool thing is that they are both ok if things don’t go their way because they know the most important thing is to put themselves out there and give it a whirl. They have had great experiences, met supportive and inspiring people, friends, coaches and mentors because they do all of the above and for that I am so grateful - and proud!

What is your favorite thing about being a mom? 

Just reading that question makes me teary. I think that means that being a Mom to Louise and Powell is who I was meant to be at the deepest, deepest level. There is literally nothing I would rather do than hang out with them.  

What is your favorite pastime?

Laying down in a lawn chair in our backyard with Louise. Or sitting on a towel at First Point watching Powell surf. 

What is your favorite piece in your wardrobe? 

An old Brooks Brothers shirt from a resale shop. I cut the sleeves, made it a Peter Pan collar and sewed eyelet around the trim. It’s sooooo worn and soooo soft. It also has paint on it. 

What Brings You Joy?

Those birds that fly really close to the ground on a golf course in the late afternoon during the summer.

Opening a fresh jar of paint or face cream for the first time. 

Sparkly light on the Pacific Ocean. 

The silhouette of a tall palm tree against the sky at sunset. 

A dinner table with Joe and Louise and Powell. 

What's on your coffee table right now?

Shel Silverstein’s A Light In The Attic

A little silver bowl of Dum Dum lollipops 

A backgammon board. 

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