Week 5 – Artist Conversation – Description of a Struggle

Artist: Katia Swihart

Exhibit: Gatov West Gallery

Media: Drawing & Painting

Instagram: N/A

Website: N/A

About Artist 

Katia Swihart is an undergraduate student here at Long Beach and is in the School of Art’s Painting and Drawing program. Swihart is currently in her last year of college and is working towards a Bachelor in Studio Art. Swihart always had a passion for art since she was very little. Swiharts said that her passion grew over the years because of her father’s inspiration. Most of the artwork found in her exhibit were inspired by her father.

Formal Analysis

Swihart’s exhibit consists of multiple canvases and props. Both, the canvases and the props, consists of collages that are made with materials like comic book clippings, yarn, cloth, etc. Swihart’s artwork is also made up of bright colors which helped give life to the canvases and the props. One piece that stood out the most was the torn up mattress. This mattress was covered with comic book clippings in the ares that were torn and the rest of it was colored in with markers. Overall, Swihart’s artwork stayed consistent with her idea of creating art through collages that helped make a connection with her.

Content Analysis

Swihart’s exhibit takes us on a journey through her childhood as she grows up. Some of the props that she uses in her exhibit gave us a sense to how she grew up. For example, she uses props that are mostly found at fast food industries. These props helped represent an important part of her life because they show that she gained work experience and that allowed her to grow as a person. Although Swihart’s artwork focuses on different eras in her life, her artwork also represnts the relationship she had with her father. Swihart’s father was a huge influential character to her and is mostly the reason why she continues to paint. One of the things that stuck with her as she painted was his arrogance and his big ego. Swihart said, “My father never really sees me as the image that he wanted me to be.” In other words, she admits that her father never saw her intellect as high as his. However, this did not stop Swihart from painting, it only inspired her to keep pursuing her dream of becoming an artist.

My Experience

I personally enjoyed looking at Swihart’s exhibit. What I enjoyed the most was the bright colors she used throughout her artwork. In my opinion, the bright colors made her collages stand out more and made it easier to distinguish them from the object she used to paint on. I also really enjoyed that she used her childhood as a theme. As I walked through the gallery I was able to get a good idea of what she liked doing as she grew up and that was what I really enjoyed overall. Swihart’s exhibit allowed me to make a connection with her not only as an artist, but as a person as well.


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