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Katy Papineau

Katy Papineau | Artist Focus | 25% of sales will be donated to World Central Kitchen


We are please to be collaborating with Katy Papineau to bring you six new works on paper, fundraising for Katy's nominated charity, World Central Kitchen. The collection of new works are unique acrylic monotypes on paper. 

Katy Papineau (b.1991) is a figurative painter and art tutor who lives and works in London. Papineau filters her observations of the world through her imagination to result in an embellished depiction of ordinary life. She is concerned with themes of intimacy – the connections and disconnections between people. She works with paint that she hand mixes from dry pigment, building up areas of colour and pattern to result in a richly textured surface. 

In 2019, Papineau completed The Drawing Year at The Royal Drawing School. Since graduating she has taken part in several group shows, sold her work with Liberty London, presented for Tate, appeared on Portrait Artist of The Year, and worked on regular commissions for private clients. She teaches on the Young Artists Programme at The Royal Drawing School, and online for Elephant Academy.

"When I’m starting a body of work I tend to begin with reference images - I look for imagery from art history and film that resonates with themes I’m thinking about or emotions I’m experiencing. I also make my own reference images by photographing myself and drawing from life. The references for this collection primarily come from film, and at the time I was thinking about mirrors and bathrooms a lot. My interest in mirrors came originally from fairy stories, but over time it has gained deeper symbolism for me, related to self-awareness, different sides of an identity, portals to a different reality." Katy Papnineau

WG: I love the textual richness in your work fabricated through pattern, and layering and the interplay of warm colours that creates something so inviting and enveloping.  Would you mind talking about your use of pattern and colour choices?

KP: I love painting everyday scenes, but I do feel an urge to invent my own world, and that’s where the pattern and colour comes in. The way I use colour is quite intuitive, but sometimes when I feel in a rut with a particular palette I spend time looking at painters I admire (Miltion Avery and Paula Modersohn-Becker are a couple of favourites). I draw from life a lot – just in pencil, but I take colour notes that are there to prompt my memory and stimulate my imagination when I am painting from the drawing later on.

WG: The textual quality and intensity is still very much present in the looser brushwork and movement in your Artist Focus works compared to your paintings. The works in your Artist Focus are acrylic monoprints on hand painted paper. Can you tell us a bit more about how this process and the qualities you are drawn to within each process.

KP: The paintings are made with lots of layers of paint, whereas the monoprints are a lot more immediate. They’re so satisfying to make, because each time I peel the paper away it’s like a surprise – I can never tell exactly what they’re going to look like while I’m making them. I think that lack of control can result in much more interesting images. For example, I always manage to forget that the image will print backwards, but this often results in a more exciting composition. The acrylic I use will also be too dry to print with if I don’t work quickly, and I think the urgency of the mark-making adds a sense of buoyancy to the prints." Katy Papineau


WG:What does an average day in the studio look like? 

KP: I’m currently working from my living room. I used to be a bit obsessed with finding the optimum routine for my studio days. But now that I paint at home I don’t really have a routine anymore. Instead I try and just paint when I feel inspired to. If I have an image in mind that I want to get down, I give that priority over everything else. The rest of the time I spend on my other job (decorative painting), research, admin, and drawing. And I’m trying to be better at finding time to go swimming and go on walks. 

WG:  Do you have a clear idea of what a piece will look like or does the piece unfold itself on the paper? 

KP: It’s somewhere between the two – I like to have an idea and sketches for the composition and particularly how the light falls, because I don’t think I can make up light. And I like to plan that out the structure of the image quite carefully, trying out different compositions in several preparatory sketches. But my use of colour is more intuitive. I think there needs to be some unfolding on the paper, or I’d be bored doing the painting.

WG: The women in your works are featured solitary in quiet contemplation in everyday rituals. How important is thew idea of intimacy in your work? 

KP: I love drawing or painting people who are absorbed in a task or ritual. It might be because when people are unposed and unselfconscious I feel like I’m getting closer to their inner life, rather than something they’re projecting outwards. More recently I’ve become more interested in disconnections between people, as well as those moments of connection or intimacy.

WG: Who are the women in your work? What qualities about them are important for you to convey in you work? 

KP: I find answering this question strangely difficult! They’re not me exactly, but they’re usually vessels for thoughts that preoccupy me - almost like they’re characters acting out feelings I’m having. 


WG:Has the pandemic had an impact on your practice and if so how?

KP: Before the pandemic I had been working primarily from imagination, and it was important to me to have a story behind each piece, usually sourced from literature. During the pandemic my imagination kind of shut down and I could only really make work about what was immediately around me – people spending time inside. Now I can feel my work shifting again, becoming more rooted in imagination, but this time the stories are more personal. 

Artworks are also available to purchase with Own Art interest-free instalments, for example a work priced £315 will be paid in 10 monthly instalments of £31.50 with no deposit. If you are interested in purchasing with Own Art please email or use the Contact Us link above and we will assist you with the simple and straightforward online process. A UK delivery fee of £10 will be added to UK orders and £15 to overseas orders. Many thanks.

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