It’s Studio Sunday - this week, let’s take a look at Alex Katz’ home studio in his Manhattan loft. Check out the ultra-bright, ultra-spacious modern look of this studio. I’d love to be able to paint in a space like this!
I like how Katz has a sheet of brown paper laid out over the floor in front of these two paintings – it appears he keeps his studio neat when he isn’t painting. He also has a table covered in paint and brushes. That’s a whole lot of brushes – and they all look well-used. Katz tends to keep his paintings simple, some have even called them reductive, so chances are he could be painting with only one colour for an entire session. An open can of paint on a sheet of brown paper would simplify and streamline the painting process.
Katz is known as one of early artists to experiment with what is now modern pop art. He paints portraits and large, colourful florals with bright hues and very high contrast – white backgrounds on portraits with extreme stark shadows are a specialty of Katz’s. The portraits are not warm and emotional, but they have a certain draw to them. Katz draws some of his style inspiration from Japanese woodcuts, particularly in the sparse way he uses line. Katz is also known for his cut-out paintings, which are portraits and figures painted on aluminum or wood sheets the shape of the subject, and attached to metal posts to be able to stand freely on the floor of a gallery. This way, Katz depicts both sides (albeit two-dimensional sides) of a face or figure.