June 3, 2024
4 min read

Into the mind of artist & illustrator Katie Benn

Katie Benn's art and illustrations are somehow both poignant and lighthearted. After stumbling upon several of her drawings online, we were curious to know the mind behind them — a mind we quickly discovered is as hopeful, colorful and tender as the work she creates.

What’s the best compliment you received recently?

I live on an old property out in the country where a lot of wildlife passes through. The other day, I was out in the backyard and a deer was laying in the grass about four feet from me, made eye contact and just stared at me. Whenever I can capture the calm attention of a wild animal, it feels like a compliment. 

What’s the last thing you read?

"Italian Folk Magic" by Mary-Grace Fahrun. I’ve been reading it in tandem with "Nuns Behaving Badly: Tales of Music, Magic, Art and Arson in the Convents in Italy" by Craig A. Monson, the latter being extra fascinating pertaining to the history of 16th century Italy. I love nonfiction and I enjoy pairing books to read in tandem that have a way of informing each other. 

What do you want to read next?

I have had the same copy of Buckminster Fuller’s "Intuition" for many years. I’ve reread it a few times. Though not an easy read, I always get something new from it, and I think I’m due for another pass. 

To find this book later in your mind, search "books" or "Intuition."

A quote that’s meaningful to you?

Right click an image to save it to your mind. Long press on mobile.

Best gift you’ve ever given?

I think the best gifts we give others are often intangible and generally unknowable. So often the best gifts we receive, if we think about it, are chance encounters with the right thing at the right time, and I think we offer that to each other constantly without thinking — love, making someone laugh when they’re starved of it, introducing a new way of looking at something, randomly sharing a kind word. For instance the deer I mentioned earlier that just calmly looked at me for an extended period of time — that was a gift.

Where do you want to travel to next?

There’s a beautiful, almost weightless place that I took a monorail to in a dream once. I’ve always wanted to return. 

What would you buy, if money weren’t an issue?

World Peace (or the closest I could feasibly get to it). It seems the people that move to block it at every turn might need to be paid off. 

"If there are circumstances that are painful that we cannot change, we must soak in them, feel it all, and allow ourselves to make a food of it, somehow."

What hobby would you take up, if you had the time?

I’d like to be swimming at least once a day. Wish I had the time and place to do that. 

What’s an image or piece of art you can’t get out of your head?

I love old films. I watched David Lean’s "Brief Encounter" recently and it knocked me out. I keep thinking about it. I read some article criticizing how the film luxuriates the pain of love having come into one’s life at the wrong time, but truly, particularly as an artist, if there are circumstances that are painful that we cannot change, we must soak in them, feel it all, and allow ourselves to make a food of it, somehow. And I love how this was depicted in the film — Celia Johnson’s character, specifically. 

Click the + button in your browser to save the link above as a movie, or share it to your mind on mobile.

A product of any kind you’ve been appreciating lately?

Siete Sea Salt Potato Chips. A perfect product. 

The funniest thing you’ve seen or heard lately?

I don’t know how else to say it, but I’ve gotten really into apples this year. I saw this comic by Josh Mecouch recently and it was like looking into a mirror: 

Search any word appearing in a meme or comic to find it later in your mind.

If you could build an extension of your own mind, what would it look like? How would it work?

An extension of my own mind, if I were tasked with building such a thing, would likely be designed after something found in nature. Something ephemeral yet returning, materialized by earthly elements similar to those that comprise a rainbow. And because man-made things like codes can be broken and brass locks can be picked, I’d like the extension of my mind to require some life-affirming elements working in concert to be unlocked—like rainwater, sunshine, and the pure intentions of an observer with the potential for understanding and awe.


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Save what matters to you and keep moving forward. As simple and beautiful as that.

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