When I first met Katherine Moffett, I was at a dear friend’s birthday dinner, and she was hired to draw every guest at the table in their unique outfits. I thought to myself, how will she draw all of us in such a short period of time? When it was my turn, I stood for her, and in less than five minutes, she had miraculously created the perfect depiction of me that evening. I was impressed! I went to visit her at her workspace downtown, and saw all of her art on the walls, and I couldn’t get over her talent. She sees people in a magnificent way, always making each portrait a fun, lively, version with pops of color. I recently used the family portrait she gifted me as a holiday card, and it was my favorite yet! I highly suggest Katherine for upcoming holiday and New Year cards, as it’s a refreshing take on the typical family photo. She also has a beautiful line of handmade cards and wallpapers she’s designed for purchase.
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
Coming up on three years as an independent designer and artist.
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
I knew I wanted to be a designer as a kid, but I really fell in love with drawing and painting at the School of Visual Arts. One day at an internship, I discovered the book, Marimekko: Fashion, Fabrics and Architecture. It clicked for me that that you could design a whole world, and that the things in it could stem from your own artwork. Marimekko created such excitement with their bold patterns. It encouraged women to BE bold and to mix timely design into their lives.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
I definitely care about creating beauty, but I also equally care about the emotion and meaning pieces convey. I never want to just leave it at style or match an existing trend.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
I always look to the work of David Hockney. He never rested on his laurels with what he was doing. He was always on to the next thing. I feel as long as an artist’s life does not become stagnant, neither will the output! Luckily living in this city, it is easy to stay curious about things and envision the future. In addition to drawing and painting individual works, I also am creating a collection of things for home and lifestyle. I recently launched my first wallpapers and am just about to release a line of holiday cards. Each new season is an invitation to think anew about what I’m doing and where I’m headed.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
I hope to provide clients with delight, but also create a heightened sense of thoughtfulness in what surrounds them. A lot of what I make is inspired by aesthetics of the past, and my curiosity about history, art movements, music, subcultures. I want the subjects I choose to be different, interesting and enriching for the those interacting with my work.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Getting inspired, being in the creative flow, seeing the vision manifest, and not having to be in a stifling corporate environment.
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
Not sure if it is a major secret, but my husband proposed at Bar Sixty-five on the sixty-fifth floor of 30 Rock. It is only open during the week and it looks like an intact Art Deco masterpiece (I love Art Deco!) Its a way to get the view of the Rainbow Room for only the price of a martini.
How do you benefit mamas?
I hope for my future children to grow up in a society that is equally created and depicted by women, so I’m starting by utilizing my own feminine eye.
I also believe that by surrounding the family with creative and meaningful things (like artwork or playfully designed wallpaper, pillows, and stationery!) the family is encouraged to be creative themselves.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
It's fun to work with a client that is a little more of a maximalist. I usually tend towards minimalism, but with a little push, I find ways to add things and make something a little more wild or different. A healthy collaboration is just the best.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field.
So grateful to my co-working space in Chinatown, Based-in. It's filled with creative collaborators from architects to start-ups, and they tolerate me sprinkling the place with colored pencils and drawings.
A frequent collaborator, Amy Morris and Anna Polonsky of The MP Shift design fabulous and trail-blazing interiors for restaurants and hospitality.
One of my closest friends, Jackie Klempay, is forging a vital part of the contemporary art scene downtown with her gallery, Situations on Henry Street.
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
About six years ago my then boyfriend, now husband, gave me the advice to study the people I admire. I had only been doing this casually before, but I got serious, made a list, started reading biographies and hunting down details. This practice provides major motivation and helps in defining next steps.
In addition, I am always quoting advice from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, THE guide to living a fulfilling, creative life.
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
Not a mom yet, but my best trick comes from a childrens' chapter book! From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is about a girl who hides out in the Met and is solving an ancient Italian art mystery and at some crucial point of the story the character essentially says, “Five minutes of planning is worth fifteen minutes of doing."