This week, the Satellite High School students took a field trip to the Pfister Hotel to visit Katie Musolff, a full-time artist working in Milwaukee, and a Satellite graduate! Katie generously let us into her studio and shared her experiences and advice, from being a Satellite high school student, to her time at MIAD (Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design), to her decision to make her art her job. Since many of the Satellite students are artists themselves, this was a great opportunity.
As the Pfister’s Artist in Residence this year, Katie is painting a total of six portraits of staff in the Hotel, all in an open studio where Hotel guests and visitors can come in and interact with her. A portrait painter, she spends about 20 hours with each of her sitters, getting to know them so that their personality is embedded in the finished work. In response to a question from one of the students about her decision to make art full-time, despite warnings of becoming a starving artist, Katie explained how she became successful: a combination of saving money, balancing commissions and personal artwork, and the importance of being confident in oneself as an artist. She even showed us a recent painting of her father, a weapons buff, done in Renaissance style, all in grays—that is, in grisaille, a term she first learned in Satellite years ago.
The class had a great time on our field trip. Many thanks to Katie! Make sure you stop into the Pfister sometime to see Katie’s work—she’s in her first-floor Hotel studio Thursdays through Sundays.
Chelsea Emelie Kelly was the Museum’s Manager of Digital Learning. In addition to working on educational technology initiatives like the Kohl’s Art Generation Lab and this blog, she oversaw and taught teen programs.