As a plucky six-year-old girl, Cleveland native and creative Katy Kosman knew she wanted to be an artist when a first grade teacher posted her drawing of a bunny on the wall.
Now as a plucky adult, Katy has pursued her illustrative talents on a much more intimate scale. A self-described black sheep in her family, Katy isn’t one to shy from touchy or taboo subjects, using art as a window into her observational mind and occasionally as a vicarious outlet against depression. Each piece she produces tells an instant story, combining bold drawings and text with an exceptionally clever sense of humor.
In 2015, Katy teamed up with publisher and clothing company Valley Cruise Press out of Los Angeles for the release of her first book, Dear Vodka. The elegantly raw black and white publication is a candid diary of Katy’s blissfully sarcastic perspective pervading over 60 pages of meme-y squigglings rife with both hilarious and heartbreaking witticisms. Valley Cruise has also brandished her iconic art on pins, patches, sculptures, greeting cards, and T-shirts. Perhaps the most popular, created in hometown-loving reverence, is her “Keep Cleveland Shitty” hoodies, an edgy new inside joke for long-time Clevelanders.
In the summer of 2016, Katy was honored to be a part of the Inter|Urban public art project spanning along the Red Line Rapid. She was one of 19 artists selected to help adorn the city walls with a varied display of massive eye-popping murals. Katy’s contribution depicts a puffy rain cloud containing the quote “Don’t be too happy, you’ll get soft.” Shortly after completing the project, Katy traveled to San Francisco for a month-long showcase of her work at Park Life gallery, celebrating the limited release of her newest book, Ha Ha Ha, aptly titled within the confines of a Venn diagram.
As evident in both Dear Vodka and Ha Ha Ha, part of the magic in Katy Kosman’s concoction of words and doodles is her ability to take symbols, figures, and common public access imagery and inject them with her signature sardonic attitude. Whether it be a heart with the message, “I like you when I’m sober” or a clock that reads, “No time for your shit,” Katy is able to talk about very real, emotional, occasionally dark subject matter in a context in which you’re inclined to laugh in response. Drawn from Katy’s own experience and imagination, each piece is a thought provoking, giggle-inducing visual quip.
Selections of Katy’s work is available at valleycruisepress.com and at her former studio and local gallery Canopy Collective Cleveland. Some of her art has also been carried by Urban Outfitters, PacSun, and Nasty Gal. Going forward, Katy plans to keep pushing further down the same path, working on more books, murals, designs, and gallery shows. Starting Nov. 18, you can find Katy with her fellow artsy wordsmith Erin Guido at artist Mike Sobek’s 3204 Studios downtown. Check out Katy’s art right now at katykosman.com and have a few laughs while you gain some fresh perspective.