Katy Warner  <deathundothee>

Statement of Intent
(Or: Shortest Graduate Thesis Ever)

My body of work acknowledges the underrepresented artists that live all around us. From the tween who draws homages to her favorite pop stars, to the DMV clerk who works on constructing a language every night, these individuals express the emotions and arduous drive that professional artists possess, but they are not recognized in the same way as I might be from my standing as an MFA recipient. Art that is created for self-fulfillment by non-professionals does not follow the same rules because it is not formally critiqued. I want my work to embody that. At the same time I want there to be an access point for those who may not understand the subcultures that these obsessive artists inhabit. My approach is to create characters that function as a proxy to myself and provide an additional layer of narrative to my semi-biographical pieces. 

One of my characters is Maxine Heeding, who has retreated from time and social interaction to focus on writing her fantasy narrative "Written and Illustrated By," which is heavily influenced by Japanese anime of the 1990's. I have designed her studio apartment under the assumption that her passions are contained in that space, and that she has devoted all of her energy to a world of her construction. Eating, sleeping and working a nine-to-five job are just means to that end. Her room is rife with a confounding array of chalk diagrams, hastily scribbled plot notes on Post-its and colorful journal paper, deteriorating concept drawings, and aged furnishings that illustrate her priorities. 

The other character is deathundothee, the experimental linguist and rock and roll fangirl that is my web video identity. I become a part of one of my videos by transforming into a silhouette against a rear projection screen, yelling the lyrics of "Common People" by Pulp as the screen shows a high-contrast rebus corresponding with the song. The viewer must trust that my loud and gesticulative translation is true, since the rebus itself flashes by too quickly to be read in real time. Here the obsessive system I have developed is being illustrated via audio and video, but it is not being explained, for that would defeat the purpose of creating a system for my own satisfaction. The contrast between the cultures of fan art and gallery art are what I am examining by presenting this work. I am a part of both subcultures, but I am creating a hybridization of both forms of art making. Professionals polish for the standards of the art world, isolated creatives develop their own miniature utopia. Between the two is the underrepresented and misunderstood place that I inhabit, and that is the land I want others to tread.

Born 1986 in Roseburg, OR, USA
Resides in McKinleyville, CA, USA

Curriculum Vitae


MFA in Studio Arts, 2013;
Mills College, Oakland, CA. 

BFA with Honors, 2009, Individualized Degree;
California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA.

Areas of Specialization: Media Arts, Digital Drawing


Katy Warner and Madelyn Covey Geek Out at the Sanctuary

Mills College MFA Exhibition, a 'Compound Vision'

"Compound Vision" 2013 MFA Exhibition at Mills College Art Museum

DRIP festival showcases films, animations