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Portrait of an Artist: Katherine Page ’23

September 23, 2022

Courtesy of Katherine Page
KATHERINE'S CATALOG: Katherine Page '23 is not only a three-sport athlete but also a versatile artist. She creates collages and recently made a short film that was featured in the Our New Gold competition.

When explaining her current art style, Katherine Page ’23 described it as “preschool-classroom-esque,” a modest label for work characterized by joyful explosions of color and themes that draw upon scientific discovery, music and social commentary.

For Page, the process is just as exuberating as the final product. For the May 2021 eARTh exhibition in the Roux Center for the Environment, she constructed a jellyfish out of dining hall takeout bags. The project began as a creative experiment in size and material that developed in her dorm room.

Courtesy of Katherine Page
JELLYBAGS: The final result of Page's project for May 2021 eARTh exhibition in the Roux Center for the Environment.

“I was fidgeting with the plastic bag when I lived in Ladd and we were watching TV,” Page said. “I was pulling the plastic and I was like, this looks like jellyfish tentacles. Obviously then I was like, now I need to make a full jellyfish.”

Page has launched into an artistic collaboration with Thando Khumalo ’23 who has the same sparkling fervor for art. Khumalo, a singer-songwriter, enlisted Page’s talents for publicity materials and cover art.

“[Khumalo] is my best friend. … She wanted me to make a flier for when she was performing at Grampa’s Garden, and so I made four,” Page said. “I went to the craft center with my friends and my sister visited, and we were just playing around. I went all out and made a bunch of different types.”

“She gets the vision; she gets me,” Khumalo said. “It really works.”

The collaborative process, which involves lots of voice memos and photos sent over iMessage, is inseparable from their friendship, Page added.

“[I’ll] text her, ‘OMG, OMG, guess what? It’s done, the song is done! Let’s meet!’” Khumalo said. “And then, I send her either reference photos of things that I would like or we just talk about it.”

Prior to her single called “Like it Like That,” which Khumalo plans to release on September 30, Page crafted a cover reminiscent of the first flier she made for Khumalo. The piece boasts a dominant color of pink and details of orange, rounded out by glitter, confetti and an explosion of cartoonish shapes.

Courtesy of Katherine Page
LIKE IT LIKE THAT: The poster Page made for Thando Khumalo's new single.

Page developed her signature style during her internship with NASA’s Psyche Inspired program during the 2021-2022 school year. Partnered with fellow artists, Page worked to create art inspired by NASA’s upcoming mission to the Psyche asteroid.

After receiving information about the mission in weekly Zoom meetings, Page completed four pieces of art for the Psyche program. Her first piece was a collection of ceramic plant decorations that mimicked the structure of the spacecraft and asteroid.

The next works were a linocut pop-up artist book, a multi-media collage celebrating everyone involved in the Psyche mission with building blocks spelling out “PSYCHE” and “WONDER.”

Courtesy of Katherine Page
ASTRONOMICAL: Art inspired by the Psyche astroid that Page created for a NASA internship.

“To invoke the colorful chaos of elementary school art sessions, the blocks are strewn about with spilled glitter, rubber bands, Legos and a paint palette,” Page wrote of the last project on the Psyche Inspired website.

When taking Introduction to Hispanic Studies: Poetry and Theater at Bowdoin, Page encountered a new creative prompt. For her final project, Page made an award-winning short film, employing an untapped artistic skill set.

“I don’t make videos that often,” Page said. “I prefer to do hands-on things as opposed to online.”

The class, taught by Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures Margaret Boyle, focused on the modern parallels of 17th century Spanish literature. Page utilized the text of the play “El burlador de Sevilla,” in her film and focused in particular on the toxically masculine character Don Juan.

“I just took a line, and then I applied it to the idea of predatory behavior on men’s athletic teams, and used the dialogue in a really old play to be a male athlete on campus at a party,” Page said.

All students in the class submitted their films to Our New Gold competition.

“What I love about the festival is that it asks students to find personal relevance in early modern Spanish theater, and work with adaptation to speak to our current moment,” Boyle wrote in an email to the Orient.

The judges were impressed with Page’s submission.

“As a winner from the festival [her work] was highlighted in a digital summer festival this July and featured as part of Almagro’s Classical Theater Festival in Spain,” Boyle wrote.

Page described the film as a collection of clips, indicative of the larger methodology she employs in her art.

“I hoard scraps of paper and random objects—little things you can use in collages,” Page said. “I cut out pieces of art that I like because maybe I’ll put it on my wall later … It’s hard to get rid of art. I find ways to bring it back out or bring it into something.”

Page’s breadth in art is mirrored in many aspects of her life—she is a biology major, Hispanic Studies minor and a three-sport athlete. Page doesn’t feel the need to settle for a single focus or to stop considering all artistic avenues that entice her. Even as she enters her final year at Bowdoin, she is beginning to delve into anthropology classes head on.

“I’m still very much exploring my interests, but art has been a very constant part of what brings me joy,” Page said.

Courtesy of Katherine Page
PAGE'S PATTERN: Another piece that Page created for her NASA internship.


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