A Conversation with Local Artist Kasie Sallee - 405 Magazine

A Conversation with Local Artist Kasie Sallee

By Evie Klopp Holzer photos by Charlie Neuenschwander When Kasie Sallee starts a new painting, she doesn’t pick up a paintbrush.

By Evie Klopp Holzer photos by Charlie Neuenschwander

When Kasie Sallee starts a new painting, she doesn’t pick up a paintbrush. Her tools are different. The finished product is, too. Drippy inks and liquid gold leaf dance across the paper, as Sallee uses air and heat to manipulate their movements. Sometimes the liquids flow together or pool in unexpected ways—Sallee says that’s the best part. We recently met Sallee at Epic Giraffe Glass and Art in Paseo Arts District to discuss her ink-and-art-resin paintings and natural love of art.

When did you begin creating art?

Honestly, I can’t remember not creating. My dad is very creative. My grandma was an artist. I remember going to her house and seeing, framed in her living room, a portrait she had done. So I feel like I’ve always been around art. From the time I was really little, the first thing I can remember is wanting to create.

How did you start working with inks?

I did portraits and more realistic work in the past. I would do flowy, soft backgrounds on my portraits. I enjoyed that part, because it’s very relaxing. Five years ago, I started playing around more with flowy art, and I stumbled across inks. I was scrolling through Instagram, and someone had done an ink painting. I was curious; it looked like watercolor but it wasn’t watercolor. So I started watching videos of people doing it and experimenting with it myself—and it just became a passion. The medium itself is kind of perfectly imperfect. I can control it, but not entirely.

What inspires your work?

It’s always nature inspired, whether it’s the animals or the florals or some of the abstracts that feel like a landscape.

Why nature?

Nature causes you to slow down and be in the moment. This morning, I stepped out on my back porch and the sunrise caught me. The rain and the clouds were coming through. I was in a hurry, but I just stopped and looked at the sunrise. It allowed me to slow down and really be in the moment. That’s what art does as well; we’re always so busy and hurrying, and I think art allows you to take that moment to reconnect with beauty. That’s very important.

The bison is one of your most popular subjects. Where did the idea come from?

The first year I was in the OKC Festival of the Arts, for some reason, the idea popped in my head—of the bison and wanting to do something very Oklahoma-themed for the festival—because I love that festival so much. So I just attempted one, and it’s become really popular. People love the bison, I think, because it combines that feeling of a landscape with Oklahoma.

Have you produced other animals?

I’ve done a wolf, a fox, an elk, bison, scissortail. At the last Festival of the Arts, a little boy came up to me—he was looking through prints—and asked, “Do you have a whale?” I said, “I’m so sorry, I don’t. But if I ever do one, you will know you inspired it.” Later, that idea was just in my head. So, I did a whale. It just takes the spark of an idea to create.