On the corner of Caroline and Duval, a group of thriving artists peddle their wares to passing tourists and cruise ship passengers exploring the city. Of those artists, 27-year-old Katie Sottak has found her artistic niche under a shady oak tree on the corner. “I visited Key West 10 years ago, and told myself that I will live here one day and sell my art, and here I am,” she said.
The self-taught artist started at three years old drawing on her mom’s dining room walls (!) and later graduated to a couple classes at art school before she decided she liked painting from her imagination more than the traditional instruction. By 14, she was selling her artwork in the coastal town of Jensen Beach, Florida, before traveling the world.
Many of her pieces are monochromatic. “I try to have a different and distinctive style,” she said painting an entire canvas with different variations of one color. She said her favorites include her night scenes using all hues of blue.
While only making Key West her home a mere few months ago, she already has settled into the community quickly, donating her pieces to local non-profits for their silent auctions, and networking with other artists. She recently met up with local photographer Crystal Weiss of Liquid Crystal Photography for a lifestyle shoot.
“As soon as I got to town, I connected with a couple local models who were doing a shoot with Crystal out at Fort Zach,” she said, adding that modeling is a fun hobby but not a passion like painting. “We all got to know each other and Crystal said she’d love to shoot me while painting.”
She’s spent the summer working on new pieces, and is looking forward to the weather cooling off a little to get back under her shady oak tree soon. Last season, she sold all of her pieces and is in the process of adding to her collection right now. Her work can be seen at katiesottak.com.
CRYSTAL WEISS/Liquid Crystal Photography