Island proves picture perfect inspiration
In a studio 20 minutes north of Manhattan, Katy Garry paints Bermuda.
The island is her “happy place”.
The New Yorker first visited when she was five years old, and has returned every year since.
“I grew up going to Bermuda and my husband and I were married there, so it's a very special place to me,” said the 40-year-old.
Her grandmother would take her and her siblings every year. They would stay at Horizons and walk across the street to Coral Beach where her uncle Jack O'Connell is a member.
“My family always identified with it. My husband Christian and I were married at St Michael's in 2010 and we've been back every year with our children since,” said the mother-of-three who tries to visit twice a year, partly for her art.
“The personal connection that I have to Bermuda really is the inspiration. It's evolved and changed but it still has the same wonderful qualities that it had when I was really young.
“As it relates to my art, it's the colour that's inspiring.”
She takes a “pop art, expressionist approach” to her work; bringing “happiness” to the viewer is her aim.
“My husband likes to say that my art is unapologetically happy. You should never have to apologise for being happy,” she laughed.
“Bermuda is my happy place. I go there for inspiration. I go there to be with my family and then when I leave I want to paint a million things — because that's how I tick.”
An artist all her life, Mrs Garry started painting full time a year-and-a-half ago.
She left a career in merchandising — having worked for companies such as Vineyard Vines, Victoria's Secret and Coach, where Bermudian Ian Bickley is president — to pursue her craft.
“I wanted to go back to fine art and to have a career that could give me a little balance to travel and to spend time with my family,” said the artist who studied at the College of the Holy Cross. “Christian is very supportive. He's been able to see how my art has been overall a great experience for our whole family.”
They moved to Pelham from Manhattan to better suit the needs of their growing family. Her works have been featured at the Carriage Barn Arts Centre, Pelham Arts Centre and The Rye Arts Centre.
Working with interior decorators and clients for commissions, most pieces fall under $1,000. She said she wants to make art that is “happy, original and affordable”.
“I try to create a price point that is accessible,” she said. “Art should be for the whole family, something that you and your children can enjoy and that makes your home feel happy.
“So much of the bright colours I use come from my experience of Bermuda.”
Mrs Garry last visited the island in the spring and in the months since has created a portfolio of Bermuda-inspired works.
She plans to visit again next year, with hopes to get her work into some local galleries.
Flamingos are a classic motif she uses to match the pink sand. The recent works feature scenes from America's Cup, sailboats and a map of Bermuda.
“I'm just a general all around nut for Bermuda,” she said.
“New York is a wonderful city and I love it, but there's definitely a grind to being in Manhattan. It could learn from a more relaxed attitude that the island has — it speaks for itself.
“It's the same with art. When you see art in person, it evokes a special emotion that, hopefully, is happy. That's an experience and a connection that you have with art that you can also have with a place.
“It's that kind of euphoria that makes you want to buy art or be in a beautiful place because it makes you feel good. It's not much more complicated than that. I don't think art needs to be.”