Katie Bensky, a native of St. Louis has been an artist at the heart for as long as she can remember. At a very young age Bensky recalls the ease of drawing portraits and her uncharacteristic fascination with modeling plastic airplanes. In High School, Katie took as many art related classes as allowed and spent her free time in the ceramic studio.
Katie was strongly encouraged to pursue a degree in Business while attending Drake University. At the time she did not realize her talents and love for art could convert to a viable career and ultimately graduated with a BBA in Marketing.
Many years after college and some careers later Katie realized the importance of following her passion. The gifted artist found her way back to the clay studio. Here she fell in love with figurative and portrait sculpture. In 1998 Bensky returned to school and secured her MA in Figurative Sculpture.
Today, not only does Katie create her own Fine Art, she teaches Portrait and Figurative Sculpture at her home studio in St. Louis, MO.
Observing human nature has been a life long passion. I express these unique qualities in my Figurative and Portrait Ceramic Sculptures. My ceramic figures and heads are meditative in nature. Learning to be still and peaceful in the midst of life’s chaos has been an ongoing practice. As individuals we all face accepting imperfection. It takes courage to be transparent and vulnerable. As an artist I try to balance the organic components of clay with the control I have as a maker. Like life, I have a choice whether to embrace the flaws or attempt to mask the imperfections. My deepest desire as an artist is to share work which invites viewers to do the same.
How it all began
I hope that by sharing this story I encourage at least one person to follow their dream.
To say I am a late bloomer is an understatement. I am not being hard on myself, just honest. I am grateful for all I have been through.
My high school years were spent immersed in the making of art. I took every class available: macramé, jewelry making, painting, interior design and spent most time in the ceramic studio. I was infatuated with throwing on the wheel, but never cared much about glazing or even finishing my work. I just loved the process.
Then, I took a sculpture class. That was the beginning of my love for the human form. I did not make sense of my deep need to create sculpture regularly even then.
I went to college without a clear path. My mom had recently married her second husband, who became a force in my life; for better and worse. He took his role as a father to my three sisters and I very seriously! He was an extremely successful businessman and thought he was being helpful by influencing me to pursue a stable career path in college. I find it completely mind blowing that I never once considered pursuing a major in Art. Nor did I believe a career as an Artist was a viable pursuit. So, after switching majors four times I ended up obtaining a BA in Business/Marketing.
Then the truth began revealing itself. I wondered why I wasn’t finding fulfillment in my work.
I began listening to my-self: and by 'self' I mean the part of me that does not speak in words. The part of me that I can only hear in quiet whispers. The part of me that knows what is best for Katie, the part of me that does not need or want to ask others for advice, the part of me that I long to hear more and more...
I was working in fashion and felt the force in my soul pushing me to get my hands in clay; specifically, making a human head. That drive stirred in me until the day a particular customer brought me a miracle message of sorts. She told me of a sculptor teaching evening figurative classes at a high school five minutes from my home. Finally, I had found my way back to clay.
The first portrait head I modeled seemed to come together like I had done a million before. Nothing in my life had ever felt so visceral. I recall my instructor whispering to me, “If I were grading this it would be an A+”. I am still intrigued at this whole process. How did I end up in his class? Where did this woman come from who introduced me to it?
Eventually from the evening class, I moved on to attend a local University with a Sculpture Department specializing in Classical Figurative Sculpture. I still didn't take any of this seriously. I was just following the leads put in front of me. One step seemingly leading to the next. I was just showing up enjoying something I loved. Again, I found myself attracted to modeling the Head. I also learned many other techniques: mold making, bronze casting, etc. I was asked to be the Teaching Assistant. I never intended on pursuing a degree but I was pregnant with my first child and realized I had acquired enough classes to secure a Masters in Sculpture just in time to give birth to one of my two best creations ever!
Fast forward 20 years...
I was lucky to be a stay at home mom. It was by far the best job of my life. But, as time went on I began aching for clay. I would look up classes for sculpture. I was scared to death to take one. What if I couldn’t do it anymore? What if everyone else in the class was better than me? What if…
I pushed forward but pursued abstract figures in hopes of producing more “current” work.
Evidently, I still wasn’t being true to myself. Because, once I began working on a Portrait Head again the stars lined up. I'm not sure what happens when you’re following your souls calling but it was clear that I was on to something. People in this communal studio began noticing my work. I'm an introvert so I wasn’t attracting attention with my words. Yet, as I worked on mastering the Portrait the attention was magnetic. I was encouraged to teach a class. Though I was scared beyond belief this leap has been an amazing addition to my life.
On days I'm not teaching in my home studio, you’ll find me creating my own ceramic sculptures or doing commission portraits. I am constantly looking for growth, both personally and professionally. I take as many workshops as I can. I am excited to increase my internet presence and reach people all over the world! I look forward to sharing skills I have gathered these past 25+ years by adding an on-line class and a blog where creatives like me can find support and courage to manifest their dreams.
Katie Bensky Resume
1996 - Fontbonne University: MA in Sculpture
1984 - Drake University: BBA in Marketing
2018 - Kirsten Stingle in Rome: 2 week Figurative intensive Workshop
2017 - Cristina Cordova: The Clay Figure
2017 - Cristina Cordova: The Head in Clay
2016 - Debra Fritts: Figurative workshop
2013-16 - Oil Painting
2019 - Muddy Rivers Art Show
2018 - Confluence of Expression, Green Door Gallery, 2nd place award
2018 - Confluence of Expression, Green Door Gallery Honorable Mention
2018 - Current Profile, Craft Alliance
2017 - Muddy Rivers Art Show
2017 - Faculty Show, Craft Alliance
2016 - Clearly Human II, Artist Guild
2016 - Meramec Contemporary Art Gallery
2015 - Craft Alliance, Student Show
1996 - Fontbonne, Senior Art Show
2016-2018 - Craft Alliance, Sculpting The Head in Clay
2016 - Craft Alliance, 2 Day Workshop, Sculpting the Head in Clay
2019 - Bensky Studios, The Portrait Head Study, Anatomy
2018-Present - Bensky Studios, Portrait/Figurative Sculpture
2019 - Ladue News, Feature Article, Spectacular Sculptress