Katie Lips is a contemporary artist whose work challenges technology startup culture and the ‘business of digital’. Her recent work for “Surprised But Not Delighted” includes mixed media, video and ‘office supplies’, exploring the processes used and promises made by technology startup entrepreneurs. She has a successful career in art and in technology; having launched two mobile technology startups herself. As an artist she has had exhibitions and commissions from international arts organisations and recently exhibited at The Other Art Fair, London.
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Katie has been featured in The Discerner Magazine and After Nyne in June 2016.
In a new body of work Katie explores startup culture; ideas, ambition, and the promise technology makes to the hopeful. "Surprised but not Delighted" was on show at Jealous Gallery on 3rd - 4th March.
Katie exhibited at The Other Art Fair London in April - a showcase of 120 of the UK's leading emerging artists.
In 2015 Katie began creating a new body of work exploring startup culture.
“Tech startups have become predictable recently. A decade ago, in the Web 2.0 bubble, the ability of young entrepreneurs to code, to self organise and to easily reach their audience was new. We worked with that opportunity, and made all the rest up as we went along; that is what made startups, and the startup scene exciting.
In 2016’s startup-land there’s a well worn map, a blueprint; follow the rules and you might achieve success. But everyone’s following the rules, reading the same map."
Having studied at Central Saint Martins in the early nineties, fascinated by how the early Internet was changing everything, Katie began working with Digital Media; and whilst continuing her Fine Art practice she went to work at the then emergent digital agency Amaze, in 1999. As an early adopter she was exposed not just to the new technologies, but to new ways of doing things in this brave new world. She was early to social, to blogging, to mobile, to spinning up businesses, to coworking, to unconferences. She hung out with the Web 2.0 kids in the mid 2000s and was part of the European Web 2.0 startup scene. Early attempts to develop digital ideas into businesses gave her an immersion into the world of startups and money; and a culture of ideas and aspiration even more enigmatic than the art world.
Her art draws from her deep and diverse technology and business experiences; she plays with the themes inherent in that - digital content production and ownership, data, community engagement (real people on the Internet), money, ideas, power, and ambition. As a successful player in the worlds of art, technology and business, she often finds herself applying an artist’s approach to business, or vice versa. Katie’s art is punctuated by bold, poppy imagery, slogans and statements; as her own commentary or challenge to the status quo. Her work draws on digital but is true mixed media - with Internet interactions reenacted in paint or in mixed media collage.
“I don’t see myself as a digital artist; I’m a contemporary artist who might happen to work with digital technology or might happen to work online, but who might also work with paint or mixed media.”
Having created the popular SMS archiving service treasuremytext.com in 2004, Katie created “Freeloader”which at the time when people readily paid “good money” for ringtones, enabled anyone to turn any file into a ringtone and get it on their phone for free. Freeloader was commissioned by tenantspin.org and exhibited at WRO 05 International Digital Media Biennale. In 2007 she created “The Bold Street Project” at FACT (The Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool - an exhibition which uncovered, created and archived the history of one of Liverpool’s favourite streets. The commission saw Katie “Social Media-enable” the exhibition and brought blogging, Flickr, Skype and YouTube to the gallery, and the artwork to new distributed audiences (before this was just something that you’d do anyway). In 2009 her collaboration with tenantspin for “tenantspin ONTOUR’ put a TV studio in Tate Liverpool and invited anyone to come in, have a cup of tea and “be on the telly”.