Kate Bingaman-Burt’s been with us since way back, but it was after a biz trip to Portland, OR earlier this year that our founder, Jen, finally got a chance to step inside the artist’s awesome studio-cum-workshop and event space. Thankfully, Bingaman-Burt was game for giving us a closer look and answering all our Qs. Catch the pics and interview in today’s installment of In the Studio, previewed below.
Bingaman-Burt opened Outlet in 2017. Upstairs in the loft: her private nook for client work, email conquering, and all that good stuff. On the main floor: a place for pop-ups, projects, shopping, classes, her zine collection, and all sorts of (borrowable!) artmaking supplies. The main floor’s also home to Barbara the Risograph, a stencil method printing machine with some especially cool capabilities—just peep the mini risograph prints Bingaman-Burt made to accompany her limited-edition, ceramic Tiny Bowls for Tiny Things. (Only three of each bowl left, so scoop yours up stat!)
The zine queen and Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Portland State University has been an educator since the early aughts, and—as she fleshes out in her interview—teaching and her creative process are inextricably intertwined. It might have something to do with her instinct for bringing folks together, building community, and feeding conversation. She’s also witty, warm, and exuberant, which probably makes her a mighty good teacher. It definitely makes her interview a mighty good read. Click through here for the full feature, where she covers her ride-or-die drawing pen brand, procrastination by way of sandwich procurement, making time for art as a new mom, branching out into three dimensions, and so much more. Plus, take a visual tour of her colorful studio space. It’s itching to be explored. — Team 20x200
Where's your studio?
Primarily at Outlet, the community print space and shop in NE Portland founded in 2017. It all started as an experiment with having a public-facing studio and grew into a risograph print space, a community education and workshop space, a brick-and-mortar shop, and a place for all sorts of other classes, pop-ups, events, and making!
Couch (where I am typing this right now and I am as almost as horizontal as I can get without completely laying down on the floor). LOTS of email gets responded to either from my phone as I commute into school three days a week at PSU or from this dang couch. I do so much arts admin between my freelance practice, Outlet, and being the Associate Director of the School of Art + Design at PSU … it feels like some weeks all I make are emails :)
What's your favorite tool in the studio?
Such a tough choice! I have been brand loyal to my Faber Castell Artist Pitt pens (drawing with them everyday since 2008). I also adore my Grandma's drawing desk. She was an illustrator from the time she was 19 until she lost her central vision in her mid-70s. After she passed away, I had her drawing desk shipped to Oregon from Wisconsin. It's a beast of a table and I adore it. OH and my damn Shinola Sketchbook that I don't think they are making anymore and I am DEEPLY sad about this. TRUELY. SHINOLA I NEED THIS SKETCHBOOK THE PAGES ARE PERFECT FOR WET AND DRY MEDIA.
What do you wear when working in the studio?
I have a pair of railroad striped overalls that are my go to comfort clothing. They are the mac and cheese of pants.
What's on your in-studio playlist?
I have the music I listen to when it's just me and then the music I listen to when I am giving a workshop. The workshop playlists can always count on having The Ronettes, The Crystals, The Talking Heads, The Magnetic Fields, Otis Redding, Desmond Dekker, The Feelies, Dur-Dur Band and other fun and upbeat music. When it's just me, I burrow into Galaxie 500, Waxahatchee, Snail Mail, Kate Bush, Nina Simone, Kitty Wells, Girlpool, Loretta Lynn, Wanda Jackson and wow, just loads more. I love making playlists. It's dumb and a great way to procrastinate.
What's the first thing you do when you arrive at your studio?
Turn on our neon signs and our string lights and I lift up our garage door in the summer. Email email email. Check-in with my awesome studio manager Leland about what the hell is going on.
What's your work style? Late nights? Intense creative bursts? Slow and steady wins the race?
I used to be a late night person, but since having Hank I am just way too pooped, so I have swapped to mornings before he gets up, and then any time I can squeeze work time in while he is sleeping or while I am at school. It's really become more of a strategic strike these days.
Illustrator, muralist, printmaker, ceramicist, graphic designer ... the list goes on. You come at your art from so many angles. Is there a particular medium or approach you feel anchors your work? Anything you're eager to explore more?
I have really been enjoying working in 3D with the paper mache and ceramic explorations I have been doing in the last year or so. The medium that really anchors my work is probably the simple black line drawings that fill my sketchbooks … everything starts with drawing for me and then either stays there OR springboards into something else! I really want to spend more time painting and, of course, I want to spend more time making zines.
What's your favorite way to procrastinate in the studio?
Grab a ham and cheese sandwich up the street at Tails and Trotters (plus salt and vinegar chips and coke in a glass bottle if I am feeling fancy). Make playlists for workshops. LISTS! I love making LISTS! So many LISTS!
Whens, Hows & Whys
When did you first realize you wanted to become an artist and how’d you get there?
The first event that I organized and hosted in college (along with making a zine for the program) really cemented that this is what I wanted to do creatively. Not sure if I thought that emceeing and organizing an art showcase was creative THEN, but looking back, it certainly was! I work in lots of different ways, but a consistent thread through all of it has been bringing people together, playing host, and then usually documenting it in some way (either zine, photos, drawing etc). I love invading a space and turning it into a PLACE!
How do you get over creative blocks?
Um, I think it usually involves a LIST! also, having a deadline makes me push through those blocks too.
What do you like best about 20x200?
Being a champion of the democratic process of PRINTMAKING and anything multiple, how could I not adore the concept of ART FOR ALL?
You've got a ton of teaching experience under your belt. How does educating inform your own artistic process?
I am starting my 15th year of teaching college full time this year! WHAT THE HELL PEOPLE! I am so happy to have so much time in the classroom. I think my teaching totally informs my process because I always approach a body of work with having structure and parameters and a deadline! That might also be the graphic designer in me too … I need a good brief to follow and a deadline to get things done.
Which artists' 20x200 collections do you most covet (and why)?
I fell in love with Ian Baguskas and Joseph Holmes ever since we all were in the same Hey Hot Shot Show back in 2006(???). I know I do zero photo now, but that's how I first came to you and 20x200! My first edition was a ton of shopping carts taken at a Nebraska shopping cart factory when I lived there in the mid-2000s (in Nebraska, not a shopping cart factory :) ) I also adore Amos Kennedy! He was our state neighbor when we lived in Mississippi and he had his studio about 45 minutes away in Alabama. Wish he was that close to us now instead of me being in Portland and he being way over in Detroit. And of course my documentation / illustration / cataloging contemporaries Jane Mount and Jason Polan. Have loved their work for so long. ADORE!
Why do you think it's important to have a dedicated work space for your art? What advice would you give to artists looking to build a creative work space?
It signals to yourself that you are making space for MAKING. Even if it's your kitchen table or a closet, you are telling yourself that this is important and you are being good to yourself by creating a space for yourself to learn and grow. You don't have to rent a fancy space, just start small with a dedicated corner and build from there!
The 411 on Kate Bingaman-Burt
Kate Bingaman-Burt mostly draws, letters, documents, and collects, but she also does a lot of other things that involve energy, conversation, and exchange. She is a Professor of Graphic Design at Portland State University and makes illustrations for all sorts of clients all around the world. Past clients include Pinterest, Airbnb, Hillary for America, Google, IDEO, Etsy, The New York Times, Creative Mornings, Museum of Modern Art, and Girl Scouts of America. Kate’s studio is located in Outlet, her project space in Portland, Oregon. She owns Outlet, which hosts workshops, pop-up events and a community risograph print studio and zine... library. She also sits on the board of Design Portland and has been scheming with them since 2012.