Scavenged art

May 2017

Continuing our question and answer series, Newfoundland Quarterly sat down with Katie Vautour to find out what makes this St. John’s based artist tick.

Top 3 favourite pastimes?

Adult colouring books, reading children’s or young adult books, and playing quirky video games.

Earliest memories of art?

This one time really stands out: my mom found me drawing with crayon on the walls, and I can remember her asking me if I wanted paper. I guess I never really grew out of that, because I still paint on walls.

“If you open a French dictionary and translate my last name, Vautour, it translates to vulture.”

What do you wish people knew about you by looking at your art? 

I think I find meaning in unexpected places, things that people discard or don’t want anymore. So I guess that I’m versatile. If you open a French dictionary and translate my last name, Vautour, it translates to vulture, so it’s kind of funny how it ended up that scavenging plays such a role in my art.

The hardest part of your art career?

When people who aren’t artists ask what you’re doing. They don’t realize how versatile you need to be. They assume you’re just doing what you love, but you need to be so versatile. You need to be your own marketer, your own accountant, all on top of making art. You make your own schedule, but that can lead to overworking and melting down. There are times when I go three weeks without a day off, not realizing it.

Your favourite project to work on?

There’s not one specific project, but I really love commissions. When people come to me after seeing my art and I get to use found material. They might bring me broken things or stuff that’s been kicking around their house, and then I get to make something out of that.

What location feeds your creativity?

I try to travel a few times every year. Seeing a lot of different art and architecture influences me once I get back. Every place I go to, I try to bring back cool things (that I can get through customs) to use. Mexico is so rich, and when I came back I ended up experimenting with mosaics and different natural papers and pigments.

Right now, everything is so global, but it’s not tactile, it’s all digital. Bringing something physical to people here in Canada that’s influenced by other cultures has been big in my art.

For more on Katie Vautour, and to check out her art, visit

Katie Vautour created art for How a Small Newfoundland Town is Saving Canada’s Urban Middle Class and wrote Mob Rule for our Spring 2017 print issue.