Katie Gong, born in California, is an artist best known for her innovative steam bent sculptures and wood work.
Initially trained as a painter, Katie first came to work with wood as a child when she would hangout in her Grandfather Carlisle's wood shop, observing him making uniques pieces on his lathe. In addition to his self taught woodwork, Carlisle was also an inventor who held over 80 patents for a variety of things he created over the years. This early exposure to creative and mental pursuits, problem solving and art, was only further enriched in high school when Katie would spend summers working on her father Chee's construction crews.
After receiving a BFA in painting from UC Santa Barbra in 2006, Katie worked for an arborist measuring trees, a landscape architect for whom she drafted renderings, and as a photo retoucher for an advertising photographer, before she began working as an installation artist for Anthropologie. At Anthro, she was in charge of building unique sets and window displays to coincide with the brands frequently changing offerings and marketing campaigns, eventually working for them for over 5.5 years as their lead artist, creating installations all over the world including London, Nashville, New York and Los Angeles.
Additionally, always a hustler and born business person, Katie began developing her own art practice and business very early in her career. She made her first slab table in 2008, and began doing design and custom art installations for clients in the San Francisco Bay Area. This included making a turtle out of driftwood on the side of a house in Stinson Beach, tables and drink rails for Bar Crudo in San Francisco, and large custom slab furniture for various clients.
Naturally, Katie's broad background in art, construction, and design led her to go out on her own, establishing Katie Gong Design in 2012. In this capacity, Katie created custom design/build pieces for public spaces including The Assembly, Anchor Brewing Public Taps, Birba, and Old Devil Moon brewery.
Always keeping her art making the center of her practice, Katie began exhibiting her own unique work at West Coast Craft in 2014, which she continued to do for almost all of their exhibitions till 2020.
Inspired by gourd people who tie growing gourds into knots on the vine, Katie began steaming and bending her own wood creations in 2015. Creating an innovative steaming apparatus as well as other mechanical methods that enabled her to bend wood poles into unique shapes and design, Katie began doing less and less custom design builds and furniture commissions, and began making more and more sculptures, ultimately developing into her art practice as a wood sculptress as you see it today.
Inspired by the physical beauty of the California landscape, Katie has often said that she hadn't really found her medium until she started bending wood.