Exhibition: Dallas Public Library

Installed art at the J. Erik Johnsson Central Library, Lillian Bradshaw Gallery.

Last Friday, I made a trip to Downtown Dallas to install my first solo show at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library. This show was supposed to happen last spring, but schedules could not quite align. Happily, now is a better time, and I have the space for the next month or so.

Although I have been creating some new work since the show was proposed and accepted, monotype prints still comprise the majority of my work, so that’s what’s on view.

I’m still in the “bring your own hammer and hangers” phase of my art career, but unlike my last big show, James was able to help me out, which made it a bit easier.

All-in-all, I have 16 pieces up, framed in various sizes. Since it had been a little while since I worked on these prints, it was fun to go back through them to pick and choose which art to display. The majority are from family photos, but one wall’s art highlights the greater Lufkin and East Texas community.

Here are a few that I chose, which link to their accompanying blog posts!

To see the rest, make a trip to the library! (While you’re there, get a library card! If you already have a card, pick out a new book! And if you already have your card and plenty to read, check out the library’s awesome new historical exhibition of archival materials around Big D Reads and “The Accommodation” book! I have to say, it’s an honor to be part of the good work of the Dallas Public Library.


If you see a piece that you are interested in here, at the show, or elsewhere please get in touch. After a break to focus on other things for the summer (did you know I published a travel book?!) I am open again for sales and a limited number of commissions. I am always interested in opportunities to showcase or share about my art, process and research project. Please get in touch if you’d like to learn more.

Happy Summer!

“Night Swimming,” Acrylic on Canvas by Stephanie Khattak.

Hello, why yes — it HAS been a while since I last updated my blog and my web site. What can I say, the first half of 2022 has gone by really quickly. And while in some ways it’s been really nice, it hasn’t left a lot of time for more creative pursuits, much less documenting those pursuits.

I secured a new freelance/contract client in January that takes up most of my weekday hours, and I published a travel book! The operative word there (after “published” I suppose) is travel. I haven’t been home many weekends in the past year or so. I am planning more travel books which entails more travel. So, it’s been a bit of a balance to learn, but I am getting better at it.

But I still paint as often as I can, and I still have the Pine Curtain Project going in the background. The above painting doesn’t look quite like the other pieces in the Pine Curtain Project. That’s another reason this blog has been quiet for a bit. I have felt compelled to bring the project into a more modern era, and am always tiptoeing around that a little bit. Some stories are not my stories to tell, but intersect with mine. So, what to do? My solution is to just focus on the scenes and feelings that I want the paintings to evoke while making everything else unidentifiable. This specific swimming pool didn’t exist, and neither did the specific girls in it. But what did exist, for me and I imagine many others, is night swimming with friends on a summer night. One of my besties had a pool, and my church rented one each summer from the time I was in middle school on out. There was a special kind of relaxed that we felt after swimming, and many pool nights melted easily into slumber parties. It was hot, and the June Bugs were loud, and we somehow felt sunburned even though we were swimming at dusk. And it was wonderful.

An East Texas Stories Podcast!

The first two episodes of Pine Curtain Confidential Season One, Ghost Story, Ghost Town are available now!

These two short east Texas history podcast episodes introduce us to Homer, Texas and one of its haunting mysteries, using folklore and community stories to tie a Texas ghost story to real events. New episodes drop the week of Oct. 11.

Listen on Buzzsprout, Spotify, Google Podcasts, I Heart Radio, Amazon Music or Stitchr. New platforms, including Apple Podcasts coming soon!

Research notes for this season are available here!

East Texas Christmas Gifts

Christmas Cat says that it feels early, but it’s actually the right time to be thinking about holiday gifts from Khattak Studios and the Pine Curtain Project. Getting commission requests to me by October 15 best ensures that your gift will be completed and delivered in time to frame (if necessary), wrap, and give to your loved one. Commissioning cards by Oct. 15 helps me produce and get them to you in time to send holiday greetings.

I have five commissioned original slots open, and you can also commission prints and postcards from completed work, starting at size 5×7 and going up to size 18X24. Items ship unframed and envelopes aren’t included, but a retailer like Paper Source has many envelope color options for size 5X7.

If you’re looking for holiday themed prints, these are very popular:

Lufkin Rudolph”

“Merry Christmas (Vintage Truck)

East Texas Church, 1930s” This is an image that I could add Christmas lights or other holiday elements to, to make it more personalized for the occasion.

Commissioned originals and commissioned, hand-embellished studio prints are made to order. Please allow up to six weeks for production, shipping and handling, and delivery of holiday orders. Please contact me for pricing and other details. More recent work can be found here.

Future Cat Lady

Cat Lady in Training,” by Stephanie Khattak

If you have been connected with me for any amount of time, you know I am a cat lady. Here is the kitty that started it all, Baby Kitty in my arms, in this print based off of a 1979 photo. Baby Kitty was a gray striped tabby who lived in the barn between my house and my great-grandmother’s house. I don’t remember her being an inside cat, but she was always around and a really good sport while I learned to love animals. Baby Kitty was a beloved member of our family, to be cherished and pampered as such. As has been the case with every cat, dog (and in my cousins’ cases – horse, snake, parakeet and Galapagos turtle) since then.

East Texas Video Archive

I’m not the first amateur archivist in the family. My dad, for as long as I can remember, has documented community and family life in East Texas, first with reel-to-reel recorders and Super 8 videos, then with a huge brick of a VHS camcorder (which went on every family vacation, duct-taped and cumbersome, until the late 90s, when the battery kept falling out at Graceland.) Now, like everyone else, he uses his iPhone and sometimes the video functionality on his digital camera. But he kept EVERYTHING, and a few years ago gifted me with a box of roughly 30-40 discs, each with 4-5 events captured on it. Best of all, he had long before captured the Super 8s onto the VHS, a painstaking process where he set up the screen in the living room, put on his oldies records, and videoed the screen while my mom and I tiptoed around the set-up and tried not to knock anything over or share incriminating gossip that might be picked up on audio. He later transferred those videos to DVDs as well, so they’re also in the box.

As modern technology evolved, I eventually found myself with no DVD player, and also no real way to copy those discs to a digital format. But they are treasures, and I knew that in particular, there was a Homer history talk by the OG Homer Historian, Mrs. Ruth Grant, in an event at our church in the early aughts. Because I don’t know of a labled map of old Homer, I needed to see if she mentioned any locations or had other information that I could use in my upcoming folklore presentation. So, I went on Amazon, bought some new equipment and started my journey down memory lane.

The good news is that it all works perfectly and I have been having a great time seeing so many memories again. I did find Mrs. Grant’s lecture, and it provided some missing links and also, since she was an expressive talker, I am able to estimate some of the important landmarks of old Homer based on which direction she pointed as she spoke.

This is really exciting for me, not only for this particular event I am preparing for, but also in general to see how I can use more multimedia content to create for and enhance the Pine Curtain Project.

The missing link!
The family dog’s haircut and then his funeral. Not on the same day. RIP Tater.
Not sure what happened at the Smokey Bear museum, but it must have been unpleasant!
My patron saint these days. She’s done all the hard work, I’m mostly just sifting through and organizing it.
How I wish she was still with us to discuss these things in person!

Coming Soon: East Texas History Presentation

I was selected to participate in the 2021 Folklore in the Archives symposium presented by the University Libraries at the University of North Texas! I will speak at Noon September 3, and the event is free and open to the public with registration.

My presentation, “Ghost Story, Ghost Town” will combine family stories and historical documentation to look at parallels between community folklore and a troubling era in my home community of Homer, Texas.

It’ll be short and sweet – around 15 minutes – with time for a Q&A. My fellow presenters are from universities, research centers and heritage organizations worldwide, so as an independent operator I feel proud to be in such good company!

About the Event: Join archivists, researchers, and lore enthusiasts from around North America as they share their collections and research in a two-part virtual showcase taking place on Friday, August 27, and Friday, September 3, from 11am-1:30pm CST. Participants will learn about topics such as cryptids, urban legends, superstitions, local lore, hauntings and ghosts, UFOs, and more through examples of archival materials and special collections. This is one event you don’t want to miss, so register today at: https://bit.ly/3BILXpv.

Catch!

“Catch it! Got it!” By Stephanie Khattak. 12×18 Acrylic Monotype on Paper.

This print was taken from a vintage photo from the late 1960s in Lufkin, in the deep East Texas. My uncle and cousin playing baseball in my great-grandmother’s yard, dodging pine trees to catch the ball. Somewhere in front of them, there must have been a batter and a photographer. No cameras were harmed as far as I know!

NFT Art Experiment

“Sparkle Lasso,” NFT Digital Photo Collage by Stephanie Khattak.
“Butterfly Girl,” NFT Digital Photo Collage by Stephanie Khattak.
“Yellow and Orange,” NFT Digital Photo Collage by Stephanie Khattak.

As an artist, I think it is important to try new things and see where my art can go to reach more audiences and stretch myself in both the types of art I create, and the technical and business tasks involved in entering a new market. So, I am offering a few pieces of digital NFT art on Opensea.io!

It was interesting to create for this new platform. I wanted to keep to my current style and perspective, and at the same time I didn’t want to simply scan in images of my current work. (While I am proud of all of my work, it looks best IRL!) So, I combined old found and family photos with digitized vintage decorative elements found in the public domain. Then, I used the Procreate app on the iPad to add digital hand-painted touches. I like how it turned out! I spent about a half-day setting up the platform and cryptocurrency wallet necessary to host the work and run the transactions, and then I was set for my first auction, which can be found here.

Right now, the current NFT art market leans toward styles that are quite different than mine, and more established artists with bigger followings are most successful. I do think there’s a place for artists like me in the NFT art world, but I am not sure that now is the time. Regardless, I find it beneficial to adapt to and test new ideas and seek out opportunities when they appear. This will probably be my only NFT art collection for a while, as I feel that personally, my creative opportunities are stronger elsewhere right now. But like everything else, I do suspect that this technology will eventually become more mainstream, and that by familiarizing myself with it now, I can more easily jump back in if I want to.

I do get a kick out of the idea that my family’s photos are out there on platforms that they could never even dream of being on. Some of the photos I have are from the early 1900s! Can you imagine trying to explain NFTs to them? It’s hard enough for me to understand.

The auction ends soon, but I did enjoy creating this new style of work, and you’ll probably see more of it. If it speaks to you, please get in touch about prints or commissions. Even if a piece sells in auction, I retain the copyright, so these are considered available works!