Katherine England is an artist who uses her palette of imagination to bring life to the gray areas of Fullerton by surrounding the town with different murals that encapsulate its spirit.
England grew up in the Bay Area during the sixties where psychedelic colors and movement were prominent parts of her culture.
“I moved to Fullerton in 1986 and there was [not much] public artwork,” England said. “I started by painting murals on my kids’ school wall. I used kids’ art as the inspiration for the first murals we put up. Other schools would come and see the murals at the Schools.”
She started an after-school program at Sunset Lane Elementary School. “We teach making public art as a career so a lot of the murals you see around town were actually made by junior high-aged kids,” England said. “When kids see the art, it helps them make the transition from home to school. And they know it’s a safe place for creativity.”
The mural in front of Golden Hill Elementary School has 230 butterflies, and the butterflies were all made by the kids at the school out of glass. The kids came in, assembled the butterflies, and then her after-school program attached them and installed them on the wall.
England has worked with local nonprofit All the Arts for All the Kids to teach and share her passion. She always involves her community, whether it’s through drawings or participation by local kids or institutions.
“We always meet with the community and ask what matters to them. My style is generally very flowy and psychedelic because that’s the sensibility I grew up with and it keeps showing up,” England said. “There seems to be a lot of movement and flowing in most of my murals like birds moving or butterflies moving or swirls moving or people moving. I’ve noticed in our culture that no one stays put for long anymore. Everybody just moves constantly.”
“The purpose of any kind of installation is to transport somebody and to give them an aha-moment,” England said. “We live in a world where everyone is so used to something looking a certain way. When we come across something that trips us up a little bit and distracts us from the mundane we see every day, those are the aha-moments. You never know when you’re going to be surprised by something or if you’re going to be transformed for even a moment out of the mundaneness for even existing day to day and the habits we have of how we see things. Even if it’s to make you feel uncomfortable for a little bit. It’s to disrupt, mostly in a good way but sometimes in an uncomfortable way, just the normalness of our daily routines. You can create any environment you want, but people get caught up in what it’s supposed to be.”
Artists such as Katherine England bring vivid colors that break through the patterns of conformity and help citizens feel safe and inspired.
An addition to her numerous murals around town, England’s work will be on display at the Fullerton Museum Center’s upcoming exhibit “Fullerton: Art Town” which opens Friday, June 3 and runs through August 7.
To view more of her work visit www.katherineengland.com.