Katie Geha is a sharp writer, enthusiastic art historian, an educator and the brains behind SOFA Gallery. Katie is also quick with a laugh, full of incredible stories, a Mapplethorpe lover and, fittingly, an art collector. That art teacher you loved in high school - the one with jangly earrings, eclectic linen tops, with effortless style and endless knowledge - that's Katie.
On an unusually rainy afternoon we sipped "sparkle water" (that's plain ol' sparkling water to you and me, but Katie calls it "sparkle water" - pretty cute) at her apartment, which also happens to be home to her gallery, SOFA. We sung the praises of her collection of funky boxy tops (striped, ikat, dyed!), we inspected her cache of brassy earrings handed down from her mother, flipped through a recent Half Price Books score (a Bruce Nauman book for $2!), lusted after incredible jewelry online and plotted the next day's outfit. Katie likes to dress according to the day's teaching topic. An African art lecture happened to be on the books for tomorrow's lecture so we reached for rich prints, wrap skirts and wild earrings. Wonder what she'd put together for a Renaissance lecture...
My personal style is... Day to day I wear lots and lots of black. When I teach I sometimes aspire to Art Historian Prof Chic. This helps me get into the role of teaching—long flowy skirts, boots, blazers, and jangly earrings.
My style icons are… Joan Didion, Robert Mapplethorpe, Woody Allen, Cookie Mueller, all the women from Thirtysomething. My friend Lee Webster is constantly doing stuff like spray-painting her sandals or knotting her dress in such a way that makes me we want to copy her immediately (she’s cool with that).
I’m inspired by… people who are 100%. I think my friend Jeff made up that term “100%” as a way to describe someone who is just absolutely who they are through and through. People who have feelings and show it. So, obviously, my friends.
If I lived in another era I’d choose… I use to always fantasize about living in the East Village in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Like in some old tenement building--real gritty and dirty and all Nan Golden-esque. Meet me at Max’s Kansas City!
The last book I read was… I just finished Ingmar Bergman’s autobiography The Magic Lantern. The last line is: “I pray to God with no confidence. One will probably have to manage alone as best one can.”
Right now I’m obsessed with… Wimbereley, Texas. I recently had a house sitting gig there on the Blanco River. Some friends came to visit and we swam, made dinner, and sat on the screened-in porch. The light there is different, all soft and hazy, like in a Rococo painting.
Lately I’ve been listening to… I’ve pretty much already worn out the new Deep Time album. Also White Dog, a noise band from Austin that play these incredible live shows—super short, intense sets, lots of screaming and feeling. Total catharsis.
If I were in a movie I’d be in… As a kid I only ever wanted to be Rita Moreno in West Side Story.
When I walk up to the bar I order… a cold beer and if I’m feeling fancy, a martini stirred with an olive.
My go-to beauty product is… Chapstick.
I’m crushing on… I’m teaching a survey course this summer on Ancient To Medieval Art, which is by no means my area of expertise. But there are so many cool things to crush on during these thousands of years of art. For instance, Hildegard of Bingen was a German nun who was also a writer, a composer, a mystic, a philosopher, and she illustrated botanical and medical texts. She created incredible illuminations that depict these hallucinogenic aura-like images that some attribute to her struggle with migraines. She’s this totally wild and brilliant saint.
The last time I surprised myself I… passed my dissertation defense in May. That was awesome.
On a sunny afternoon I love to… go to a matinee alone.
When I’ve got money to burn I head to… Half Price Books' rare book room.
Five things I can’t live without are… strong coffee, good art, my friend Sarah Dodson, rainy days, future plans.