space of the week

Surrounded by Friends

Katie Stout and her husband, Jeff Kinkle, are in quarantine in their Fort Greene apartment, which feels a bit enchanted.

Katie Stout and Jeff Kinkle at home. Photo: Katie Stout
Katie Stout and Jeff Kinkle at home. Photo: Katie Stout

Artist Katie Stout married Jeff Kinkle, a lawyer, just this past September. They chose as the location the romantic dilapidation of Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways, and the ceremony somehow referenced the film The Warriors, a de Chirico painting, and the “pre-orgy scene in Eyes Wide Shut.” Now they’ve settled into a Fort Greene rental that features, most prominently, a wedding gift from Stout’s friend Misha Kahn, with whom she attended the Rhode Island School of Design, that looks like a nest or maybe the creature that lives in a nest. “Well, we’ve been calling it the hamster, the giant hamster,” says Stout, laughing. “I love it. It’s a cabinet” — though Kinkle, they later realized, is “allergic to it because it’s basically a bale of hay in the apartment.” (Stout took these pictures of their place herself on her iPhone for social-distancing reasons.)

Since graduating from RISD in 2012, Stout has taken the world of art and design by storm. Her “naïve pop” pieces are crossovers of forms that defy function, yet function adorably. It’s hard not to be drawn into her world of joyful exuberance. (She’s represented by Nina Johnson in Miami and R & Company in New York.) In their apartment, she and her husband (with some help from interior designer Becky Carter) have created a landscape populated by both her work and that of her friends. The art that isn’t hers was mostly bartered, and every piece has a story. Her décor scheme doesn’t follow a plotline. “Like, why bother?,” she says, laughing. “I love when my space is filled with things by people I know … Everything is a trade, basically. Everything feels like a little friend, you know? So you never really feel lonely in the apartment.” She’s been reading The Overstory, and she quotes part of it to me on the phone: “ ‘There are no individuals. There aren’t even separate species. Everything in the forest is the forest. Competition is not separable from endless flavors of cooperation.’ It’s a nice thing to think about in quarantine. Grace, humility, and humor go a long way.”

Photo: Katie Stout

Clockwise from top right:
The drawing of the nude by the kitchen is by Chloe Wise. “I made her a lamp of her and her cat and then she gave me this ink painting, and it has this custom frame with a pile of spaghetti on it [not seen]. Perfect for right now: Everyone’s just eating pasta.” The hanging “Amoeba” light fixture is by Jeff Zimmerman. The pink stool is by Visibility x Matter Made. The ceramic stool is by Chris Wolston, who also went to RISD. What looks like a bale of hay with eyes is actually used for storage. The painting above it is by the artist Bjarne Melgaard. Stout collaborated with him on furniture for what has been described as his “demonic fun house” for the 2014 Whitney Biennial and a show at Karma, “Psychopathological Notebook.” “He gave me this as a trade.” It’s called Psycho Alone. “These two ladies looking at each other are by Patty Spyrakos. Fisher Parrish was hosting a ‘got for cheap’ art sale at their space in Bushwick where everything is $30. I couldn’t make it, so Zoe Fisher picked this out for me. “The two hot-pink women [top left] are by Heather Benjamin; the piece is called I Touched a Dream.

“The photograph is a self-portrait of Martine Gutierrez! We’ve been friends since RISD. Her photo is a reminder that we can be in control of our stories and that my taste in music will never be as good as hers.” The lady lamp is by Stout and was done for a show at the Nina Johnson gallery. The reupholstered vintage daybed is from a trade with Fabiana Faria of Coming Soon. Photo: Katie Stout
The standing lamp of many ladies is a quarantine project by Stout and her husband. Photo: Katie Stout
“The lawn chair covered in iridescent tape is a wedding gift from R & Company by Rob Pruitt. The cat has been chewing the tape off one of the legs. The fabric wall piece is by Ethan Cook. The profile table is by Elise McMahon (Likemindedobjects). She made four of them for our wedding! They were made to put flowers on for the ceremony, but it was too windy. My ceramic stool and lamp were made with Case Studyo.” Photo: Katie Stout
The vintage dining table, via another trade with Fabiana Faria of Coming Soon, is surrounded by Stout’s fabric-stuffed chairs. The little ceramic paintings on the wall are by Nora Normile. “Nora is a good friend and also worked for me — a relationship is never quite the same once you spend a week tiling a small bathroom together.” This mirror with the urn is by “my dear friend Taylor Colantonio. They are amazing; they are made from sanded papier-mâché. I bought the mirror shard below, by Charlap Hyman & Herrero, from their show ‘Ouvrez-Moi’ in Venice last year.” Photo: Katie Stout
Stout’s toilet-paper holder, plus the wallpaper she did in collaboration with Flavor Paper at R & Company. Photo: Courtesy of R & Company/Copyright 2019, All Right Reserved
“The green fabric wall art is Forest from Nicola L’s ‘Pénétrables’ series. Nina Johnson and her husband, Dan, gave it to Jeff and me as a wedding gift. It reminds me of our connection to each other despite our physical distance.” Photo: Katie Stout

*This article appears in the April 13, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

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