Back in October, we launched a DIY contest and giveaway on Facebook. There, we asked our wonderful readers to submit and/or vote for the most impressive ‘Before and After’ DIY projects. Well, the responses were overwhelming and the submissions showed us just how passionate many of you are when putting a li’l bit of yourselves into your own home decor.

What’s more, we noticed that one entry, in particular, had a rather fervent following. Charleston based artist, Katie Clemente not only garnered the most votes for her piano transformation, but she also gained fans from all over the country who shared her images and re-posted them numerous times. That following November, we announced Katie as our contest winner and awarded her a prize pack which included a $250 gift card from Lowes.

We recently caught up with Katie to learn more about her work. It’s no surprise that this talented DIYer is also a masterful artist whose works run the gamut from refurbishing second hand furniture to creating masterpieces on canvas. Check out our Q & A with Katie below and learn more about her work as an artist.Coastal dressers

Pink Verbena: Describe the kind of art you create?
Katie Clemente: I create large scale canvas paintings as well as custom finishes on furniture, cabinetry, fireplaces, etc. My canvas paintings are mostly abstract contemporary works with a ton of texture and metallic highlights. As far as my refinishing goes, a lot of that is client based but I can match any style of painting/distressing/finishing just from seeing a photo of a piece my client likes.Custom finish samples
PV: You paint and refurbish furniture. Does either art form speak to you more? Do you have a favorite?
KC: I’m not sure if I would call one a favorite, but certain pieces are worked on for different reasons. Canvas painting has always been a form of therapy for me, life can get overwhelming at times and the best way for me to vent is to lock myself in my studio, blast classic rock and let everything come out on the canvas. As far as the furniture goes, I love creating something from nothing. I love taking pieces that people have labeled “trash” or pieces that no longer have use and give them new meaning. It would be very difficult for me to choose one over the other.Kitchen BeforeKitchen After 2Kitchen After 1Canvs 3
PV: Who is your biggest inspiration for your work?
KC: Without a doubt I’d say my dad. My dad passed away from cancer when I was 13 years old. Although he has been gone for years, I still feel him around me every day and I feel he is constantly teaching me new lessons. My dad was an auto body man and passionate woodworker and I spent the majority of my childhood in his shop watching him work. He taught me so much in the short amount of time he was here. I have always been fascinated by how he could take a car that was rusted, crashed, or missing a ton of parts and create something beautiful from all the pieces.Dresser and painting
PV: How and when did your creative talents lead you to furniture refurbishing?
KC: I got tired of seeing furniture tossed to the side of the road. Nowadays people tend to discard anything they have no use for whether it be furniture, electronics, relationships, etc. Everyone is so eager to replace what they have with something “better” or “newer” that they forget what is right in front of them. I enjoy taking the discarded pieces and breathing new life into them. It gives me purpose, plus it’s good for the soul. Creating pieces that are unique and one of a kind is something I will never grow tired of.Coastal buffet
PV: Are you a native of the Lowcountry?
KC: I am not. I am originally from Connecticut but I’ve lived here most of my life.
Piano After 2Piano After 3
PV: How long have you been creating works for others to enjoy?
KC: I have always been creative, even at a young age you’d find me re-purposing items I found around my dads shop. My mom is one of the main reasons I paint on canvas. Shortly after my dad passed away we moved to a new city and it was hard for me to adjust. One afternoon my mom brought home a box of oil paints, brushes, and canvas, looked at me and said, “If you’re not going to talk to anyone about your fathers death, you’re going to vent some way or another.” She didn’t say anything else, just left the box and walked away. She believed in me from a young age and encouraged me to create daily. I have been creating pieces for friends and family since then, but just started doing local shows and selling my work the last 4-5 years.Ombre buffet Canvas 2
PV: Where, locally or otherwise, can folks see your works?
KC: Right now I do not have any galleries representing me, however I am opening my own studio this spring and have a lot planned for that. People are more than welcome to stop by and see me work, see finished pieces, and get an estimate for work they’d like to have done.Canvas 1 (1) Coffee table
PV: Do you have any future showings, gallery appearances or trade shows coming up soon?
KC: Honestly, I have been focusing all my efforts on opening up this studio so I haven’t had time to do much else. When my studio is open, then I will get back into showing my art locally at different venues.Detail painting
PV: Have you been published? 
KC: Not yet. I’ve had a few people want to do interviews but I’ve always been a private person when it comes to my art. The last year or so I’ve just started to put myself out there and so far I’ve had positive reviews. I plan on doing more interviews and shows in 2016 so be on the lookout!Teal dresser and painting
PV: Where can folks buy your art?
KC: Right now you can buy directly from me through my business page on Facebook, Instagram, or sending me an email. I have a graphic designer helping me with a website so you will be able to view works, buy prints, etc., but I am super picky so it’s taking much longer than it should be. Ha!
Continue to scroll below for more from Katie!
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