'They All Blend Together': Katie Runde, Renaissance Woman

It's hard to describe Katie Runde as anything other than a Renaissance woman. Here she wears the pair of Icarus' wings she created for a longterm conceptual project about man ascending.

Excerpt from VPR News By LYNNE MCCREA • SEP 8, 2019 • Read the FULL STORY on VPR here

Around mid-afternoon on a mid-summer day, Runde stood on a two-lane bridge above the White River. She was there to have her portrait taken for this story, and she wore one of her latest creations at VPR's request.

A man drove by, nodded and said through his open window, "Nice wings."

Katie Runde paints a realist still life in her White River Junction studio. She also plays saxophone, preaches part-time at her local church and, for one project, has built a human-sized pair of wings. - CREDIT ELODIE REED / VPR

He was responding to the human-sized feathered wings draped over Runde's shoulders. They were attached to a harness on her back, and the whole contraption – spanning 16 feet – weighed about 50 pounds. They were also attracting a lot of attention.

One man asked Runde if his daughter could take a photo with her and her wings. Another offered his drive-by opinion: "I don't think that's gonna fly!"

Even as the winged-artist-portrait held up traffic on the bridge, people didn't seem to mind. Mostly they smiled, and maybe wondered: what was the meaning of it all?

Inside her studio, Runde explained how the wings will be a "reference" for a painting she plans to do based on the story of Icarus and the idea of man ascending.

"Now, it didn't work out so well for Icarus – but that's part of the big picture," she said. "There's a picture of trying to rise and failing, you know kind of overdoing it, like hubris, like that kind of ascent."

When Runde talks about her life as an artist, she often prefaces it by saying "it's complicated."

But simply put, she really sees the different parts of herself – painter, musician and priest-in-training – as parts of an integrated whole.

"They all blend together though," Runde said. "There are all sorts of mixed metaphors, art and music and religion. They're all talking about the same things, like the deep parts of being human. You know science can tell us so much about the body and the brain, but not what it's like to be a person, and especially not a person going through stuff, you know, whether it's birth and death and all the big things."


Read the FULL STORY on VPR here