The Art of the Red Kettle: Katie Geis

Oct 31, 2018

Katie Geis, a Milwaukee-based emerging artist, explores bold coloration, sweeping gestural brushstrokes, and minute details in her work. Her mediums of choice vary between oil and watercolor as each provides its own artistic pleasures. Katie’s paintings bring alive the inherent quest to express something personal, in an ardently appealing way.  To tap into a viewer’s memory or emotions, while also procuring her own, is what drives her to continue her work. She finds that the process of creating ameliorates her everyday life, allowing a way to release that built up energy into something beautiful.

After graduating with dual degrees in Fine Art and Psychology from Wisconsin Lutheran College in 2013, Katie entered the art trade, primarily inspired by landscapes and detailed architecture. Having spent her childhood in San Jose, California, she frequently draws inspiration from her beloved hillsides and ocean scenery. She is especially drawn to the way light plays a role in drastically enhancing its subject, extracting stunning and unexpected colors.  While she enjoys nature scenes the most, she also dabbles in fashion, abstract florals, and figure studies.

Katie continues to pursue her work while also offering commissioned pieces and live event paintings for galas, weddings, and corporate events. In the past, she has donated her work in support of Salvation Army, Echelon of Milwaukee, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Southeastern Wisconsin, the Pediatric Congenital Heart Association, and the Wisconsin Governor’s Residence, among others.  When she isn't painting, she works at the Medical College of Wisconsin in their Ombuds department. Katie enjoys hot yoga, hiking in the Sierra Nevada’s, superb espresso, and spending time with her husband, Ethan. They have three kitties and a baby due in March! Katie plans to open her own art gallery one day, complete with an animal rescue, coffee shop, and yoga studio.

Why did you want to participate in The Art of the Red Kettle?
I was excited to be a part of this campaign as I’ve always been a supporter of the Salvation Army. To be able to use my ability to help such a good organization is so rewarding. I have painted in the past to support Salvation Army and have met many wonderful people in the process that have shown me the importance of helping the needy. I just saw this as another opportunity to do so while representing Echelon of Milwaukee and sharing my artistic voice.

What is your favorite aspect of The Salvation Army?
My favorite aspect of the Salvation Army is their mission to be a light to others and help the poor and needy.

How did you first learn of The Salvation Army?
My earliest memories of Salvation Army are from childhood. I remember seeing them outside of grocery stores around Christmas-time raising funds for the homeless.

What is your inspiration for your kettle art design?
The theme for this year is “Light of the World.” Many recognize this term as the phrase Jesus used to describe himself. In Matthew 5:14, he also used that term to refer to his disciples- “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” This verse is the inspiration behind my kettle design which depicts figures passing their sunshine, the light, to others. We do this by treating others with kindness, love, humility, and care. In doing so, this lights up our world to be a better place for all. I’ve combined this theme with Echelon’s- “All I Want for Christmas is Summer” theme by using sunshine as the light being passed.

Social Media:
Facebook Page: Katie Geis Fine Art

Each day until the Milwaukee County Red Kettle Kickoff, we will feature each of the artists participating in The Art of the Red Kettle. At the end of our friendly competition, there will be three artists who win the titles of Most Social Media Likes, Most Funds Raised, and Most Creative. You can help us decide! On November 9th, we will post a photo album of each artist's kettle. You can vote for your favorite kettle by liking that kettle's photo. If you'd like to help the artists raise the most funds, you can visit: and donate to your favorite kettle. Funds will support The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign which supports over 80 programs and services throughout Milwaukee County. Thank you for supporting The Salvation Army and local artists.

Related Content: Red Kettle Campaign, Milwaukee County, The Art of the Red Kettle