Finding Her Niche

Katie Gastley’s unique perspective has led to a successful career as an artist and businesswoman.
Katie’s children’s art prints started with these original watercolor paintings. While the colorful animals occupy most of her pin board, she also uses the board to showcase works-in-progress and to celebrate successes, like some favorite custom wedding pieces.

“Painting has always been something that I have to do,” says Katie Gastley, “just like you need to drink or eat.” And it’s worked wonders for her. Before the age of 30, the artist and owner of Idlewild Co. graduated from the Pratt Institute, worked for Martha Stewart, started her own business, and landed acclaimed clients like Urban Outfitters and West Elm. 

Last year, she and her husband, Tom Fletcher, relocated to Vero Beach from Brooklyn, N.Y.; and this spring they opened Idlewild Co., a combined shop and studio where Katie showcases her hand-painted prints, greeting cards and custom wedding stationery.

Today she sits behind her desk in her sunlit studio. There is a glint in her eye as she recalls her own art history, starting with one of her first heroines, Matilda, from Roald Dahl’s novel by the same name. She still has the dog-eared copy that she read and re-read in the third grade. She was especially drawn to the cover design in which a precocious young girl sits on a wooden crate, fingers tapping her chin, a slight smile on her face. An open book lies in her lap, and stacks of yet-to-be-read books surround her. Just like young Matilda, who lived to learn, Katie says that as far back as she can remember, she lived to paint. 

Categories: Features