Design Links: Wes Kline, Katya Reka & Gatis Cirulis


Editor’s Note: This is part 37 in Emily Potts’ inspirational series, Design Links. Every other week she features three artists whose work offers fresh, fun and stimulating creative inspiration. Each artist picks the next link—someone who personally inspires him/her. Check out the thirty-sixth part in the series, featuring Laura Fischer, Alma Allen and Erika Lynne Hanson.

Erika Lynne Hanson is inspired by …

Wes Kline

I find Kline’s navigation in and out of constructed spaces and thoughtful interrogation of the mediated reality—that has come to define contemporary life—particularly compelling and timely. The projects are deeply embedded in reference, yet remain grounded in physical experiences.

Compositions for Rivers is a nice example of the strata of information and experience that seems to be offered in many of the projects. The viewer moves through the landscape accompanied by a score, map, and augmented reality app via smart device.


Minotaurocracy is again a layered construction, though evoking more of a narrative form. I like that this project shifts realities with in the individual pieces, but is ultimately united in a sense that reminds me of surrealist film.

Wes Kline is inspired by …

Katya Reka

Katya’s work inspires me because it connects the tradition of thoughtful, materially-engaged, handmade bookmaking with the experiences of living in the often un-grounded 21st century, while remaining centered in Katya’s own experiences and insights. She uses often unexpected juxtapositions of materials to innovate in the form of the book, and she brings a sense of poetic surprise to the narratives and landscapes that move across the pages of her work.


Neckbook (2010) is a great example of Katya’s work, in that it conjures the feminine body being narrated by locating the book form as an unexpected relation to the body. The combination of vulnerability, decoration, and latent violence makes this work powerful and intimate.


Another stunning innovation in book form, Desert Dirt (2015), creates a portrait of a landscape, specifically the landscape of southern New Mexico, with all of its complicated politics and heterogeneous cultures distilled into a physical relationship to space and land. As contact prints of the soil, the pages of the book become “photographs” of the landscape, foregrounding the physical act of engaging with a place.

More handmade book design work by Katya Reka:

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Katya Reka is inspired by …

Gatis Cirulis

He inspires me to question everything, and to design and redesign every aspect of our lives. Gatis is a graphic designer, illustrator, mural artist, a talented educator and more. I met him when we were art students at St. Cloud State University. From coding, to Flash, to Illustrator, and FinalCut shortcuts—I always knew he would have an answer for me. By then, he had already worked with both U.S. and European clients on everything from logo to interior design. I was so smitten by his raw process and his design sense that we are now married. We went to the same graphic design MFA program, taught at the same university, and now run a creative services studio Nomadic Circus, in Santa Fe, NM.


This mural was done in Gatis’s house in Latvia. The mural is an intricate maze of childhood memories, adult fantasies, and magical plants. Built by his grandfather, the house was later re-designed by Gatis with a mural in each room. All over the house, murals were complemented with an eclectic mix of Soviet posters, antique china, framed magazine clippings, and dried plants. I love this mural because it reminds me of one of the ancient purposes of art—magic.


I am fascinated by the creative process. Not the elevated and remote notion of it—the real, doubtful, agitated, passionate, raw process of thinking with your hands. I am inspired by sketches and unfinished ideas. I am privileged to draw daily inspiration from Gatis’s process and his hefty sketchbooks which he has been known to microwave to achieve a desired color or texture for a drawing.

More design work by Gatis Cirulis:

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Tune in next time to see who inspires Gatis Cirulis.

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