Artist. Painter. Curator. Muralist. Teacher. Founder. Mother. Wife. Chief Creative Officer.
These are just a few of the hats Katie Murray wears as she contributes her many talents to the art and culture of Fort Worth.
Currently, Katie is the Chief Creative Officer at M2G Ventures, a commercial real estate group. Katie is the artist responsible for making Cowtown more beautiful one mural at a time. As a guest on The FoundHers Club Podcast, Katie opened up and shared how “career fear” nearly held her back from making the career move of her dreams.
At her kindergarten graduation, a shy Katie leaned into the microphone and announced she wanted to be an artist when she grew up. During her first art class in high school, she became enthralled with the act of creating, and her teachers supported this newfound passion. Outside of school, she frequented art museums with her parents and engaged in cultural activities offered in the area.
“As a kid, I was extremely shy… a total introvert. I tell my friends that I used to let my parents talk for me. They liked to talk, so it kind of worked out. I would literally hide behind them, and people would ask me questions, and they’d answer for me. As I got older, I remember my dad telling my mom that she had to let me answer questions for myself. Now that I’m older, I draw energy from friends, family, and parties. It’s not that I necessarily want to talk during these things, but I like to be around a lot of people to observe and explore.”
Katie started out in college majoring in fashion design but finished with a degree in graphic design. She found herself gainfully employed and sitting in front of a computer all day, where she spent time daydreaming about her true love – painting. She went Texas Women’s University and earned a Master’s of Arts with a focus on painting. “After graduating with a degree in painting, I had my first child and took some time off. I wanted to get back into art, but I didn’t know how.”
In one of those serendipitous turns that life sometimes takes, Tarrant County College was looking for an adjunct professor of design. Katie got the job and after teaching her first design class, she was hooked.
It was while she was teaching that Katie was offered an incredible opportunity which jumpstarted her career as an artist. Sisters Susan Gruppi and Jessica Miller had formed M2G Ventures and offered Katie a new role in which she could combine her knowledge of graphic design, architecture, and art by creating a series of inspirational murals on commercial buildings.
“[Susan and Jessica] hired me to paint murals… to inject life into old buildings. This added a new medium into my repertoire, and I am forever grateful to them for giving me a public platform to express myself through art… When this opportunity approached itself to me, I was really nervous about it because I had never painted at that skill before.”
We women are our own harshest critics. As soon as an opportunity presents itself, our first response is that we aren’t good enough to take it, or we don’t want to let anyone down. Imposter syndrome is real, and sadly, it is far more prevalent among women.
“My greatest challenge was overcoming an insecure mind,” said Katie. “It took a lot of self-encouraging… I realized I had to stop the self-doubt and recognize the amazing opportunity I’ve been given. At one point, I actually typed an email to Susan telling her I can’t do this and thank you for the opportunity, and even recommended a couple of artists who I thought would do a great job. I typed it out and it was ready to be sent. I deleted it and decided I was going to make it happen. I’d figure it out.”
Katie took a leap of faith, and now her murals are helping to turn Fort Worth into one of the most colorful cities in Texas.
So, what’s next for Katie? Be on the lookout for ‘unicorn cycles’ which integrate Katie’s design and art in a new partnership between M2G and Fort Worth Bike Sharing, which has bike share stations across the city.
These days, Katie finds inspiration all around her. Katie loves traveling, visiting other museums and galleries, and especially curating. She can find inspiration absolutely anywhere.
“You’ll find inspiration everywhere, as long as you’re open to it.”
Cortney Gumbleton is the creative genius behind the new podcast, The FoundHers Club, which focuses on the incredible stories of the unapologetically ambitious women founders who are redefining the wild world of entrepreneurship.