S. Katy Tucker ’03 knew at Kenyon that she wanted to travel for work and live in New York City. The Brooklyn-based artist has fulfilled that dream — this year alone, she is working on projects in San Francisco, St. Louis, Sydney and Prague.
Tucker, a video and projections designer, creates videos shown at symphonies and operas to accompany the stories and music. She evoked the sea in a video for “The Flying Dutchman” at the Sydney Opera House in 2013, layering footage of water and the sky on screens resembling sails. She bridged music from “West Side Story” and “Hell’s Angels” for the St. Louis Symphony with video of dancers and motorcyclists and projected lights to give the feel of a speakeasy. She met with Paul McCartney several times to share ideas for a project for the New York City Ballet.
Tucker stumbled into the performing arts after starting at Kenyon as a painter. She dabbled in video production when she met installation artists her junior year during an internship in New York City and created video projects for her senior composition.
Tucker’s art became more theatrical as she added storytelling. After graduation, she landed an internship creating scenery for a theater in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. She ruled out that job. “I had to paint a lot of bricks and rocks,” she said.
At her next internship at the Metropolitan Opera, a director helped pinpoint her career. When Tucker told the woman about her passion for video and theater, the director told her, “You want to be a projections designer.” It was the first time Tucker had a name for the job that fit her art.
Tucker, who came to Kenyon to play tennis, compares the pressure of playing a solo sport with the stress of preparing for a show. In tennis and at work, “You just get through it,” she said, adding that sports taught her to be confident in her career pursuits.
Tucker has returned to Kenyon several times, including as a Mesaros Visiting Artist, to work with students and to speak about her career. “They’ve really fostered my career after college and have taken an interest in keeping touch and being part of my life,” she said of the Kenyon community.