Hi! I’m Katie (Katie Benedetto Jones*). I’m a web developer and artist, living and working in sunny Durham, North Carolina with my husband Andy and two fabulous cat babies. I travel, find new adventures, build for the web, draw, and share some of it here on the home for all things Katie.
Yellow Rubber Ball
If my business name reminds you of Red Rubber Ball, you’re onto something.
I started Yellow Rubber Ball in 2006, as I was finishing my master’s – in math – at the University of North Carolina. I was there for a PhD, though left with a master’s when I realized that it was the only point in The History of Katie that I wasn’t the happiest I’d ever been. I started my business, left math, and never looked back.
Red Rubber Ball
And I think it’s gonna be alright, yeah the worst is over now
The morning sun is shining like a red rubber ball.
While planning my escape from grad school (i.e., writing my soul-crushing thesis), I was listening obsessively, as I do, to the song Red Rubber Ball, by the Cyrcle. In the song, the girl was my grad school, and the red rubber ball was my new path of freedom. I knew that what I might do for work could change, too – I’m always up to something new. Inspired by Red Rubber Ball, I named my business after my energy: Yellow Rubber Ball.
I’ve been developing websites and apps since 2009. I’m both a web designer and a programmer, so I call myself the most full-stack web developer I know. I do everything a site or app includes, from the design and user experience (UX), to code (front-end to back-end), to even some server management (nginx, for me!).
I rock all things WordPress – from custom themes, to plugins and widgets, and most anything WordPress you can think of. I’ve built several Buddypress-based social networks and multisites, at least dozens of custom themes, custom plugins and custom widgets.
My clients range from small businesses to large organizations, from local to Raleigh/Durham, to international. So what do my clients have in common? They love my energy.
A Home for All Things Katie
Yellow Rubber Ball is a home for all things Katie. I’ve had separate sites for various adventures, though I was on to something when I named my business after the common thread, my personality. Through Yellow Rubber Ball I’ve developed for the web, taught Zumba, started a startup, and now, am sharing my art. I’m learning that what ties it all together is me – so I’m reeling all my work to stay in one place, here. You can hire me for web work, peruse my drawings, or read blog posts sharing my experience.
About My Art
I draw with pen and paper. It’s a pretty unplanned, intuitive process – I start with a big shape, sometimes with a cue though usually without a real goal, and let it turn into what it does. Then, I scan the drawings to digital, and then fill in bright colors and gradients using Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
The Style and Themes
My drawings are Zen drawing meets quirky. The drawings are typically childlike, with bright colors and silly themes, though often explore darker topics when you really get into them. Since they feel like they have a life of their own, I feel welcome to critique them myself: I like how they explore the darkness of humanity and American commercialism, in a way that’s approachable.
Topically, there are recurring themes of commercialism, anthropomorphism, the existential, and American life. Some of the recurring characters and objects are:
- Bob: A fuzzy yellow character. Bob is the common person (not gendered), who often has some kind of statement for the people. Bob announced his arrival in Bob’s Speech.
- The Minions: silent workers, found in great numbers. They look like Bob, without faces or limbs – just little yellow fuzzy things. The Minions first appeared in The Queen And Her Minions.
- The Minions’ Minions: The Minions’ workers. You never see them, you only see the windows of their homes. The Minions’ Minions arrived with Bob’s Speech.
- Carrots: these represent false promises of all kinds, often the religion of consumerism. They first appeared in It’s Carrots All The Way Down, and recur frequently.
- Laughing Rocks: Conscious rocks. They have open mouths – usually grinning, sometimes frowning angrily – and 3 green tufts of hair. The first conscious rock appeared to express horror in Laser Woman Chops a Tree With Her Eye Lasers. I think of the laughing rocks as Buddhas.
- Business Bear: Business bear is heavily inspired by Milton in Office Space – so much so that he usually appears with a red stapler, or TPS reports. He represents soulless 9-to-5 work for The Man. Business Bear first showed up in Gifts From a Tornado Or a Fart.
Artistic Inspirations Heros
My art is inspired by the work of several artists in a couple different mediums:
- Sam Brown / Adam Culbert at Explodingdog. While I studied classical art at William & Mary (and was correctly discouraged by my professors), I wallpapered my dorm room in Explodingdog comics. I thought I sucked at art, admired Sam, and switched to math for my own career. Little did I know I’d produce a similar comic over ten years later!
- Crazy Monster, also by Sam Brown / Adam Culbert. He’s such a huge inspiration that it deserves a second mention – and in particular, Crazy Monster is my spirit animal.
- Dr. Seuss. When I was 6 and Theodore Geisel died, I told my mom and teacher not to worry, that I’d be the next Dr. Seuss. “Kid, You’ll Move Mountains!”
- Roald Dahl. I must have read Matilda a dozen times as a kid. I loved his zany stories and characters, all manner of things ridiculous. I was absolutely delighted to watch The Trunchbull come to life watching Matilda on Broadway. It gave me my indigo child rally cry: “We are revolting children, living in revolting times / We sing revolting songs, we lead revolting lives / We’ll be revolting children ’til our revolting’s done / And we’ll have the Trunchbull bolting, we’re revolting!”
- Dale Chihuly, a glass sculptor who creates fantastic, whimsical sculptures in brightly colored glass.
- Isaiah Zagar, who builds mosaics around Philadelphia, especially the Philadelphia Magic Gardens. I love the existential themes, bright colors, and use of mosaic – which you see in the patterns in my drawing.
- Carl Sandburg, for his Rootabaga Stories. Again, for his twisted stories: “one, two three four. Accidents happen in the best-regulated families.”
Enough about me. Let’s hear about you! Say hi below:
Then head over to my drawings, and leave some stories about what you imagine is happening in these drawings, because art is better enjoyed together. See you in the comments!