Nothing can make a young adult feel nostalgic — or old — as quickly as a kid pointing at a VHS tape and asking, "What's that?" But while DVDs and streaming services may rule the day, artist Katie Winchester is keeping video alive by remaking VHS cover art.
Winchester, who lives in Carbondale, Illinois, has been using acrylic paint and wooden blocks to re-create faux VHS boxes for the past two years. She gives each movie her own twist, often adding fun taglines and describing what she would want people to know before renting the film. The Internet has taken notice — she's drawn more than 12,000 Instagram followers. IRL, she has a gallery in New Orleans selling her work, as well as a show now display in St. Louis at the Cherokee Street gallery Grease 3 (3214 Cherokee Street).But she wasn't always an artist. In fact, Winchester taught herself how to paint because she had a vision for, yes, fake movie boxes.
“I’ve always collected VHS and I’ve always loved the artwork," she says. She commissioned an artist friend to paint wooden boxes as if they were VHS tapes, but he encouraged her to take over herself. "He did them, but they weren’t really his style. He told me that if I wanted to, I could probably just do it myself and I should try it out," Winchester explains. "He bought me paint and gave me some brushes, and I started and it was really fun.”
That fun has since grown into a full-fledged business. Winchester takes commissions for VHS art through her Instagram and Facebook pages and sells prints on Etsy. While she herself is a horror and sci-fi movie fan, Winchester will work in whatever genre customers want.
Winchester dates her love of videotape boxes back to childhood.
“When I was six or seven, I lived in a 200-person town, so there’s not much to do. There’s like a little park, and then there was like a TV repair place, and the guy had maybe like 50 or 40 VHS tapes that he would rent to everyone in my small town. I think I rented them all," Winchester says. "And eventually my mom let me rent The Good Son, which is rated R, but it had Macaulay Culkin in it. I was just renting everything when I was little, and I was obsessed with it."
Then her family moved to a bigger town with more video stores.
“My mom told them to let me rent whatever I wanted, even if they were rated R, because at that point, I had seen it all," Winchester says.
You can now see her love for video in her art at Grease 3, which — no surprise — discovered her work on Instagram. The gallery is displaying her work now through August 8. The final day will include a closing reception from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., with a showing of Mars Attacks at 7 p.m.
Grease 3 is open Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment on weekdays. For more information, visit the Grease 3 Facebook page.
Check out some of Winchester's VHS art below.
Gotsta pay my rent, dudes! All these babes are for sale! I'm closing my eyes and refreshing my paypal and praying to the rent Gods! 😝 and remember - commissions are $50 but all these in the pic go for $40 today free US shipping. Help your #VHS sibling out! 😎 #vhscu #acryliconwood #vhsgirlpainting I think I might have painted 150 paintings by now. I should have made a ledger sooner😅
I always wanted a wall with all my favorite movies on it, so I did the thing and remember everyday to make art that makes your soul happy, and then it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Except maybe your landlord, who probably hates you for putting so many holes in the wall. I'll paint it before I move out, I promise! ☺️ #vhsgirlpainting