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Kris Jean

Artist's Interview

How long have you been creating?
I have been creating for as long as I can remember, actually. When I was around seven, my Aunt Tenna would let me play with some of her old oil paints and brushes, and I went to town! I fell in love with painting then, even though I was horrible, at the time. Also, I would visit my Grandmother Dorothy over summers, and she would show me the intricacies of tole painting. After refining some basic strokes, I swiped some of my Dad's paint brushes he used to clean auto parts, and tried my hand at landscapes. Oh, that was nearly as bad as my first attempts at oils! So I left it alone for a while, and painted things like Christmas ornaments and crafts. I took the occasional art class in school, but I didn't always pass. Out of the blue, I picked up a brush again in 2002. Everything just clicked, which is WILD because if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, Artist was my number one answer (followed closely by Astronaut, Florist and Medical Examiner).
What is your medium of choice?
Over the years, I've dabbled in nearly everything. I have tried so many things, but never felt as though I fully embraced anything. I kept bouncing from project to project. I prefer painting in acrylics, by far. I love the fluidity of it and the bold, vivid colors! Plus, I apparently like to get dirty. I don't think I own an outfit with out dabs of paint which is the universal sign of an artist, I hear. There is nothing like the smell of the paint, an awesome CD on the player, and a canvas! I am a very messy sketcher - I have to erase, line, reline, erase, block, and all that kind of good stuff to get anything worth while. It can take days to sketch something out to my liking. So, then naturally, I have to cover it all up with a good slather of paint. I am also not a draw-on-demand kind of gal. If you say I want an elephant, I can't draw an elephant. However, if it comes to me, I can draw you the best darn elephant you have ever seen!
What are your motivations for creating?
I create my art to express what I can't. Several years ago, when someone asked me what I was feeling, the answer to that question more often than not, was one a few answers - happy, sad, mad, tired, nothing, no, sure. That was the extent of my emotional vocabulary. "What's wrong?" "Nothing.". "Is something bothering you?" "No.". "Are you okay?" "Sure.". I kept it all bottled up inside, for a long time. I also lost out on the love of my life during this time, too. One day, I flipped my lid. I had to do something for my own growth, or I was going to end up a waste of space - the proverbial basket case. I went to the store and picked up some paint and canvas and just holed up in my room, for about three days. I painted, and painted and painted some more. The beginning of my emotional journey is illustrated with the names of my paintings in the original Body Language series. I had to reach deep inside, to a place I had never been before, to find the titles. A pattern emerged - very distinct emotions, characteristics, and traits. Each piece brought me closer to my true self that I had been unknowingly hiding from. Now, my art helps me to communicate with other people. I am not what you would call a "people person", truly. I know that sounds harsh and perhaps, even rude, but I'm truly shy, though no one seems to believe me. I am working on coming out of this shell - this wall I have built for myself- slowly, but surely. Through my art, I talk to so many people around the world. Not only do the images I create apparently speak to some, but I actually interact with patrons on the phone, and in person. This is all a growing experience for me. With out my art, I would feel as though I am still in a hole somewhere looking for daylight.
What other artists and movements inform your work?
I LOVE POP ART - the colors - it is all about the colors and lines for me. Never really EVER gave them any thought until my Best Friend Freddy pointed out their pure beauty. Bold & Vivid! Now, I can't get enough of it! I only know a few Artists by name (that would be because I flunked art class, as I mentioned earlier, remember?), but the ones that really stand out to me are Nagel, Peter Max, and Andy Warhol.
What do you find stimulating right now? How does this influence your creative process?
I would have to say the work I see day to day on EBSQ. I have made many friends here, including several close friends. I am blessed to get the opportunity to see the evolution and motivations of their work at a very intimate level. Much of the art here is so inspiring - it is like getting to see the new Spring line for 2010, now!
Read anything good lately?
In this department, you have caught me red handed - I am a trash/suspense/thriller novel addict. Nothing mind blowing or edu-mac-ate-tion-al here! Give me Jackie Collins over Carl Sagan any day! The last book was a re-read; Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann. It's also my favorite, closely followed by Full Circle by Danielle Steele.
What are some of your artistic goals for the future?
For 2006 I've met 3 of my 6 goals I have set for myself, which is amazing since I am basically lazy!. 1. Try to paint on something other than a 16x20 for a change. (done). 2. Get the Pop Gal series off the ground. If any one noticed the abrupt change from nudity to more mainstream artwork - that was a direct result of my Grandmother's passing as an attempt to make sure she was proud of me. I always got that *look* when we discussed my nude art - without realizing she was proud of me all along. (done). 3. Cut back my hours at my day gig, and pick up the slack income wise with art, so I can do what I truly love. (done - though I can't wait until it is full time!). 4. Create a "mesh series" between my Pop Gals and my Body Language Series. This incarnation will include skin tones and facial features. However, this does not mean the end of the original series. 5. Get a better camera so I can take better pictures of my art and I can then take the next steps - enter *serious* art competitions, apply for grants, and apply for spots at art shows. (That is the big thing, right there - which leads us to that pesky people thing again). 6. Show my art someplace other than the internet. (This one is pending completion. I am going to be sending some of my artwork to my friend Donna Gill Colestock and Robin McGee, two other EBSQ artists, for a show in Massachusetts. It is a tiny show, but it is a start!!!!).
What would you like your fellow EBSQ artists and collectors to know about you and or your work?
Collectors: I love you guys with all my heart and soul. You had faith in me when I was trying to find faith in myself. Friends at EBSQ: Through thick and thin - nothing more needs to be said. Everyone else: Keep your eyes out. You WILL be seeing more of me!

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