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LQAF Scholarship Spotlight: Kristin Winters

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To be an artist means to be a creator not a destroyer- to have a deep desire to create your own world, and never accept it just as it was given to you.” -Artist Kristin Winters

 Q&A with Kristin Winters – former LQAF scholarship recipient.


LQAF:  When did you become an artist, that pivotal moment when you started calling yourself and seeing yourself as one?

Kristin:  I’ve been painting and drawing from when I was young, but I started owning the title, “Artist,” when I studied at the San Francisco Art Institute. It was an incredible environment filled with artists, critics and people with new ideas.  With the help of my professors, fellow students and the energy of the city itself, I began to find my voice.  In particular, my senior show at the Diego Rivera Gallery was a proud moment where I felt I’d transitioned into a, “Real Artist.”


LQAF:  How many times did you receive the LQAF scholarship?  Where did you go to school and when did you graduate? Are you working as an artist?

Kristin:  I received the LQAF scholarship every year throughout college: from when I first attended Loyola Marymount University, College of the Desert and finally the San Francisco Art Institute where I graduated with my BFA. I am now living and working as an artist in my hometown in the Coachella Valley.


LQAF:  Who or what influences your work? Do you have any artists or icons or leaders that you connect with?

Kristin:  I am sensitive to my environment so the imagery in my work often changes with my surroundings.  While in San Francisco I painted the massive container ships in the bay in gray-scale colors.  In Seattle this summer, I collected shells and driftwood from the beach and incorporated those into my work.

Now that I live in the desert, the mountains, vivid sunlight, and celestial night sky finds it way into my work.

The common thread in my work is that I do not paint the objects or scenery with the intention of portraying it as is, but rather to describe my experience of it.  To accomplish this in my current work, I use hyper-real colors and geometric shapes alongside the desert imagery to allude to my state of mind.

Although there are many famous figures that I greatly admire, (William Blake, Joseph Cornell, Vija Celmins) the artists who inspire me the most are my friends!

My biggest inspiration comes from two strong female artists my age: Coachella Valley artist Kylie Knight and my dear friend from SFAI Elizabeth Bea Kwan Lim.  Their work is vastly different from each other my own, but also deals with the subconscious; their dreams, their visions, and channeling their inner demons.  I feel that all of our work speaks to emotional archetypes and the experience of a mind living within a human body.

I consider Kylie and Elizabeth my greatest support system; it means a lot to have friends who are artists living in the same time and place I am.  I’m excited to see how their art continues to develop and where our different paths will lead us.


LQAF:  What are your inspirations and goals?

Kristin:  My number one goal is to work as much as I can and create art throughout my entire life. This is easier said than done because situations change and you can find yourself uninspired and lost.  There are times I’ve had to pick up the pieces and find new inspirations and the energy to move forward with both my life and art- so far so good.

As my career goes, I’m currently seeking out different artist residencies throughout the country.  My goal is to show my work outside California, east coast and aboard.  Within the next few years I want to continue my academic career by pursuing graduate school to obtain my MFA.


LQAF:  Tell us of a challenge that you have had to face as an artist.

Kristin:  The biggest challenge artists face is both a blessing and a curse: There is no fixed path or definition for what it means to be a successful artist.

For instance:  Do you want a prolific academic career or do you want to be an activist?  Do you need to sell the most work you can in a popular gallery or remain underground even if you sell nothing?  Do you want your work to be accessible to the greater public, or be highly esteemed by critics and collectors?  Is there any room for compromise on these issues?

Each artist has to examine themselves and their work closely to answer these questions.  They must think about what their work personally means to them and what they want to say to the outside world.  This is what I have to do in order to grow as an artist.


LQAF:  What methods do you use to promote and sell your work, i.e. do you sell online, work with a wholesaler, attend festivals, etc?

Kristin:  Social Media is the main way I communicate with the public- whenever my art is shown I create an event page and add everyone in my network.  For me, this is the fastest and most efficient way to spread news.

As of now, I’ve made sales through commissions and gallery exhibitions.


LQAF:  Share any other information you would like for people to know about you and/or your work.

Kristin:  I want people to know that art is important and powerful. To be an artist means to be a creator not a destroyer- to have a deep desire to create your own world, and never accept it just as it was given to you.

In a world where corporate conglomerates often have the greatest creative and media control, it can seem impossible to be significant as just one individual voice. But this makes it all the more important to create your art and put it out into the universe. I feel that my voice and my work are a piece of the puzzle in the greater collective consciousness.  When I create my art I experience a sense of power and humility at the same time.