Monday, June 22, 2015

Meet An Artist - Kristin Van Valkenburgh

Mixed Media* as an art form is quite evocative and does help to purge one's creative gestures leaving behind a potpourri of textures, layers, materials and finally memorabilia! The technique has always excited me but seeing the works of certain Mixed Media just go WOW! And if they are personalities who would end up inspiring a whole 'crowd' of other individuals tip-toeing and/or leading them into their own creative path, then it makes a whole lot of 'Awww's! Today I would like to introduce you to Kristin Van Valkenburgh of 'Twinkle Twinkle' where she hosts 'The Summer of Colors' which is in it's 5th year right now.

Dear Kristin, I am extremely glad to have you here in Hues n Shades and thanks for taking up this interview. Thank youfor taking time to answer my queries amid your busy schedule...It means a lot!

Thank you for having me! I’m a big fan of yours and am honored to be here.

Usually we begin with a brief intro…Why dont you tell us something about your background, family, education and the like.

I grew up an only child who spent my days watching old movies and dreaming of being an actress, just like the starlets I so admired in the black & white movies my Mother often had playing on TV. I was influenced by the glamour and intrigue of movie stars such as Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn discussing their plight in some sort fabulous disaster. And I loved every bit of it. So much so, I spent my childhood studying theater and performing on stage any chance I could get. By the age of 21, I had a BA in Theater Arts from UC Irvine and a knowledge of both the stage and stage makeup. Ironically, it was my work with makeup that ended up being the greatest influence on what I do today. Not only did I discover my love of color, but it eventually led to a career in makeup artistry, where I spent many years playing with pigments and proportions.

These days my life is decidedly less corporate. I spend most of my time running around the house caring for both of our girls - a 9-year-old tomboy and her sister, a 60-pound spoiled puppy - and the rest of my time is dedicated to any creative projects or endeavors that I may have in the works.


Have you had any formal education in art or are you self-taught?

Although I have a BA in the Arts, my passion was for the theater. It wasn't until recently - as in the last several years - that I taught myself to paint and draw by watching YouTube videos and taking as many classes as I could online and in person. The day I tried my hand at painting a face, all the experiences I had playing with color came pouring out, and it was if I had found “home”. I would have never guessed that I’d be here today with a paintbrush in hand, happily slinging paint whenever I get the chance.


You are a mixed media artist…what enticed you to that medium? Tell us your journey as an artist.

I got into mixed-media through scrapbooking, when scrapbooking “parties” were all the rage. I loved getting together with friends and playing with pictures and paper, but I took what seemed like forever creating each page. While my friends would pull off a dozen layouts over the course of an afternoon, I’d be lucky to have completed one. But I loved the process of creating and began to seek out all I could to learn more about it. That search eventually led me to a mixed media magazine by Stampington & Co. called Somerset Studio. I remember being physically affected and moved by the work I saw within its pages, and I was immediately hooked. I’ve been studying mixed media ever since.


You are the host of ‘The Summer of Colors’…which is in its fifth year! How did you come about it? What inspired you to conceive such a lovely linky party?

Just over five years ago I had an idea that popped into my head that I couldn't let go of. I had just finished reading True Colors: A Palette of Collaborative Art Journals by Kathryn Bold, a beautiful book about several artists working together within a confined palette, and it occurred to me that to have a blogging event based on something similar could be a lot of fun. I quickly planned out the event in my head, thinking that if we could just get around 20 people to play every week, we could really have something. I would have never guessed that we would have over 100 people participate the first week of the first year alone. The idea really seemed to take off and now here we are, five years later, celebrating color palettes and an amazing artistic community once again.


Getting published is a valuable achievement for any artist and you have been published well. Tell us your journey through that definite path. How much has that helped you to develop and evolve?

I was a nervous wreck the first time I sent my work into a magazine! I'd spent weeks working on my submission and remember being thrilled with the result. I sent it off beautifully packaged with whispers of good luck and then . . . was quickly rejected. The loss stung so hard that it took me a year to get up the courage to submit again. But with the second submission came a different kind of letter, this time one with a "congratulations" on top. And I've submitted regularly every since. One of the best things I've found with submitting often, is that I'm forced to think about what I do as it relates to a specific "call" or theme that I may have not thought of before. It keeps me on my toes and on top of the latest materials, trends and techniques so that I may offer something unique and different to the reading audience.


As you mention, your themes are whimsical (which obviously needs a lot of dreaming to do!) So are you a Dreamer? How would you describe yourself as an artist?

I've never really thought about that before, but yes, I would consider myself a dreamer! I spend a lot of time envisioning new projects and how I'd go about completing them as well as thinking of ways to be inventive and unique in my art and style. I think that in this way, all artists and creative people are dreamers as without a vision and drive to express it, we would never have new art to view, experience and learn from. Regarding my personal art style, I describe myself as a mixed media painter and collage artist who loves to create whimsical pieces with lots of layers, bright poppy colors, big eyes and positive affirmations.


Is there a dream project that you harbour in your deepest desires of creation?

I look forward to teaching internationally. I have a love of both teaching and travel and look forward to the day when both passions collide, and I get to conduct some sort of fabulous mixed media class to audiences everywhere.


Who are the artists who inspire you? Whose works hang on your walls?

I've always admired the work of the impressionist artists such as Degas and Renoir and the recent movie Big Eyes by Tim Burton exposed me to artist Margaret Keane who's haunting images really brought me to tears. I'm also a fan of many contemporary mixed media artists such as Tamara Laporte and Mindy Lacefield, both of whom I'm lucky enough to have prints from hanging on my walls.


Have you come across Indian art? If so, any favourite artist that you like?

Although before your blog I had not been exposed to many Indian artists, I've always been a fan of the textiles, beauty and culture. Both of my college friends and roommates - one in the States and one while I was an exchange student living in England - were Indian and as such, I had a unique opportunity to learn about their families and culture as a whole. I hope to visit India one day and won't consider my life complete until I do!


What other hobbies do you pursue?

Believe it or not, as "girly" as I am, I also have a dirt bike - and all the gear that goes with it. Our family regularly goes on camping trips where we'll spend an entire week in the dirt riding quads and motorcycles. But, it should be said, all my riding accessories are still in pink!

A tip/technique that you would like to share with our readers. Any parting advice to aspiring artists?

I think that the process of creating (and creating, and creating) allows every artist - aspiring or otherwise - to find their unique voice and talents. My best advice would be to show up and make things every chance you get: you never know where one idea, creation or canvas will lead you! Follow your heart, work hard and create art that makes you smile. As long as you're following your passion, the rest will works itself out.


Social Networking sites etc where our readers can fine you.

Thank you Kristin for giving us your candid, informative and ebullient views and thoughts. We wish you the very Best in all your future endeavours as well! Hope you have much more bright, colorful and positive stories to tell and let them make the world smile! :)

So friends, any one creative or not who would want to try their hands in dabbing paint can just hop over to Kristin's blog and join the weekly linky! You have the color prompts there... 4 more weeks to it's still good to go! :) Please do watch the video below:

*Mixed media, in visual art, refers to an artwork in the making of which more than one medium (say pastels and inks and/or paints, collage) has been employed.

Images are copyright of Kristin Van Valkenburgh. Please do not use/reproduce the content without the written consent of the artist.


Kristin said...

Deepa, thank you for such a wonderful interview and post. I'm honored to be here and thank you once again for your kind support! Yours, Kristin xo

Sharon Fritchman said...

Thank you so much for sharing this interview with all of us! I loved reading more about Kristin! HUGS!!

Linda Kunsman said...

Thank you Deepa for sharing Kristin here and giving us an in depth glimpse of this amazing artist!

Anonymous said...

Stunning works from Kristin, indeed an accomplished Artist!

Kokila gupta said...

Superb ! Kristin for her wonderful wonderful work and Deepa to present her to us :)
PS -Glad to reconnect Deepa :)