Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Kristen Reichert and I’m a painter based out of San Diego, CA. I combine realist portraiture with surreal color, using oil paint and spray paint to create a juxtaposition of techniques.
What is your favorite medium?
My favorite medium would have to be oil paint. I love how it blends so smoothly and can create such realistic textures. I also love that the pigments are so rich and vibrant.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Many different things. Sometimes it’s the folds in a piece of clothing, the movement of someone’s hair, or a certain shade of blue that I find interesting. Other times a random image or experience will create a spark in my mind, which then evolves and grows until it becomes a precise idea to be translated into a painting.
What is your creative process?
I keep a notebook full of ideas for potential paintings. Most of the ideas never come to fruition but there are always a few that keep my mind curious. If I keep returning to an idea over and over then I know there’s something there that needs to be explored. Many of the ideas become puzzles to move and shape and make just right before I start the final piece. I make a lot of studies to help work out the intricacies of every piece and experiment with colors. Studies are great because I feel like I can do whatever my intuition desires without the fear of ‘messing up.’ Once I feel like I have an idea locked down and I can clearly envision what the final result will look like, I start on the main piece.
Is there a specific theme/message/emotion you aim to evoke?
Every time I work on a painting I write a statement about the piece as I work and my thoughts flow. Keeping documentation of my thoughts as I work helps me to understand the piece better myself and to be able to communicate my thoughts concisely to others. Sometimes the idea behind a painting is more specific while other times it’s more abstract. Overall, if I’m able to evoke any kind of emotion or reaction from the viewer I find it to be a success.
What motivates you to continue to create?
I need to create in order to feel like I’m alive and fulfilling the path I’m meant for. I feel like it’s a part of who I am rather than a choice I make.
When you encounter creative blocks, what do you do to overcome them?
I try not to over think things. If I’m feeling frustrated or off track I take a break from being in the studio to do something else. Sometimes my mind just needs a break to refresh. Ideas and solutions will often come to me when I’m doing activities other than painting.
What are your thoughts on the future of art?
The art world is being blown open by technology and social media. Now art is available constantly at the tip of everyone’s fingers. All you have to do is open up instagram and there’s a constant slew of new artists to be found. There’s a lot to be said about the implications of social media on the art industry, but I find it to be mostly positive. Art feels more approachable now than it ever has before and it’s great that people have more resources to learn about and view art.
What is something you have had to learn on your own that you would like to pass on to the next Creative?
There’s this idea that to be an artist you have to be prepared to hear the word “no” a lot. I don’t necessarily agree. I think if you approach the right opportunities at the right time in your career you’ll end up hearing yes much more than you’ll hear “no”. I think it’s important to be very aware of where you are in your career and to have a good understanding of the galleries your interested in showing with or the publications you want to be a part of. If you’re thoughtful and patient about who you approach you’ll be much better off in the long run. I think the main thing people find so hard is the patience. When we see other artists getting opportunities we get restless and in a rush because we want those opportunities ourselves. So, being able to focus on your own path rather than other artists’ is something important to learn.