Five questions to Kristen Guest

Five questions to Kristen Guest

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Kristen Guest is a landscape lover and draws inspiration from the region and nature when making creative decisions. She currently focuses on abstract painting. She also teaches at Art on 30th, an art centre in San Diego. The artist was born near Detroit, Michigan and currently lives in Poway, California. 

How did you get into art?

For some, becoming an artist is a conscious decision. For me, it happened the moment I could pick up a pencil. Growing up in a small town in Tennessee on a 150 acre farm was not the most ideal environment for learning how to become an artist. There were no art programs at my private high school of 120 students. There were no art camps within an hour's reach.From a young age, I had to motivate myself. My parents were always supportive of me because I would obsessively draw for hours everyday.

When it came time for me to attend art school, I couldn't have been more excited. The art department at my university was like a candy store. I couldn't decide which studio major to go after because I loved them so I became an art teacher and learn a wide variety of mediums. While in college, I got into my first art gallery called The Art House, and I began teaching drawing and painting out of their space as well.



How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?

I can be very gestural at times and at other times, I use a lot of dramatic or monolithic shapes. I love to execute shapes and abstract marks with strength and experienced abandon. I will combine the powerful movement of these strokes with a sophisticated and subtle color palette. I like to work in a series to create unified body of work. It’s not uncommon for me to painting several pieces at a time, keeping them at roughly the same stage in the process, as I explore a theme. I will also limit my color palette and will only change up the colors when I am ready to start a new series.

How do you go about developing your work?

In a nutshell, I like to draw, paint, draw, paint… Having grown up drawing, something turned on inside of me and I could clearly see how to start and finish. It was a pivotal moment in my art and I still use this approach today. I love to incorporate gestural marks, spatters and drips using just simple water soluble drawing materials. I rarely use black paint for this reason. My work is considered mixed media because I use a combination of acrylics and dry media like charcoal, carbon, pastels, graphite, and art crayons/pencils.

Who or what influences you?

I’m a landscape lover pulling inspiration from regional areas and nature for my creative choices; translating the beauty and atmospheric feeling of these places into marks, color, and texture that often result in dramatic shapes, gestural lines, and visual tension. I like to work from places I have visited and experienced, making these themes personal and exciting to me. I don't always create a loose rendition of a photo, sometimes I will deconstruct the image and infusing the feeling or mood of these places into my work.

Make us curious. What is planned next?

I'm currently working on my Spring series, “Where the Wild Things Grow,” a collection of abstracted landscapes with colorful fields of wildflowers indigenous to the Southern California region. I'm using oil, pastels, and cold wax medium to create thick and buttery-rich textures. My "Amarillo" series in 2021 was inspired by the Joshua Tree's Super Bloom in 2019 and I'm looking forward to how our trip to the desert this year will inspire this new body of work. Releasing on Friday, April 28th.