Krista Huot will be showing her newest work in “Quiet Storm,” a group show that will also feature the work of Scott Campbell, ghostpatrol and Roland Tamayo. You can catch the opening of “Quiet Storm” at Gallery 1988: Los Angeles, on Tuesday, May 26th, from 7-10 PM. The last time we saw new work from Krista was back in March when she was part of Gallery 1988: San Francisco’s group show “Sweet Surrender“. Since then, we’ve kept in touch with Krista and are happy to now share some new things we have learned about her in the interview after the jump…
Arrested Motion: Please tell us a little about your art.
Krista Huot (KH): I find myself creating these characters in order to depict either a feeling or situation. They’re like actors on a stage to me, and I like to work with symbols and metaphors. I like exploring the maiden/princess archetype, as in the stories she’s the one who goes through the transformations and the rites of passage. Lately, I’ve noticed the characters growing up a bit more, like they’re growing up with me. I like painting nature, costumes, masks, and working within a visual theme. I like to include visual references to childhood things like storybooks, fairy tales, and animation… not only because I love all of those things, but also because I find myself returning again and again to the theme of growing up and self-discovery. Sometimes it’s painful and bewildering, and other times you feel a sense of peace with it and you’re looking forward to the future… I’m trying to capture those moments. I’d like to start exploring these ideas more in the context of groups of people, as I slowly realize that so many people are going through the same thing.
AM: Can you tell us a little about your background? Any formal art education?
KH: I grew up in northern British Columbia, in a small forestry town called Prince George that’s quite far from everything – about a 9 hour drive to the nearest large city. The city heavily relies on forestry, and every summer, tons of dreadlocked hippies come to work there as tree-planters. It’s funny, even in Montreal, I’ve met people who have tree-planted in Prince George. When I was 12 years old, my family moved outside of the town itself, into the middle of the forest, and that’s where my parents still live. It was isolated for my sister and I being out there as teenagers, but we still went to high school in the city, and we loved being surrounded by trees and wild animals like deer, moose, bears, you name it. My parents didn’t let anybody hunt on our property so there were always wild animals around. We also had goats, chickens, ducks and horses.
When I was 18, I moved 6 hours south and went to a two year fine arts program at Thompson Rivers University, where I focused on painting and art history. I learned a lot, but I was sometimes frustrated. My painting instructor’s definition of “real art” was rather limiting, and I felt we spent more time in class discussing what subjects were appropriate to paint, rather than actually learning how to be stronger painters and better express our ideas. My favorite instructor was my art history instructor, who used to go up into the mountains and do plein-air landscape painting. After art school I went to animation school at Capilano College in Vancouver, which I found to be exactly what I wanted. It was very challenging and intense, and focused on developing a solid foundation of technical skills.
AM: Most of the work we have seen from you has been acrylic/mixed media on birch. What other mediums have you worked with and how do you feel about each?
KH: Well I really love working in acrylic on birch because it’s so solid, and acrylic dries quickly so I can build up many layers of color, but I also have been working a bit on paper lately. I find it interesting painting on paper because I find I can be a bit more graphic with the work, but still add details. I also did some work in pastel on paper this spring, and I really enjoyed working with a softer medium.
AM: You have done quite a few digital paintings but it appears that this has been put on hold for the moment. What are you future plans for digital work?
KH: I did a lot of Illustrator work before, but since I’ve been back to traditional media, I haven’t really felt the urge to work digitally. I guess I find painting and drawing with traditional materials more enjoyable right now. I don’t have current plans to work digitally again, but if a project comes up that would best be handled in Illustrator, I definitely would use it again for that.
AM: Can you please choose one of your own paintings and give us a little insight on the ideas behind it?
KH: The Light and All Her Witchery is about perceptions, about how depending on the way the light hits a situation, it can look so different. I feel that way when I look at my home, after having been away from it for 10 years now and having lived in other places, I see it in a completely different light. The trees inside of her dress remind me of a snow globe, like they’re kept there as a memory or a souvenir. Lately, I’ve been really into the idea of making things glow, trying to depict those fleeting moments of illumination where I can see my life with a bit more clarity. The woman in the painting isn’t a literal representation of me, but rather a representation of this feeling. I was listening to one of my favorite bands Black Mountain for a lot of the time while painting it, and in their song Bright Lights they chant this line “We love the night and all the witchery” which inspired me for the title.
AM: Although you currently reside in the city of Montreal, it doesn’t seem like you have shown much of your work in Canada. Can you comment on the art scene in Canada?
KH: As far as me not showing in Canada yet, it’s just how it ended up working out, maybe because I haven’t stayed put in one Canadian city for very long. In the past 5 years, I’ve lived in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. I was lucky enough to meet some American gallery owners through my friend Gary Baseman, then Corey Helford and Gallery 1988 invited me to some shows, and the ball started rolling from there. More galleries are starting up in Canada for this type of art, and the galleries we have up here are great. Montreal is an awesome city for art, it’s just such a creative place, which is why I was drawn to it. There’s some really cool graffiti, great galleries, an amazing music scene, the buildings are so beautiful, and even the metro is really interesting visually.
AM: You just had your largest show to date at Corey Helford Gallery back in July. Can you please tell us about your experience.
KH: It was such a wonderful experience, I was so nervous but Jan, Bruce and Richard really made me feel comfortable and welcome. Jan set up this beautiful installation in the loft around my pieces. I really couldn’t have been happier with the show!
AM: You are a fairly new artist but your work has been well taken and I would say that you have found success. Can you tell us about any struggles you went through while getting to where you are now? Which artists inspire you?
KH: Well thank you, I’d say the biggest challenge I’ve had so far is dealing with the distance I am from so many of the shows, learning the best ways to ship works, deal with customs etc. Normal challenges that you’d encounter when starting anything new like this I suppose. It’s also been a lot of work, and a lot of multi-tasking. I don’t see my friends very often!
I’m really inspired by illustrators and concept artists like Eyvind Earle, Mary Blair, Arthur Rackham, Tenniel… the people who brought to life my favorite stories. I love medieval tapestries, illuminated manuscripts, Little Golden Books and 70s kitsch. I find historic painters like Waterhouse, Rembrandt, Vermeer and Watteau inspiring, as well as contemporary artists like Camille Rose Garcia, Gary Baseman, James Jean, Natalia Fabia, Lori Earley, Joshua Petker, Sylvia Ji and I really could list so many more…
AM: What are some of your hobbies and/or interests outside of art?
KH: I love music, I grew up playing piano and lately I’ve been trying to learn guitar, although I haven’t had much time for it. I listen to a variety of music… metal, classic rock, folk. I love to cook, and I collect vintage kitchen stuff. I’m addicted to shopping on etsy!
AM: Can you please share what shows or projects you have planned for the future?
KH: Well I’m in an upcoming show (that we have talked about) May 26 at Gallery 1988 LA, with Scott Campbell, Roland Tamayo and Ghost Patrol. I can’t wait to see all of their work in person! Then, I’m going to spend the summer painting for a 3-person show in October at Compound Gallery in Portland, and my first solo show at Gallery 1988 San Francisco in January 2010. I’m really excited to be showing with Corey Helford again in the future also, with a 2-person show in 2010 and a solo in 2011!
AM: Always great talking with you Krista. We are really looking forward to seeing all of your future work!