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goat farm open studio

Not very much to say here, just some fun pictures to share. I had the pleasure of touring the Goat Farm open studio days two weekends ago and it was pretty much the best day. I love being able to explore artist studios, no matter what the work looks like. It’s always inspiring to me to see the physical spaces inhabited by creative minds. It didn’t hurt that it was a beautifully crisp day either!

what art has done for me

Art has helped me figure out who I am.

Is there something you’ve loved your entire life? That sounds like a big question because it is. Human nature and survival instinct demands that our personality and sense of self evolves with the world around us. However out of all the phases I’ve gone through, one thing I know that has always been true about me is that I love art. I love recreating, creating, and everything around and in-between. In elementary school, that looked like drawing an underwater landscape that got proudly displayed in the hallways. In adulthood it looks like… well, this. Out of all the words people have used to describe me, the only one that has always felt right has been “artist”. My relationship to this identifier continues to grow stronger with every stage in my life and it’s where I go when I lose my sense of self in other pursuits whether academic or professional. I come back to this word because I know it and I live it. I know who I am as an artist and it is exactly who I am as a person – complex, emotional, meticulous, compassionate, beautiful, and always yearning for connection.

Art has given me the tools to manage my emotions and learn how to communicate.

Maybe all of us go through this, but I think when I was younger I was often overwhelmed by my emotions. I don’t think it’s in the parent handbook to teach your child how to manage anger, sadness, grief, or envy. And when you’re a naturally shy and introverted child, these emotions can really wreak some havoc on your heart especially when you hit puberty. When I read my old livejournal blog posts, they’re like… insanely depressing. Like ridiculously melodramatic. But that was my reality! That’s really how I felt in that moment back in the day. This is when I truly found sanctuary and solace in art. My art teachers were sort of like second mothers to me, teaching me how to express myself effectively and manifest my energy into something worth sharing. 

howard finster’s paradise garden

Sitting down to write this, I realized the for all the art I’ve taken in over the course of my life… I still feel challenged when expressing my thoughts or feelings about it. Food is easy, style is logical, but art – perhaps because it’s what I feel most deeply about – doesn’t translate to words. So while I’d love to say to you that I can help you navigate the arts scene in Atlanta, it’s probably the last thing I’d be able to help you with.

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It took me way too long to find the time to take the drive to see Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden. And of course I ended up forgetting my real camera, so please enjoy these photos from my crappy old phone (lost my iPhone recently). It’s the best I could do, but really nothing can do this justice. Or really, any art justice.

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Art HAS to be experienced in real life. Digital reproduction will never be the same as seeing something in front of you. 

transforming fashion

All too often art exhibitions will pass through this city before we get the chance to experience them. I know I’m guilty of missing out on some pretty incredible collections just because I let it slip my mind. But let me do you a favor and remind you of one you should make a priority before it vanishes! This past November, Iris Van Herpen’s Transforming Fashion opened at The High Museum in Atlanta and I was honored to be invited to a media preview and walk-through with the designer herself. The exhibition will be open until May 15th, 2016 so you’ve still got a few months to check it out (spoilers below)! Without further ado, here’s a peek at Iris’ innovative designs:

iris-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-16airis-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-7airis-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-4aTransforming Fashion marks the first museum exhibition of Van Herpen’s collections in the US. In addition, this also is the first ever exhibition at the High to feature fashion design. It’s the single form of art that I think almost any one can relate to. We interact with fashion every day in the sense that what we choose to wear is the image we choose to present to the outside world. So we find it much easier to feel a certain way about a piece of clothing than we do about a performance piece or an abstract sculpture.iris-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-14airis-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-3airis-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-9aBut of course, this is not your everyday button-down and jeans. The pieces in the exhibition come from the entire range of Van Herpen’s collections, each inspired by a different element of the world (but I guess you could say that would be anything). From materials like water and metal to chemical phenomena like magnetism and smoke, her designs are as familiar as they are foreign. I don’t envision myself actually wearing these things, much the same way I don’t envision all art I admire being the art I put in my home. They’re a statement. A meditation on the relationship we have with our world, making the invisible visible.iris-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-5airis-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-13a

This post is sponsored by The High Museum of Art; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

everything i got

I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog front, but it’s not for a lack of desire, interest, or content. I’ve been spending my free moments over the past few weeks being a maker – doing things instead of dreaming of doing them.

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Earlier this year I applied to Indie Craft Experience’s Holiday Spectacular thinking that getting into this event would light a fire under my butt and.. boy, did it ever. Feeling under the gun, I’ve been making decisions and spending money on new products without second thought. I leapt.

I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch, but I want this to be it. I want this to be the real actual start of me feeling like I’ve got a direction. It’s never felt so close to being real and I don’t want this to stop. As exhausted and scared as I am, I am happy that I’m willing myself into this. More to come soon.

portfolio update

While it’s tempting to spend all my free time exploring Atlanta, eating delicious food, and meeting cool artisans, I can’t forget my first and foremost number one priority – making artwork. It’s a constant struggle to juggle being a hard-working professional, a normal life-loving person, and an artist. Some days I prioritize better than others like last week when I updated my portfolio website:

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Soon, I hope, all of this will be merged. My blog, my art, my career… it’ll all be one and the same. But until then I need to keep all these machines running individually, making sure that none of them die or grow stale.

Next thing on my plate is submitting to shows and perhaps securing an exhibition somewhere in Atlanta. Any suggestions?

In blogging news, I’m featured in Jezebel Magazine‘s May 2015 issue! See me in their “Blog Lovin” section on page 87

print shop now open!

You can now shop my prints! Check out the “shop” tab above and start building your Christina Kwan collection. This is my very very first online shop and I’m so excited to have these prints going out for the holiday season.

Flora 8
Flora 8

If you have any questions about purchasing and/or shipping, feel free to email me at christina.ann.kwan@gmail.com … Can’t wait for you to have a piece of my heart in your home.

the clutch

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Clutch it with your hands, hold on to it with your heart. The medium bag of our collaborative collection is the perfect size for a subtle and chic statement. Each piece has a reinforced leather bottom and a long leather tasseled zipper. Large enough to hold your everyday necessities and small enough to carry conveniently, the clutch is easily adaptable for a modern lady on the go.

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The design pictured here is now for sale at Crafted Westside’s Holiday Pop-Up Shop at Westside Provisions! Open daily from 10am-6pm, Crafted has great hand-made gifts of all kinds from Southern artisans, including my art prints as well. If you can’t make it to the store, feel free to contact me at christina.ann.kwan@gmail.com to see more designs available for sale and custom ordering details. Hooray for Small Business Saturday!

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the days are melting away

August is almost over and I can hardly believe it. We are well past half-done with 2014 and I feel like there’s still so much to do. And so much to sort out. Since I’ve embarked on this working full-time journey, it’s been difficult to get in all the local adventures I’ve become so accustomed to enjoying. When I’m not at work I’ve got just enough time to relax and recharge – and maybe paint and cook a bit – before I have to get right back into the thick of it. So I’m gonna go ahead and cheat by stealing pics from my instagram to share with you all the little things I’m loving lately. It’s these little things that keep me going. The little moments of everyday comfort, wonder, and beauty.

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This has been by far my favorite outfit of the past two weeks. I don’t typically buy, let alone wear, so much Free People, but this over sized tee and this stretchy pair of pants fits me just so. I wore it to work on a Sunday and it couldn’t have been better; so casual yet confident, almost as if #iwokeuplikedis. I highly recommend you go into your nearest FP and try on both of these things. I’d be surprised if you didn’t want them in your closet immediately.

inprogresspattern

I gotta hand it to myself. Though I’m often dead tired on my off hours, I’m still managing to get some good pattern painting in there. The main driving force behind it is a surprise I will be revealing very very soon! I’m doing my best to get a variety of organic motifs for a cohesive colorful collection. Stay tuned to see why..

octanelatte

Yes, guilty, another picture with coffee in hand. Working a lot means consuming a lot more caffeine. It’s just too difficult not to have this everyday indulgence. I’m an addict. At least every now and then I can manage to get a really nice cup, like this one from Octane Grant Park.

highlandrow

Okay, I lied. I do still manage to have my fair share of fun and discovery. I can’t help it! It’s just part of who I am. It’s just more difficult to capture everything the way I used to, hence the insta-overshare. This awesome Danish wooden salad bowl set (you can’t tell by this picture, but it’s pretty big) was one of many things I loved on a recent browse through Highland Row Antiques. The shop is a secondhand staple in Atlanta and their booths are always being refreshed by the vendors so it’s the perfect place to wander and lust over random objects I don’t need in my life.

Welp, that’s all I got for ya now. Hope it’s enough to keep you entertained and maybe a little inspired? I promise, exciting updates are coming soon. Just hold onto the edge of your seat. I know I am!

stretching

I call this post stretching because this pattern was a little bit different than what I’m used to doing. I’m trying to stretch my painting muscles here and really figure out what it is feels most natural for my hands while still having great visual impact. Sometimes that means planning and sometimes it means diving right in.

retro 30 / christina kwan

The inspiration for these shapes was a combination of retro 70s textiles and Dutch illustration. Looking back on it, I could have thrown in a variety of colors to play up the floral-fruit motif, but I stuck with blue for harmony’s sake.