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!
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.
Something that I really love and want to get back to is interviewing other creative and stylish individuals. The connections I get to make in this city are more inspiring than anything else could ever be. I do tend to make connections with other women, not because I particularly choose to, but because there’s a deeper understanding between us about how our creative pursuits really affect the trajectory of our success – both professionally and personally. As women we are carriers of the responsibility to nurture families and raise the next generation. That added layer of pressure on top of trying to chase our dreams makes every step feel that much more crucial; every success and every failure is that much more important. Anyways, I digress.
Today I introduce you to Anna, a fellow artist who is brimming with talent and just trying to make her way up in the world. She’s already got the hard part down, I mean just look at her illustrations. Now all she has to do is be patient and wait for the world to pay attention. I have no doubt that soon this girl’s IG followers with explode and I’ll be seeing her drawings all over the industry. Her work is effortlessly precise yet loose, a striking balance of form and free strokes.
When did you start illustrating? How did you decide that pen and paper was your destiny?
I started drawing early in grade school–really the same time anyone else starts drawing. Nothing else really “clicked” with me like art did… and I threw myself into it wholeheartedly. Maybe art found me 😉 I haven’t stopped drawing since.
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.
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.
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:
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?
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.
If you have any questions about purchasing and/or shipping, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org … Can’t wait for you to have a piece of my heart in your home.
A Dopp kit is a small toilet bag, made of leather, vinyl, or cloth, that is used for storing men’s grooming tools for travel. The name derives from early 20th century leather craftsman Charles Doppelt, a German immigrant to the United States, who invented his toiletry case in 1919. The kits became widely known during the Second World War when they were issued to GIs. Dopp kits were once a common gift given to adolescent males as they ascended from boyhood to adulthood.
While ours is not an official dopp kit, the traditional shape served as our inspiration to create these multi-use travel pouches. They are all unique and hand-painted, a great size for makeup, pens, jewelry… whatever daily tools you need to get by.
These are currently available at Crafted Westside’s holiday pop-up shop at Westside Provisions, as well as available for custom order. If you’re interested in ordering one, please email me at email@example.com!What would you use yours for?
In case you haven’t read between the lines, I’ve been working on a seriously exciting collaboration with my lovely and inspiring friend, Rachael of Neva Opet! Her bags are some of the best in town and it’s no secret that I’ve been a big admirer of hers for a while now. She was one of the first artisans I interviewed for this blog and her positive outlook and support has made a wonderful impact in my life’s work. It felt super natural for us to fuse our crafts; our mutual respect and adoration for each other’s sense of design made this a no-brainer. What is this going to look like, you ask? Well, here’s a sneak peek from my instagram…
I’ve never done product design like this before and it was definitely a good challenge. With the amount of bags I had to do and the lack of free time I had, it forced me to create more efficiently. This mostly meant leaving things be and accepting the beauty of simplicity. I have the tendency to over-create because I always want to add more and more subtle layers. But for this project, it was important to step back and force myself to provide breathing room. I had to remind myself that they were all going to be transforming into something else, something useful, and that a simple statement is much more impactful than a busy chaotic mess.
I have no idea what the end product is going to look like! I just passed off all the materials to Rachael for her to do her magic and by this time next week, we will finally have a finished line.
What I do know is that there will be a variety of colors, patterns, and bag shapes for you to choose from and it’s just in time for the holiday season! Some of these will be living in Crafted Westside‘s Holiday Pop-Up Shop and others will be available for custom order. We’ll be premiering our products in the next two weeks with more information to come. Hope you’re half as excited as we are!!