I love Craigslist with a passion. You just never know what you're going to find. This morning I'm wishing my husband didn't hate pigs because I do believe a couple of these gilts would start off my pastured hog project rather well. They are part Red Wattle Hog and part Blue Butt (which is usually just a Hamp/York Cross). So, they have the wattles, but have a red with black spotted rump. Sigh, someday. I figure when I have a bit more land (almost twenty acres isn't enough) I can put them in the farthest pastures without much of a qualm from my significant other.
I'm sure not everybody dreams of having pastured pigs, but this girl sure does.
If you've read my blog for long, then you know I am a sucker for architecture. One of my ways of getting my "house fix" is by perusing the real estate sites and looking for diamonds-in-the-rough that I can daydream about fixing up. This one is a 1919 model that has especially cute details. All images via Realtor.com.
Wouldn't it look wonderful polished back up? I really like the windows and the wood floors.
From as far back as I can remember I've had this strange pull, this pang in my heart, that randomly happens when I'm going down the road. It can be triggered by lots of different things--a woodsy smell, sunlight filtering through the trees and onto the road, the way a certain road curves out of sight, a fencepost. It's such a strange feeling, as if I'm remembering something, but I only get flashes. Blips of pictures. I don't know what it means.
I'd love to find the place that I long for. It seems be in the middle of nowhere, forgotten, with that perfect rustic, wild, just rained, woodsy, dirt smell. The winding road falling at it's feet. An overgrown driveway. A farmhouse grayed to perfection. Perhaps it's just a dream I've had that realizes itself every once in a while in real life.
I'm so excited to introduce you to this artist. She has such a neat project that she's been working on for the past couple of years. Her art caught my eye right away--drawings inside matchbooks. Then finding out that the drawings were of what the matchbook's business site looks like now made me love them even more. I wanted to know more about her, and she graciously accepted my request to interview her. Here is Krista Charles of xacharles on Etsy.
Were you always an art kid, or did you stumble upon it later in life?
don’t remember when I first started drawing on paper, but I was
definitely drawing full pictures by the time I was four. My family
moved to Juneau, Alaska when I was three and we did a lot of crafts
to keep busy in the winter, plus I would do drawings to send as my
letters to relatives before I learned to write.
I had to pick a favorite style, I don’t think I could limit it to
less than two styles, modern art and ancient art. I love most styles
of art, but I find myself most excited either by art that is
relatively new and unexpected and can connect me on some level to
what its creator was thinking, or art that is old and its creator is
long gone, but their work is still unexpected and original on some
level and has that same ability to connect me to its creator and what
they might have been thinking and experiencing.
What do you use for inspiration, or how do you generate ideas?
my past work I have always taken direct inspiration from objects I
have found at yard sales or junk stores or estate sales and my work
at least directly hasn’t been influence by the art world or other
artists, but I think with the matchbook landscapes I might be
crossing the line, combining junk finds with the landscape genre.
Walk us through your creative process from idea to finished project.
have been working with the same basic idea for almost two years now
with the matchbook landscapes. To select a matchbook for my next
drawing, I dig through three different boxes of sorted and unsorted
matchbooks that I have. Once I find a matchbook that interests me for
some reason, usually its design or its location, I go online and try
to locate it in Google Maps and if I cannot easily locate it (which
is frequent), I do some research. I can easily spend a half hour or
an hour just trying to locate it online, especially if I am intrigued
by its design or if it is for a business type I have never done or if
it is a city I want to sketch in. Some businesses only list their
title and no address, or cross streets but no street number, or it
might not be recorded in Google Maps, and sometimes the Google map
takes me to the wrong location and I have to figure out if it is just
a few blocks away or not. Once I locate it, I move around
it in Street View, up and down the street, trying to find an angle
that pops out to me. If I get an angle that interests me visually, I
will then typically spend the next two hours or so doing the drawing.
I always start and complete a drawing on the same day, but sometimes
I do minor touch ups later. The first hour or so is the hardest part
of the sketch when I am setting up the major basic lines of the
design, getting the layout of space correct, and I need to use the
most concentration, then the last half of the sketch is usually when
I am doing the part that is most fun, putting in the details, getting
shade and shadow to look correct, putting in the textures and sky,
and trying to find the smallest details to include to reward the
cat Binky starts trying to get me up about 5 am and I am usually am
up by 6:30 am. After I take care of the cats I start in immediately
with teaching online. I teach online for my main source of income and
teaching online is seven days a week, so I like to start and finish
that first. Depending on whether I have something to grade or not,
and whether it is earlier or later in the term, I might wrap that up
in an hour, or eight hours. Binky usually hangs out with me when I am
doing my school work and the other two cats will usually visit
depending on how long I am working. I have a separate office for
school work, so once I am done with that I usually go into the spare
bedroom where I have my studio area set up. Since I have been
sketching lately, I don’t need much space. In grad school I found
that having a large fold out table is about all the area I need. I
may spend 2-6 hours a day on matchbooks, not all sketching time, but
also researching online, or just some time spent randomly pawing
through matchbooks, but I try to sketch at least one a day on
average. And there is also all the other things I do that everyone is
familiar with, keeping the house (relatively) clean, watering in the
yard and having fun outside watching things grow, hanging out with my
husband and my cats (who are all Hoosiers) , reading books, surfing
online, going shopping for groceries, watching Netflix at night,
going to art openings on Fridays.
What do you think draws you to other people's work?
is when their ideas are unexpected and something new and original
that I hadn’t thought of that most grips my attention.
Is this your full time job, or do you have a job out-of-studio?
full time job to pay the bills has been teaching, either online or
onground, for the past ten years.
What is your favorite piece you've ever made and why?
made a fire safety poster when I was in Kindergarten that won $2 in a
contest that the local firehouse sponsored. I still have the $2
although I have forgotten what the design looked like (the $2 was a
purchase prize and it has been a long time since I did the poster).
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out in the
to someone else for advice that knows what they are talking about
business-wise. And if they want to be in the business world, they
might consider pursuing something other than art – there are easier
things to try to sell than art. I found a way to pay the bills
without having to worry about what art I am making, whether I am
showing it or not, and whether my art sells or not and while that way
works for me, that way may or may not work for someone else depending
on what their goals are.
Describe your work space.
in a corner in the spare bedroom, a couple of chairs, one wooden, one
green cloth, a large fold out table with a cat bed on it by the
windows, a bunch of little things I like to look at lined up on the
table. Three boxes of matchbooks on the floor under the table. My
laptop. And usually
Binky on the bed in the room, and another cat in the cat bed either
sleeping or on the lookout for birds.
Photo of the lovely artist herself!
Did you face any setbacks on your path to being an artist?
really. I have never tried to make money from my art that I had to
depend upon for living expenses, so there hasn’t been financial
constraints on what I do, when I do it, or how I do it, and what I
have done for art has never cost much in terms of materials. Perhaps
the only real setbacks that I have had is if I have been searching
for an idea, but struggled to get to an idea that I felt was worth
doing and original. I have learned from experience that it might take
me years to come up with an idea for a series from the objects I find
and buy and look at for inspiration.
What milestones, goals, or achievements are you striving for right
become even more skilled at representing what I see and to make a
breakthrough in my thinking to fully discover what these matchbook
landscapes are all about. Plus I want to find more matchbooks of
businesses located on the beach and New Orleans (so I have more time
virtually at these places) and from the area around my hometown (it
is fun to sketch places I already know).
--Thank you so very much Krista for such wonderful answers and for letting me share your work with everybody!!