We’re excited to introduce you to Kelowna BC abstract artist Christina Knittel. Check out the interview below to get to know Christina and her artwork a little more. Enjoy!
Kelowna Artist Christina Knittel
How would you describe your artistic style?
Vibrant and expressive abstract paintings.
What’s the main inspiration for your art?
I constantly find new ideas in nature and am especially inspired by colour and the weather. Watching things change through the seasons is amazing, every single time.
What is the biggest goal you try to achieve with your art?
My biggest goal in art is to connect. When people see my art, I want them to feel uplifted and joyful. On a personal level, I connect to my inner self while I paint. I love that art can connect two people to each other, even though they may never meet.
What’s your favourite thing about being an abstract artist?
My favourite thing about being an abstract artist is all the possibilities it offers. I can step up to the easel and let go of expectations, painting in the moment with each brush stroke guiding and informing what comes next. I don’t experience that freedom of exploration in other forms of art making.
Why abstract art and not other mediums? Have you always created abstract art or did you start out creating other styles?
I spent a lot of time experimenting with various styles. Through it all there was a desire to marry my love of mark making with my love of colour. This desire kept me going back to the studio, exploring, experimenting, and playing. It ultimately led to abstraction. It’s only in the last few years or so that I feel like I’m making the work I’ve been aiming for all along and I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface.
If you could describe your art in three words, what would they be?
Vibrant, Expressive, Joyful
What’s one thing people might not know about you and/or your art journey so far?
I love to sew! Most of my sketchbooks end up with clothing designs in them and I love to figure out how to sew up an outfit I’ve seen. It’s a big reason I learned to draw in the first place.
Did you always know you’d be an artist or how has your art journey progressed?
I was always creative but didn’t always know I’d be an artist. As a kid, I was happiest with a sketchbook and a pencil in hand. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I finished high school, but I knew I wanted it to be creative, so I went to art school.
I attended UBC Okanagan, with a studio focus in drawing and digital media. I only took a couple of painting classes in my final year. I connected to a process-based approach in my drawing classes and loved anything that involved experimenting with materials.
After completing my BFA, I worked for Opus Art Supplies where I learned about the technical side of art materials. I began to explore more painting because I wanted to play with all the colours! We were encouraged to try every type of art supply so that we could help customers find the right products for their projects, which of course I loved. I also learned about all the art opportunities that existed in Kelowna. I joined art groups, taught art classes, and put my work into shows and markets.
After 10 years being surrounded by art 24/7, not surprisingly, I burnt out. I made a change by leaving Opus and started working for a small boutique selling high end homewares. I now have more balance in my life, and I can focus on the aspects of my work that I truly care about.
In your opinion, what’s the most important personal characteristic needed to embark on a career as an artist?
You need to be curious. It’s what will pull you along when you get stuck, and take you in all kinds of interesting directions. It will teach you so much about yourself.
I believe it’s an artist’s job to ask questions and try to answer them by making art. I find that painting is a conversation with yourself and the canvas (a deeply personal experience) that taps into the subconscious and reveals our inner selves. There is a great humanity in this kind of work, and I think that people connect with it on that level.
Having curiosity helps you ask the questions you were meant to find answers to.
What advice would you give up and coming abstract artists?
Give yourself permission to play. Have a sketchbook or some watercolour paper on hand so that you can try out things and see what happens. Start with the first colour, tool or media that catches your eye and see where that leads you. When you do this, you learn to trust your gut and develop your unique style.
Do you have any favourite podcasts or books that you love and that have contributed to your journey as an artist?
I love listening to other people’s stories when I paint. My favourites are Art for Your Ear by the Jealous Curator, The Love Jam with Tiffany Pratt, and CBC’s Now or Never.
As for artsy books, I highly recommend The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, and Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee.
What’s your most fulfilling and enjoyable experience as an artist so far?
Any time I get to chat with other artists. Whether it’s with someone starting out or with a veteran painter, connecting over art making is so rewarding!
Where do you see yourself and your art in 5 years?
With my background in retail, I’m very interested in putting my art on products, whether I produce them myself or license them out to other companies. I’d like to see my work on clothing, personal accessories, and homewares that I can wholesale to boutiques across the country.