Artist Interview: Christine Crozier

posted on February 17, 2016 by
ChristineCrozier Huge thank you to Christine Crozier for taking the time to answer our questions! To see more of her artwork, visit her website or catch her newest show at Sunset Center, which will be up until February 29th!

Tell us about the subject matter/content of your work. Mostly figures in the landscape, people relaxing, working, playing outside.

Tell us about how you work/your process. Sometimes I work with costumed models on site. Sometimes from photos and sketches in the studio. Often I’ll work from several photos, a figure from this, another couple of figures from that, if the lighting and perspective is similar enough. When I travel I always take a sketchbook, sometimes watercolors as well as a camera.

What medium(s) do you work with? Oil for fine art canvases, acrylics for commercial mural work. Crozier, Christine Portrait 8-22-2013 lo-res

About how many hours/day/week do you work? Lots! I try to paint in my studio or on site from 8am to 1pm five days a week. Often that means researching source material and sketching on canvasses. In the afternoons, there’s inventorying, framing, wiring, prepping canvas. I also have a mural business so I have to meet with clients, research, do preparatory sketches, work up bids, schedule the work, purchase materials and balance doing the work with (usually) lost studio time! Oh, did I forget marketing and the time answering emails, phone calls, and bookkeeping?

How do you navigate the art world? Probably not as well as I’d like! It’s really a balance of time spent on your art and time doing anything else. Fishing on the Reef #3161

What is your definition of success? For me, it’s that I get to do what I love and hopefully can just keep getting better at it. I read that 98% of graduates with a degree in art are unable to make a living in the arts. I don’t have a degree in art and have managed to make a living in the arts for almost 40 years. I think that’s pretty successful.

What inspires you? What do you read, listen to, look at, watch, eat, smell…? I’m immensely inspired by nature. I love to walk, hike, and just be outside in this spectacular area. It’s as exciting to hear whales, baby otters and Oyster Catchers as it is to listen to Beethoven, Bowie, or Cole Porter. I go to museum shows by the dozens, looking at other artists work until I think I’ll scream if I can’t get back in my studio right now! I read everything, but pore over books about artists and their work. I got rid of 2/3 of my art books and still can’t resist buying “just this one”. I don’t think there’s much difference in painting, gardening or cooking. It’s all a manipulation of materials, textures, color, scents, and yes, flavors…. but don’t eat the paint! Slicker #3274

What else would you do if you weren’t an artist (or what do you do when you aren’t making art)? Travel, cook, garden, with more time I’d like to spend loads of time in school studying language, literature, history, music, whatever!

What are you working on now? I just finished a solo show (Feb. 2016) for the Sunset Center. They asked for “figures in the landscape” so I’ve spent the better part of 2015 working on 30 or so paintings. The best part is I have a fairly large, related body of work to present to galleries. I’m going to Texas in March to do just that, and I’m continuing to increase the body of work!

How do you get yourself through dry spells, self-esteem fluctuations, deep shyness, general low periods, inertia? Every painting of this last show was like pulling teeth! You still have to go into the studio and do something. I just kept painting; trying to do the best I could and didn’t look at the pieces I finished. Look at other artists whose work you admire, go to museums and keep painting. After I had 15-16 paintings and was pretty sure they all sucked, I called a talented, trusted friend and asked him to critique the work. Judging by his reaction, they were not quite as bad as I’d feared. He had several suggestions; I acted on those and kept painting. This reminds me of the poet whose goal was to write one poem every day for a year. His student asked “how did you manage to write one good poem every single day?” His response was “I didn’t say I had to write good ones!” So, I just keep painting for better or worse and eventually it does get better. Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 4.03.17 PM

Tell us about your education and background. Self taught? Mentors? Art college? Lessons? Internet? Combo? I studied Chinese Brush painting with a very strict, traditional teacher from Taiwan when I was 13 and 14. In my twenties I studied decorative art in San Francisco, worked as a TA at the school and when the owner started a decorative art company, she asked me to join. Continued there for seven years, started my own company with my husband focusing on murals and trompe-loeil, and took my first oil painting workshop with Martin Weekly in 1989. Martin became a mentor, and dear friend. Now I take workshops whenever possible from those I consider to be exceptional artists.

Best advice you ever got? Never fall in love with a hot lick. And paint all the time.

Any feedback on the value of YAC? It’s spectacular that you offer mentorship and hands-on studio time, marketing, and gallery experience to young artists. And all that includes artistic and emotional support, encouragement and discipline. Most art schools don’t begin to offer what YAC does.

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