Artist: Kristiana Pärn
Business: Krisblues (on Etsy)
Web site: kristianaparn.com
Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA
What do you create?
"Hey Kristiana, what's new?" asked one of my long lost friends recently.
"I paint harmless creatures," I wrote.
"And the creatures are never capable of even the slightest harm?" he asked.
"No harm," I replied.
Where and when do you do your creative work?
I live and work at a studio apartment in Brooklyn, New York. I tend to be a night-owl but I also love early mornings. These two extremes are my favorite times to be creative. Once the sun is high up in the sky I like to be in sync with the city life.
Do you have another "day job"?
I don't have a day job at this time. About three years back I started to get more freelance work and I loved the lifestyle that came with it. Having time to think and take care of myself was important. With less money the quantity became quality and using intuition as a guidance made a great impact on who I have become today. Jobs are great but you have to love what you do, or find it challenging.
Where and what did you study?
First attempt to find myself a profession was to study accounting and I did so in Estonia. Feeling unsatisfied with the accounting life I decided to let the profession find me instead. I took painting lessons from a local painter and that's where things became more serious. I left Estonia in search for something new. Being an artist is like being in an art school for life. So, I am still in school...
Where do you find inspiration?
Ideas sneak up to me so quietly that I never quite seem to understand from where or how they come. Everything around me is so inspiring. The city, colors, people, seasons, and memories to name just a few.
What motivates you?
Success and feeling of accomplishment are great motivation.
When did you start doing this?
Painting harmless creatures? It was spring of 2004, I lived in Kew Gardens, Queens at the time. It was during my great escape from Manhattan. I had very little then but everything I had meant so much. I think it was the time I discovered what it means to be happy and free and creating art was part of the process.
Do you remember getting into art as a kid?
I was more interested in playing with sand, rocks, sculpting with moss and clay or making things grow. I can't remember being into drawing or painting that much, though I loved, loved looking at drawings in encyclopedias and trying to copy them as well as I could.
When and why did you decide to start your own business?
I don't know if I can call it a business, it might as well be the art of making a living. I try to be business-like as little as I can, although I know that selling work is a way to continue doing what I love.
How did you choose the name for your business?
I am still choosing my business name. It's a tough one. My current Etsy store name is "Krisblues", which is put together from my name, Kris, and one of my favorite shades, blue.
What do you love most about creating your work?
I really enjoy working with colors. I feel like my artwork often speaks through hues. For example: combination of earthy light blue and dusty yellow creates a feeling of safety and love; once the blue becomes more green or turquoise, though, the peacefulness changes into restlessness and feeling of wanting to understand. I could go on...
What's the most fascinating place you've been?
Living in New York City is fascinating. I love how ugly here becomes beautiful, how large things feel small. Cultures, communities, tolerance, ignorance, dark and light existing all together.
A book you love:
Naked Came I – a biography of Auguste Rodin by David Weiss.
Also, I used to have a Hungarian fairy tale book called The Magic Flute by Emil Kolozsvar Grandpierre, which my father would read to me every night. One of the stories, about a needle and an egg traveling around the world, must have been pretty good because I asked for it over and over. I also remember a tale of a king who had one eye crying and another laughing at the same time... fairytales fascinate me.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Ever since I received a painting from my grandfather for my sixth birthday (it was a funny picture of two rabbits interviewing one another with an old tape recorder) I've wanted to be able to draw like him. I wanted to be able to create whimsical pictures for grown-ups. And that's exactly what I do now. I'm happy that I've followed my heart.
What advice would you give women starting their own business?
Do what you love.
What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?
Asking money for what I do. Art and money have a relationship I don't quite get still.
What do you love to do in your free time?
When I'm not working I love getting on my bike and riding around Brooklyn, stopping in different neighborhoods, absorbing the different lifestyles and meeting new people — or just observing them: people-watching is great. I also like going to galleries and markets, watching movies, seeing live music, taking photographs, and spending time with friends.
What are you working on right now?
I am always working on few different projects at once. Right now I am getting ready for exhibits in Nashville, TN and one here in Park Slope at a store called Pink and Olive. This month I also have few commissioned pieces, and I'm always working on fun little graphic design/illustration projects – greeting cards, CD covers, posters.
What do you hope to achieve next?
The next big step? I wouldn't want to project too much but I think it is going to be a book for little kids and for already grown up children.