Hey there! My name is Christin, and I am extremely jazzed to share a little bit more about myself, and how I became lucky creative No.1 for R.Riveter’s new Maker Series.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
To start, I am technically not an artist. And just between the two of us, calling myself an artist feels crazy.
I could have you guess what I actually went to school for, but we might be here forever – so I'll just tell you. I’m a Librarian. No one sees that coming when they meet me – however, if you’re a fellow Milspo (‘military spouse’), you are literally never surprised when you hear of spouses working outside their field of study. Luckily for me, I still get to do one of my favorite parts of Librarianship – story time. Each week, I sit in front of 20-25 babies and their caregivers to sing songs and rhymes with them.
Aside from that, I have a health and wellness business, co-host abstract paint nights, and am a lifelong learner. (My biz name 'A Jane of All' didn't just come out of nowhere, as you may be starting to see!) By now, you may have realized I carry zero qualifications to call myself an artist- yet here I am, about to tell you why I am one.
How did you get into art/painting? Tell us about your creative journey.
Calling myself a 'creative' versus 'artist' feels like a better fit, because it feels a bit less formal. Creativity goes back to my early childhood, where I recall a memory of who I wanted to be when I grew up - the paint mixer at Lowe's Home Improvement. True story!
I’ve loved colors my whole life, and always felt a tinge of panic when asked to pick a favorite. Maybe I was an artist in a previous life, or perhaps it’s because there are quite a few artists in my family tree. Whatever the reason is, I love to paint. Except (plot twist), not with brushes.
I started doing what I call art a year ago. I wish I had a beautiful story to tell you about how I was inspired to start painting but the truth is that when my husband was off at a military training somewhere, I set up my easel and started painting.
I spent such a large chunk of my creative energy discontent with what I made, because I hated using a brush. I’m embarrassed to admit that it never occurred to me to use anything else – until suddenly it did. I bought some cheap palette knives and found a canvas laying around. (Does anyone else have random crafty supplies stashed around their homes? From there, I started to paint. I was on my back porch in the sunlight, just living my best life.
It felt amazing to create something from nothing. It felt amazing to see the colors change in front of my eyes. I still have my very first piece, and while none of my current art looks similar to it, I love seeing where I started.
What inspired this piece of work?
Sharing my art was both easy and hard. Easy, because I snapped a picture and posted it to my Instagram Stories. Hard, because people began asking 'how much?', and I freaked out a little. Assigning cost to something that I felt like a part of me was uncomfortable and a bit vulnerable. But the vulnerability I experienced was powerful. When words fail me, I turn to a canvas to communicate. I've since created pieces channeling my emotion when it seems impossible to explain. Being commissioned to bring art into friends and strangers homes has given me a beautiful sense of purpose.
When Cameron approached me about creating a piece of art for R.Riveter to turn into a handbag, I may have cried. I was terrifyingly overjoyed. I felt underqualified to have my work highlighted.
But we talked about colors, and she let me do my thing. I can't really say what I felt exactly, or what inspired me to create this particular piece as you see it, except for an immense amount of gratitude, with a pinch of validation. You may think that last part sounds a bit much, but as someone who creates something from nothing, validation can be the pat on the back that keeps you creating.
What does it mean to you to partner with R.Riveter to see your work come to life?
It feels so right to partner with R.Riveter. I can say with 100% certainty, that I have been a champion for R.Riveter from pretty early on in their journey. While I've never been part of manufacturing their handbags, or working in their Flagship Store, I love telling their story and helping in any way that I can.
I love leading Story Time at R.Riveter in Southern Pines, hosting our abstract painting classes for the community after store hours, or serving as a Brand Ambassador for the company. They give so much to our community, and continue to be the champion of military spouses around the globe. Lisa and Cameron didn't sit around and complain about not finding work in quaint Dahlonega, Georgia - they created a movement that will live on and continue to inspire the maker in us all. R.Riveter celebrates makers of all kinds, and sharing my art has been and will be one of the greatest joys in my life.
What advice do you have for other aspiring makers/artists/creatives?
My advice? Go for it.
Whether it's bad, epic, or just because it feels good to create something. The only people who will criticize you are the ones doing less than you. Give yourself permission to be terrible and fail. But make sure you praise your achievements when you create something that makes your soul soar.
And remember, there is room for us all to be makers.
Connect with Christin on Instagram!