P&C interview: Krista Wright / by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Andy Schiaffino

Photo taken by Gaea Norvell

Photo taken by Gaea Norvell

Krista Wright is a 19-year-old art student at Palomar College. She specializes in creating brightly colored, dreamy paintings with cartoon-esque characters. She recently illustrated a children’s book she created herself, called The Tough Girl’s Guide to Beating Your Monsters. She hopes to promote the idea of defeating your “monsters”, your problems, fears, and insecurities, by turning them into piñata monsters who resolve issues through silly solutions. According to Krista, not only is art her life, but it is also a great way to cope with the daily stresses of life. 

Give us some background about you. Has making art always been part of your life?

I’ve been drawing since preschool. I remember in Kindergarten, we had to make name tags, and I ended up only drawing people on mine. No name! The teacher took it away, and I had to start all over.  I guess I’ve always been making art, but I didn’t realize that it was a real thing that could be a future for me until my uncle gave me a stack of Juxtapoz Magazines. I looked through them and thought, “this is something that I could do!” I started really drawing and painting regularly when I began High School.

Do you dabble in any other forms of creative expression?

I have recently started taking a sculpture class. I’m sculpting my paintings; transforming them into a 3D form. I’m currently working on a huge fiberglass sculpture of one of my piñata monsters that I’m really excited about. It’s going to be life-sized, and it’s going to be on wheels so that I can carry it around. I’m going to call it “My Little Shadow.”

What advice can you give new artists that are trying to find their unique style?

Have fun with it! Keep going, keep drawing, and spend time with artistic people so that you can compare your works. The best creative time for me is when I have art days with my friends at Starbucks. We hang out, draw and paint. It’s really uplifting.

Where do you tend to draw inspiration from?

Sometimes I’m inspired by things I’m studying in school. If I’m studying Philosophy or English and have to write about it, I tend to think, “how can I put that into a painting?” I mainly get inspired by cartoons. I really like Adventure Time, and when I was a kid I really loved anime stuff. I watched Naruto, Sailor Moon and Healing Power. I really loved the girly ones. I also really liked Courage the Cowardly Dog; I guess the fear inspired some of my art. I loved the colors in Fairly OddParents, and of course Spongebob. I watched so many cartoons as a kid, and I played video games too, like Jack and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, and Kingdom Hearts. The weaponry, fighting and stuff in Kingdom Hearts really inspires me, too.

What is your creative process like?

Sometimes I just have an idea in my head. I used to draw all the time, especially in High School. I’d just draw while we were taking notes, and I’d find something I like and just paint that. Recently, I just think and make a thumbnail sketch and decide, “okay, this is what I want to paint!”

What is your biggest dream when it comes to your art? Is there a particular place you would love to have a show at?

My dream right now is to go to art school, which is what I’m working on at the moment, getting everything ready to transfer over to the San Francisco Art Institute. I’m so excited - I visited and thought, “yup, this is for real! I have to go here!” Getting my degree and travelling the world, creating big pieces and putting on shows around the world is a dream of mine. In one of the last issues of Juxtapoz Magazine, Kaws was in it, who makes these bone-headed weird creatures who have the body of Mickey Mouse. He made these giant statues that stand in a park in the United Kingdom. Some are sad, or hugging each other, or things like that. I want to do something like that; making monumental pieces and installations. I also want to have my own collective one day. I really love the Zero Friends Collective. If I could have a show at the Cotton Candy Machine Collective in Brooklyn, New York, I’d be so excited.

Do you have any other current projects?

I’m working on a painting of a carousel - lately I’ve been working on a lot more landscapes, creating fantasy lands. I usually place figures in those scenes, but recently I just want to work on carousels. I’m building carousels and fountains on mosaics with forest backgrounds. I’m painting it on a big cabinet door. I like painting on cabinet doors because they’re cheap, fun, and already framed. I just have to hang them. I’m also working on these skeleton dragons that I’m sewing together and painting for a show called Terror On the Tenth, in San Diego. It’s a scary themed show, and my piece is probably going to be the most light-hearted thing there.

Where can your art be found and purchased online?

I have a website I don’t update much, but the best place to find my art is on my Instagram. If anyone wants to buy a piece, they can send me a direct message.

You can catch Krista’s ethereal artwork at her upcoming show at the Tenth Avenue Art Center next month, or online on her Instagram. You can also listen to a speech Krista gave on turning your monsters into piñatas at Ignite San Diego’s Youtube channel.