Get to know local artist and Lee’s Summit graduate, Re’al Christian. She is beginning the next chapter in her educational pursuits at New York University. Christian served as an intern at Got Art Gallery this summer and is planning a show at Got Art Gallery for next summer.
What kind of medium do you use?
I like to work in a variety of 2D media, but the two I use most often are acrylic paint and pencil. I like to experiment with my choice of media and I often decide which medium I will use based on the idea I am trying to convey. Over the last year and a half I completed a series of colored pencil figure drawings. This was a medium I had never worked with professionally, but aesthetically I found it to be the best medium for the series. I always enjoy when I can use a new medium and stylistically the work still looks like my own.
Where are you attending school? What is your major/minor?
I’m attending New York University and double majoring in Communications and Art History.
Who/What gets you inspired to create your art?
Stylistically, I am mainly inspired by the impressionism and expressionism movements. Among my favorite artists are Claude Monet, Salvador Dali, Lucien Freud, and Vincent van Gogh. I do, however, also find inspiration in written works such as novels, essays, and poetry. I am greatly influenced by what I study in my communications classes; the sociological aspects of the field have had a big impact on the conceptual meaning behind my work. I also find visual and thematic inspiration in movies, especially the film noir genre. Often I’ll see a scene or even a single shot in a film and something about the composition, lighting, etc. will instantly spark an idea and make me want to create something based on that moment.
When did art become a passion for you?
I have always liked creating things. As a child I was constantly making crafts and trying to find new projects I could work on aside from the ones I made in school. Art, however, became a passion for me around seventh grade. I found it to be a good outlet for stress and anxiety, but I also found that art was something I genuinely loved doing. I had great teachers who encouraged me, and I learned to be confident in my work.
Why do you think art is important area of study for students?
After I began really studying art, I found it significantly easier to express my ideas. I am an introverted person, and I was very shy as a child. I am still soft-spoken, but I think that having the ability to present my artwork to a group of people and having to explain my ideas coherently has helped me in almost every aspect of my life. I have become better at writing, public speaking, and even meeting new people. I attribute much of this to art.
I also believe that it is important for everyone to have something they are truly passionate about in their lives. A piece of art in and of itself cannot physically change the world, but art inspires you to be creative and to take chances in life and to experience new things. Kurt Vonnegut refers to the arts as, “a very human way of making life more bearable,” and I absolutely agree.
What are your plans for the future in regard to your artwork?
I’m organizing a group show that will start in July of next summer (2014) at Got Art Gallery on Third (Street, in downtown Lee’s Summit) which will include my work, along with the work of two of my friends. I’m also working on my online portfolio right now, and beginning a new drawing/painting series which I believe will be featured in the show along with some of my older work. I hope to continue exhibiting my work in galleries, and either selling or being commissioned for pieces.
I know I don’t want to become a “starving artist,” but I never want to stop making art, and I chose my majors based on this. I like both the creative and the business aspects of art, so I want to pursue a career in which I can merge my knowledge of communications and art. I want to be able to share my passion for art with those around me and encourage others to do so too.