We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Hankins and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Christina, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I am a painter and designer currently based near Portland, Oregon. My business started organically about 20 years ago with small gallery showings of my artwork at juried shows and then progressed to gallery exhibitions in southern California. A relocation to Minnesota enabled me to re-evaluate what my business in the arts would look like. I began showing my work at out door festivals first locally and then nation wide. As time progressed, I expanded my work from 2 dimensional paintings and added functional leather work that reflected my painting asthetic to what I offered for sale. I found that I enjoyed being my own boss and bringing my work to the public. I have recently expanded my business and become a franchise owner of a paint your own pottery studio called Color Me Mine which is located in Minnesota. I still create my own work but can travel less and enjoy the income from my pottery studio.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a fine artist and designer based in Wilsonville, OR. I began my career 20 years ago in southern California painting and drawing images inspired from my daily life which included a family circus of four children, a cat, dog and supportive husband. I relocated to Minnesota with my family 18 years ago and recently moved again to the Pacific Northwest. Lyrical line, layers of color, and narrative content are the basis of my mixed media works on paper rendered in acrylic paint and pastel. My work focuses on figurative subject matter inspired by nostalgia, travel, and personal observation. I was raised in southern California, and influenced by the latin culture in Los Angeles, my themes often reflect the vibrant color and rich heritage I grew up with.
Several years into my art career, I began to think about combining fine art and function and started to visualize a line of artisan leather handbags which I grew into a company I called Urban Gypsy Design. Each bag is thoughtfully designed with an artists eye while keeping wearability and function in mind. I create original lino cut block prints, hand painted pieces, leather cuts and appliqués which I construct my bags around. All of my bags are designed, cut, and sewn in my studio with the help of an assistant or two and are considered art to wear.
Urban Gypsy Design now encompasses my handbags, fine art and print reproductions. I have also recently added franchise owner to my resume. I purchased a paint your own pottey store called Color Me Mine which has allowed me to take on an instructional roll as well as an employer role. We are open to the public and teach those that come in to paint pottery how to bring their visions to life.
I have learned that in running a business life takes its twist and turns and there are many ups and downs especially in the arts industry. My business has survived a recession and most recently a pandemic that closed everything and basically took away my income for two years. Through these hardships I found that tenacity, hope and a sense of humor can get you through anything.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I currently have one foot in Portland and one in Minneapolis. If a friend were to visit me in Minneapolis, depending on the time of year, I would take them to an art festival, a bike ride around lake of the Isles, then over to the North east Arts district where we would explore the Northrup King Building then head over to Centro for some amazing Mexican food and cocktails and finally to Indeed Brewery to hang out on the patio and listen to live music.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have enjoyed the ongoing support of my husband Bob Hankins and the fellowship of a group of women artists( and one guy) called the Creative Badasses.

Website: www.urbangypsydesign.com

Instagram: @urbangypsydesign

Other: www.maplegrove.colormemine.com

Image Credits
Edina Art Fair Media

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