We had the good fortune of connecting with Krista Harris and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Krista, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
The concept of parenting while trying to establish and maintain an artistic practice as a full time job was definitely a big question for me. I’d always thought of art as being a solitary and sort of selfish pursuit. Our daughter was about 7 when I turned 50 and decided that it was time to either “put up or shut up” and to take the leap.
I had been showing with a local gallery in Durango and had enough success to encourage me to take a 6 month sabbatical from my job as a trial. I was completely committed to giving it my best effort.
I had two epiphanies around that time that changed everything. I had set up a painting station for my daughter so she could be in the studio at the same time. She had her own easel and paints which kept her occupied for short periods of time, and she had books and toys as well. We’d just gotten into the studio one morning and I was still floundering stylistically and hadn’t really settled in to the abstract work I am doing currently. I was a little lost about what I really wanted from my art. I remember looking over at my daughter and watching her work. She was instantly and completely engaged in the process. She had already done 2 or 3 paintings that were scattered around her on the floor. There was no hesitation, no fear, no expectations. It was pure joy. She was simply painting, unconcerned about what she was painting or whether it was good enough or not. At that moment I realized that was what I wanted, that pure joy, that return to the love of the process, that lack of self-consciousness, not being concerned about whether it would sell, or even what anyone else thought about it. Just the freedom and passion about the process of creating art. ..It seemed so simple in that moment. I try to remember that gift from my daughter every day.
My daughter is 25 now. She is independent and self-confident. She is extremely talented in a number of different mediums and pursuits. I like to believe that watching me work and achieve success as an artist was empowering for her as well. It’s been a win-win situation.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Moments of being acutely focused, practicing slow looking, suspending a moment, questioning concepts of beauty, morality, social and cultural influences are my tools and inspirations.
I am a contemporary abstract painter, working on large scale canvases that are crafted with color, line, transparent washes, textures, glazes, thick impasto passages, bits of handprinted papers, remnants of memories and a lot of messy emotions. It’s a roller coaster of highs and lows, an addictive and illusive career that I’ve been practicing for all my life, and focusing on full time for over 17 years. It’s helpful to like working alone, to have resilience, stamina and a sense of humor. I also know how fortunate I am have art at the center of my life.
I expanded my painting practice to include teaching about 6 years ago, and the real reward has been the connection with so many artists that share the same artistic passions who are connected to larger supportive community.
My work is included in galleries around the country, has been exhibited in national art fairs and is held in numerous public and private collections.
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.
The southwest corner of Colorado is really spectacular in any season. I’ve lived outside of Durango for the last 37 years and have seen changes but most have been for the better. It maintains it’s unique charm, has lots of independently owned businesses and restaurants which cater to all tastes. I love coffee and there are some great places in town; Durango Joe’s, Durango Coffee, Hermosa Coffee Roasters but my favorite is at 11th Street Station which features great food trucks. East by Southwest for sushi or Jean Michele’s Crepe stand in the summer are also favorites of mine.
Durango is also a mecca for year-round outdoor activities; stand up boarding on Lake Nighthorse or Vallecito, hiking Animas Mountain, mountain and road biking or just walking the river trail. It’s all about being in nature. The terrain varies from high desert and red rock areas to remote wilderness with pockets of snow year round.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband, who never questioned my decision in the beginning, though we both knew it was a risk. He always seems to have faith in me, even when mine waivers. I also have an amazingly supportive group of female friends that have rooted for me, encouraged and believed in me all along.
Youtube: If you search for Krista Harris, there are several youtube videos, including recent interviews.