We had the good fortune of connecting with Krista Shiner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Krista, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
It’s changed dramatically and continues to evolve to more sustainable practices so I am able to be at my best professionally and personally. I’ve gone through long periods of not balancing between the two; starting during college when I was working full time and going to school. Long hours over a span of time started to feel like the norm and it took a long time to move past survival mode. A life-long friend and I had this conversation before as we both felt it was engrained in us that it was necessary to sacrifice yourself to get anywhere in life. Wait until you retire mentality. That is not a way to live. I feel like a lot of people have that conditioned belief system and I see it changing. We are not robots.
Over the years I’ve created better boundaries and realistic time management as there are only so many hours in a day. Huge awareness evolved of the detriment to my professional and personal life by taking on too much. It becomes convoluted when you’re working for yourself- especially when starting out and doing something you love. The boundaries can get blurred and there is so much involved in being on projects while continuing to market and create for more. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s necessary to put in longer hours but not as a way of being. I felt stifled. I lost the clarity I had when I began my business and it came to a point a couple years ago where I was so burned out I couldn’t think or see straight. My imagination, creativity, and overall mental health suffered as a consequence, as well as everything else including my business. There wasn’t space to be. I have learned the hard way how incredibly important it is to maintain self-care. I now have regained my clarity, my offerings, and am creating new artwork. A balance between work and a personal life is the foundation for a successful business and a happy life.
In relation to the work life balance I feel we all have experienced diverse changes and awareness with the effects of COVID. Prior to this I realized in early 2019 accompanied by burn out that I had to make some significant changes. I had foot and ankle surgery on both feet with work restrictions extending much longer than anticipated with a second unexpected surgery; a total of almost 3 months. As I work on my feet, ladders, scaffolding, etc. I had the further realization of what needed to shift in creating balance as I get older. The decorative work can be very physically laborious so as I get older I feel it’s become more important to me to balance this for my overall health and wellbeing. I continued to work during recovery however those setbacks carried through to this year and then COVID hit. Needless to say all things pointed to balancing between being in people’s homes and investing time to sell online in this new normal.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a multidisciplinary artist, predominantly a painter. Sustaining a creative business completing artistic finishes, creating artwork, and all of the tasks associated with each certainly keeps me busy. I feel it’s helpful for people to know that I’m still in business and taking all mandated measures and precautions seriously with respect to the safety of clients and myself. I am incredibly grateful for this after not being allowed to work in people’s homes for a time after COVID hit. I’m grateful that I have acquired and invested in diverse skills such as concrete finishes.
I’m proud to be a 100% woman owned business and a resident of Denver for many years. My company Shiner Studios encompasses artistic services including custom paint, plaster, and concrete finishes for homes and businesses with an emphasis on eco and health conscious materials and as an entity housing my own artwork. I often collaborate with designers, design build firms, builders, architects, and other artists of other disciplines. I hadn’t been creating as much artwork over the last 5 years as part of a collection. My time became very vested in the development of Shiner Studios and creating just to create. Opportunities to integrate these two worlds creating what I define as art installations bordering with mural work are projects I would love to do. I would be honored to help someone transform a special niche, wall, ceiling, bedroom, bathroom, etc. into a sacred space. Whether through art as a service, a piece of my artwork, or a commission. This can also apply to a business and home office space. Interior and exterior. I feel there are special spaces where we recharge and or need a reminder to, a self-care haven. I have always believed our homes are our refuges in this world and we are feeling this now more than ever. Transforming the energy in a home through artwork, color, textures, sheens, and lighting can truly benefit ones’ health and well-being. I feel the tag line I created for my work and company as a whole about 12 years ago, “The Art of Healing With Art”, came to be for this time we are at in world history and moving forward. I want to bring beauty and healing through art to the human experience, the world, with the reminder that we are nature and to honor this connection with the natural environment, bringing the outdoors in, awakening to who we really are. In a larger context the natural environment, Mother Earth, sustains us and is fundamental to our health and livelihood as a species. I want my work to remind people to take action to support efforts to preserve all natural environments.
Within this realm of the decorative arts I’m able to integrate my love of painting, design, clay/ plasters, architecture, and my lifelong passion for the natural world. I love to create paintings, artwork, and I love transforming spaces as a whole; visually and energetically. Working with others and having the honor to connect with people in their homes is why I continue to work in the decorative arts. There is a distinct industry within each and I am braiding them together to create my own path. I have uncovered that I need to balance my creation time in the studio with completing projects in people’s homes or businesses. It is in this balance that I am able to offer my best work. I feel this relates to anyone. The decorative arts are diverse encompassing many forms of functional art with a history as long as civilization. I feel what may set me apart is the diversity of what I can create with the years of hands on experience I have had in the arts. I have learned so much ranging from exhibiting artwork in galleries, at auctions, being part of a co-op gallery, working out of state, creating commissioned artwork, and a massive amount of knowledge attained working on a variety of residential and commercial projects. Being involved in various stages of construction and renovation, collaborating with others, and learning about materials and their chemical compositions has been extensive. This combined with learning how to best operate and market a creative business has been in my mind similar to having multiple certifications. I find it exhilarating to transform materials into what is in my head. In terms of the artwork I create I am inspired by the natural world, cultures around the world, the spiritual in art, and the sciences as a whole. This translates into the specialties I offer in the decorative arts. Flowers, trees, plants, fossils, crystals, space, the ocean, and the vast elements of nature have been integral components in all that I create. Within my artwork I visually balance between abstract expressionism and botanical art. There are elements of surrealism and an influence of the eternal consciousness. I love texture, incorporating natural found objects, and creating a piece that interplays with light sources.
I am a busy bee refining my business as a whole, what ignites my spirit, what I have to offer, and making space for the new; including a balanced way of being. In this balance I have created two separate websites with each connecting to the other as they are different yet very interrelated. You can find original artwork and prints at www.kristashiner.com and under “Shop Art” on the artistic services website www.shinerstudios.com. I decided to divide the sites as I felt people were getting lost, confused, or overwhelmed and to further differentiate between my own artwork and artistic service oriented work. Since the subject we are discussing is of work life balance I feel it is fair to note that balancing two different yet interrelated industries most certainly led to burn out. I have learned to trust myself of what I need to focus on to maintain this balance, what business practices are best for the particular niche I am, and remind myself how I entered into this in the beginning, by being a painter. I have refined my specialties in the decorative arts / artistic services and have regained my spark for creating my own artwork. I am devoting more time and energy to the creation of artwork and I feel having this separate allows clarity for myself, prospective clients, and other opportunities in the art world.
What I love about kristashiner.com is that a person can see the piece of art on a wall in multiple sizes and options I have selected that best suit my artwork; such as prints on wood, metal, and high quality fine art paper. I feel this gives a potential buyer a better visual before purchasing and by offering prints I am able to reach a wide range of budgets. A piece can be viewed in a variety of virtual spaces such as above a bed, in a living room, office, etc. There is also the option to choose the wall color from Benjamin Moore Paints so it provides an excellent visual to make the best decision. I am offering a holiday sale of 25% off all artwork and prints until January 31st, 2021. I would love to sell what I currently have to create space for new work being created and have additional resources to purchase more canvases to create more pieces, including smaller works. I am working towards offering eco-conscious merchandise in 2021 and other functional merchandise. Biodegradable materials are important to me as is setting my site up to donate a percentage of sales to local and international causes I am passionate about.
I have a lot to say but I feel it’s best to end with this last paragraph. I have overcomplicated many things as an artist and business owner. It takes space to gain clarity to arrive at what truly resonates with who you are, what you want to do, what you are good at and not, and that has been part of my journey. The challenges have been many though it has given me resilience, growth, and new awareness of how to best move forward. I would be honored to create more artistic installations where I can weave in my overall experience and tap into my artistic capabilities. I feel I have a renewed sense of clarity and passion for what I do combined with a strong foundation. I’m incredibly grateful for the encouragement I have received to create more artwork outside of projects this year. Where you put your energy is what grows and with that I’m looking forward for what’s to come.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Even with COVID and mandates in place we can still enjoy so much of what Denver and Colorado as whole has to offer. Red Rocks is definitely top on the list. It is an international icon for concerts, beautiful views of the city combined with great trails. I imagine any friend of mine wants to experience the city and not just the known tourist spots. Live music would be sought out as it’s been challenging with Covid as we meandered downtown. Sangria and tapas at Barcelona, then checking out all of the murals and artwork the area has to offer. A class at Urban Sanctuary, some stops at a few thrift stores down E Colfax, and for sure a dinner at India’s on East Hampden. We would head to Stanley Marketplace in Aurora to explore local shops and events, head to the Highlands and LoHi, then head west to Tootsies for a mani-pedi after a day of walking. Outside of city time and Red Rocks we’d be hiking and exploring the mountains. A day trip to Evergreen to see the awesome view of the mountains on I70 then head up further to go kayaking at Grand Lake. Heading back to Denver Union Station is a must see; historic relic and its notable renovation to enjoy the ambience trying to decide between coffee or a drink. To really take someone around the areas that make up the city we’d be stopping at places like the Tattered Cover, Wax Trax, perhaps going to the Performing Arts Complex, the MCA, Sie Film Center, the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Nature and Science, and the Kirkland Museum. A balance of the city and enjoying nature in the mountains.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I feel there are a lot of people to give gratitude for and give a shout out to. I hope each person I have met along this journey knows that no matter how small it may seem I am grateful for their support, encouragement, love, mentorship, or assistance in all ways. I am blessed with friends, family, mentors, clients, business groups, business associates, local networking groups and organizations, and fellow artists who have helped along the way. It’s a longer list than this though I wanted to note some a handful. My sister Nicole and her husband Kevin, Jessica Gauthier, Sara Noel, Bree Neely, Castle Searcy, Sarah Ashford, Melinda Percell, Cory Michelle, Women in Community / Myka Mclaughlin, Jodi Desmond, Crystal Cruz, the Colley family, Pete Vollers, Andrew Speer, Amy Metier, Art Gym, and more.
Website: https://www.shinerstudios.com and https://www.kristashiner.com
Other: https://www.Houzz.com/ShinerStudios, Creative Mornings, Coda Worx, Art Gym