We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristi Abbott and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristi, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My parents owned their own business since before I was born, so I grew up in a home run by entrepreneurs. Not only did this instill a strong work ethic in me, but it also allowed me to see the freedoms that could come with hard work and independence. I joined the family business in my twenties and for a decade learned all about running a small business and what it took to make it work, from the marketing, operations, finance and strategic sides. This knowledge, and my desire to find a way to sell my artwork to the world, gave me the courage to go ahead and open my own business.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a collage artist I am fascinated with the use of color, pattern and texture and try to combine these elements in my work in an innovative and exciting way. My technique is still evolving and employs an exploratory and playful process that can incorporate photography, graphic manipulation, collage and painting. I also hide images within my paper collages, creating a second level of interest beyond the initial image. Each collage is made from between 200 – 4000 pieces of hand cut, globally sourced materials, with each piece connecting like a jig-saw puzzle. This technique, and the hidden images that I hide within each piece, makes my work unique, easily identifiable and helps set me apart from other artists.
Over the last year I’ve had the opportunity to mentor some artists I went through a one-year residency program with. It was an amazing experience and I’m really proud of how much I was able to help them on their journeys as they were getting started. By teaching and sharing my art with others I continue to grow and develop further as an artist and a business owner.
What has got me to where I am today is a lot or hard work and discipline. I love the quote, “the harder you work the luckier you become”. I truly believe this and have continually made an effort to push myself, take risks and challenge myself with new opportunities that make me uncomfortable. It hasn’t always been easy; in fact, I’ve made some terrible decisions along the way! What was important though, was learning from those mistakes, not beating myself up about them (too much) and refocusing my efforts on my strengths and what has worked for me in the past.
One of the key lessons I’ve learned is that making art is my passion and I need freedom to do that successfully. When I lock myself in to too many obligations or take on too many overheads and commitments, I get stressed, and my creativity suffers. Therefore, I’ve become very good at understanding what brings balance to my life, and I work hard to protect that. Money and expansion can be great, but not if it threatens the core of what makes your business successful.
I feel so lucky to be able to do what I love. I hope that when people meet me or see my art, they get a sense of that happiness and joy and the passion I have for it that fuels my life.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Right now I’m living down on South Padre Island, Texas, finishing up a one-year art residency. It is such a fun place and people come here to vacation!
I would start with a trip to Tequila Sunset for a sashimi burger and a margarita. Next, we would head to the beach for a nice long walk in the sand and to dip our toes in the Gulf of Mexico. Maybe we would take a sandcastle building class or go for a wind surf?! In the evening we would stroll down to the bay side of the island, to the entertainment district, to take in the sunset, some seafood, a few drinks, some live music, and go for a spin on the Ferris wheel or play a round of mini golf. If we’re up for it there are several spots for karaoke, where we can sing away long in to the night!
The next day would involve more beach walks, some swimming and a lot of relaxing, and a trip to the gallery I’ve been working in. In the evening we would do much the same as the night before, and then the next morning we would finish the weekend off with a fun brunch at my favorite restaurant – F&B!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to give a shout-out of thanks to my parents – Lynne and John Abbott – for being such an inspiration! Also, for supporting my dreams of moving to the USA from Australia and becoming a full-time artist