Kristina Carroll talks Greek myths.
Where did you grow up and how has this influenced your art?
I grew up in Montana and was an only child, so I had to learn to entertain myself. My home life wasn’t always terrific and so I escaped by reading and drawing.
You’re a child, you see a painting that changes everything… what are you looking at, and what effect did it have?
It wasn’t until high-school where certain artists started to stand out. I remember discovering James Christensen’s book, Voyage of the Basset, and falling in love. Seeing how an artist could make pictureheavy stories that an older audience could enjoy opened a door for me.
What was your next step in art?
My biggest goal after high-school was to get far away from Montana, so when a theatre school in NYC accepted me, the location was more of a draw than the subject. I didn’t find my way back to art until my late 20s, but have no regrets. What inspired you to launch the Month of Love and Month of Fear challenges? I had recently moved to Boston and it was winter. I was depressed, feeling isolated and not making art, so I devised this idea to make a whole bunch of art with friends to jump-start the creative process. The idea of doing it publicly created an accountability and pressure helpful to levelling-up. I’m continually delighted at the enthusiasm and beautiful art that comes from these challenges!
Why do you think watercolours are overlooked by many artists?
I think that they can be intimidating. There’s a permanence to the mark making in watercolour that other mediums don’t have, and they require a
The ability to connect with fans and peers on a regular basis is a great experience
measure of patience and planning to be most effective. This can lend itself to some wonderful happy accidents.
What’s the most important thing that you’ve taught someone?
I think the reason many students connect with me is because I hit them with a lot of technical tools and it empowers them to problem-solve from multiple angles. Also, being in the sci-fi/ fantasy community, I often shine a light on different avenues of being a working artist that they might not have thought of before. That means I can also give them some specific places to go right after school, to engage with a larger community of artists.
Do you tread the convention circuit?
I’m fairly new to the convention circuit, but looking forward to making it a bigger part of my life. The ability to connect face to face with fans and peers on a regular basis is a great experience that I find very motivating.
Is there a character you’ve painted who you most identify with?
I don’t know if “identify” is the right word, but I’ve always been fascinated with the minotaur. To me, he’s a misunderstood being at the mercy of other people’s bad choices. He’s halfhuman, but that part has been disregarded next to his monster half. In my painting of him, I gave him a creative spark so that he could carve beautiful shapes into his surroundings and show that he was more than just a monster.
Do you have any gripes about the fantasy art industry?
It’s frustrating that so many companies have adopted work-for-hire contracts in concert with low fees. Especially those companies that have very popular IPs to work on. There’s so much passion and love for this subject matter, but when you cripple the artist’s ability to make a living from it, it creates a negative feedback loop that’s bad for everyone.
Why is it still the best place to work?
This community is so welcoming and supportive. Our openness about our techniques, business and enthusiasm for our peers’ work creates an atmosphere of camaraderie that’s really special. I’ve often heard from people in the editorial, design or gallery world who come to our events and are floored at the way we treat each other. I love this industry and can’t imagine being in any other.