Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristin Roberts.
Hi Kristin, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Hi, I’m Kristin Roberts and I’m an artist living in Athens. I work primarily in ink and watercolor, and my subject matter is mostly nature, along with some dips into folklore, literature, and other media-inspired pieces. I started drawing as a small child and was heavily encouraged by my father. I’d sit in his office while he did work (he worked as an engineer but was also very creative himself.) He put me in an old armchair he had lifted from college and put a pine two-by-four over the arms and that was my desk. I kept drawing all through school and was also completely obsessed with animals. I wanted to be a zoologist until I got to high school and had some trouble with chemistry. At that point, I moved over to my interest in art and studied art history and studio art in college at the University of Vermont. After I graduated, I needed to work a lot to pay my bills, and art sort of fell to the side except for some commissions every now and then. When the pandemic hit, I spent a lot of my time working from home and found I was able to squeeze in some more time drawing. Instagram honestly prompted me too – I follow mostly artists and took part in a lot of art challenges in the beginning. I got used to drawing every day and continued. Once I moved to Athens, I knew my husband and I would be here for a while and I wanted to get more involved with the community and really try to get my art out there. Lately, I’ve been applying for gallery exhibitions, doing more commissions, and I also recently donated to a local art auction for an animal sanctuary. My main goals for the upcoming fall and new year are to secure a solo show locally as well as start selling at art markets.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
No, I wouldn’t say it’s been a smooth road. When I was six my father passed away from cancer, so that was certainly a tough time. I don’t really know how much time I spent in his office after that. I’d honestly say that at that time, school was a great influence for me. We still had an excellent art program and I kept making things for school even if I couldn’t bring myself to do it at home. Once I got to high school, it was actually my difficulties in chemistry and calculus that really brought me back to art. I was extremely stressed with the pressure of trying to get into college, so I went the way of mental health and dropped calculus and took ART001. It was full of freshmen and I was a senior, but I didn’t care. My teacher there taught me a lot of the foundational knowledge which is still invaluable to me. I had also heard there was an AP-style portrait painting class of only about six people, so I brought in some of my other work to my teacher and he let me into that group. That whole experience was really affirming and absolutely led me to study art in college. When I graduated, I ran into some other problems, in that most of my friends who were studying alongside me went immediately on to their masters in either art history or studio art. I was terrified of adding on more student loan debt, so I just went to work. I’m extremely grateful for where I am now, but I definitely think I missed out on making those core connections as well as the obvious extra education and fine-tuning that you get from an MFA. I moved a lot around the northeast and worked a ton of different jobs; including as a hostess, many sales associate positions, visitor services in a museum, and I even briefly worked for PETCO and became a certified dog trainer. I then got a job in a small museum in their development department, and after that moved on to positions within higher education. I’m still in higher education and absolutely love my day job, but if I was ever handed the ability to be a full-time artist, I’d take it immediately. On a daily basis, it can be difficult to find the energy to make art, but sometimes just a quick sketch on my lunch break makes me feel good and keeps me in practice. I also work hard on my Instagram, and post at least once a day. I’m trying my best to make connections here in Georgia, and so far, it feels like my efforts are paying off which is very exciting for me.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I work primarily in ink and watercolor and relatively small in size – most of my pieces measure at 11″x14″. I’ve always been drawn to making smaller works and for the time I have now, smaller pieces are much more manageable. I also like being able to make my prints in-house, and having them smaller makes that very easy! As for subject matter, I love to draw and paint animals. I find them all very beautiful and am fascinated by their variations. That’s what led me to make my current “Of the World” series. I focus on a family or genus of an animal and paint their different types from countries all over the world. It’s so interesting to see them together and compare how they’ve each evolved in different environments. So far for this series, I’ve painted wolves, hares, and birds (red in particular); and I’m currently finishing up a butterfly piece. I plan to do many more for this series and I’m really looking forward to it.
My other most recent series was “The Fables,” a series of paintings based off of the Aesop’s Fables. In each work, I wanted to have an interesting composition while showcasing the key characters. I also intended for the audience to feel a sort of perilousness that underlies most of the stories. I was attracted to Aesop’s Fables, of course, because of the animal subjects and ages-old anthropomorphizing, but also for their tendency towards stark morbidity, which I find really interesting in literature that’s mostly been reserved for children.
In other works, I’ve pulled from film, literature, and music; which I’m sure I’ll continue in the future. I have a real love of true crime and horror genres, so it’s possible they may pop up in my work from time to time as well.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
I’m lucky that I’ve had many supporters and folks who have influenced me throughout my life. I credit my dad with really starting me on my creative path. Without his initial push, I don’t know when or if I would have really gotten into art. I’ve also had some spectacular art teachers; including my high school art teacher, William Allik, and my college art professor, Frank Owen. Mr. Allik taught me the fundamentals while also allowing me into a much higher-level group where I learned how to paint in oils. His belief in my abilities helped me to believe in myself. Frank was also someone who had a significant impact on me as an artist and as a person. Once we were given our assignments in class, he’d usually allow me to go back to my apartment and work there where he understood I was more comfortable. It was extremely helpful. He also wrote letters to all of his students once classes concluded, and I still have the one he wrote to me above my desk where I work. No matter what I may be going through, art-related or otherwise, reading that letter always brings me some self-confidence back.
Of course, members of my family have always been quite supportive, especially my husband Aidan. He encourages me every day to keep working and keep creating and is always there to listen to my ideas. I also have so many thanks to give to my good friend Valerie, who has many of my pieces hanging on her own walls and is constantly bolstering and promoting me. I am so grateful to all of you.
- Large Prints, 11″x14″: $45
- Small Prints, 8.5″x11″: $25
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.kristinrobertsart.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kristinrobertsart/
Aidan and Kristin Roberts