Q&A with Kristin Texeira
WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR WORK?
I make paintings that address the passing of time and investigate the way memory works.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE HARDEST THINGS YOU ENCOUNTERED IN YOUR JOURNEY AS AN ARTIST?
Convincing my family that being a painter is a legitimate way of life was very difficult. Up until about a year ago my mom was emailing me applications for substitute art teacher positions at my old high school. I’m the oldest in my family and come from a small, conservative town: there is a standard path you’re expected to follow once you graduate high school. I wanted to please my family because they are my number one priority, but they didn’t understand that there are alternative ways of living.
I was lucky to move around a lot after school and find mentors who had taken different paths and were successful in different ways. Being an artist is about being creative with what you make and being creative about how you live. I’m just trying to get weird.
DO YOU HAVE A DAILY ROUTINE? IF SO, WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
Everyday is different, but a pretty normal day goes a bit like this: I wake around 7, move my car for street cleaning, run around Prospect Park, sit at a coffee shop where I respond to emails and make my daily to-do list. Then I hit my studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and try to get as many things done on my list as possible. I work on paintings for shows, commissions, drawings for future projects, and sometimes I just mess around with color if I have the time.
I always have something on the radio to keep me company. Usually I start the day with the news, then move to rap music, then slow it down a bit with some soul or Crosby Stills. I typically end with a movie or a podcast because I like listening to conversations at the end of the day. They have to be movies that I’ve seen a million times before like Manhattanor Good Will Hunting, so I don’t get distracted. I try to stay at the studio until I’ve really exhausted myself – 2 am-ish. I say thank you to my paintings the way Ellsworth Kelly did, turn off the lights, and make sure not to bump into the creepy possum that wanders around the navy yard late-night
WHAT WAS YOUR PROFESSIONAL HIGHLIGHT OF THE PAST YEAR?
I was invited to attend the Varda Artist Residency this past fall in Sausalito. The residency is held on a historical houseboat in the harbor and was home to artists and writers such as Jean Varda and Alan Watts.
I’m always looking for an adventure away from the New York grind, so I was hyped when I received an email from VAR. It sounded exciting and mysterious and at the same time a little familiar. I thought back to an old magazine I had found at a used bookstore in Massachusetts when I was 19. In the magazine there was an article about a Greek painter who lived and worked on a houseboat. I cut out his picture, put it in my sketchbook, and made a note to myself to someday do the same. It turns out this residency was the exact boat calling on me. I worked on the houseboat with four other amazing artists, learned a lot, and slowed my heartbeat down a bit living that West Coast lifestyle. I began to consider what I wanted to paint instead of simply seeing how much I could get done in a day.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR DAY?
Walking to my studio and having little conversations with strangers along the way.
WAS THERE A TURNING POINT IN YOUR CAREER?
Moving to Brooklyn. This city is dense with good energy, and happy accidents are on every corner. I had been living a vagabond life before coming to this city and didn’t plan to stay here long, but New York is always changing, so it feels like a new adventure each year. I moved here with no idea of what to expect. I just felt the pull and dove in. Every time I felt I was sinking I had a sign of reassurance – a new friend or new opportunity. The first two years I worked a restaurant job in Park Slope, painted in my living room, took one of our closet doors off and used it as a desk. Eventually I got a studio and worked less at the restaurant. Then Uprise Art adopted me into their family. They are an online gallery with an office in Chinatown, and they are super supportive; they really put their artists first and work hard to move forward as a team. Now no more apron, more friends, more of my color out in the world.
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF BEING YOUR OWN BOSS?
Finding time for everything besides work. When you work for yourself, every hour is an hour to get ahead. Guilt is always threatening me when I’m out enjoying time with friends. I always feel the pull to be in the studio working. I set high standards for myself, so there is always guilt in slipping: sleeping past 8 am. or taking a trip for no work-related reason. It is also difficult to be in love with a person and with your work. Relationships can be tricky. It is hard to give equal time to both loves.
WHAT THREE BOOKS HAVE INFLUENCED YOU MOST PROFOUNDLY?
Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams– poetic passages describing different ways of looking at time.
Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities– abstract interpretations of imaginary cities, how be observe place, and what it looks like to remember
Ernest Hemingway’s short stories – subtle glimpses of conversations that give you a window into beautiful, sad, little worlds
WHAT WAS THE LAST JOB YOU HAD BEFORE YOU STARTED YOUR BUSINESS?
I worked at bakery in San Francisco, which sounds like a pleasant vocation, but it was the most intense job I’ve ever had. I worked for a woman who had very high standards for her specialty cakes, and there was no room for error. Being a creative, I was used to smudging things and finding beauty in the imperfection, but she was not down with a fingerprint on her fondant. I learned a lot from her, Cecile. She taught me to what it means to work efficiently, to have systems in place so a job gets done quickly because time is precious. I learned how to train my body to become a machine and allow autopilot to turn on when the work is repetitive. Now I look forward to tasks in the studio like framing or packing when I can shut off my brain and just let my hands do the work.
Photography: Grey & Elle