Kristin Texeria

Ladies Choice is an ongoing series highlighting female artists working in New York City and beyond. This series honors the power and ingenuity of women in the arts. Women have traditionally received much less exposure and recognition in the art industry. In their support of one another, these women stand as a testament to furthering the careers of female artists.

Kristin Texeira’s vibrant, lively paintings derive from memories. She paints to capture, document, and preserve memories. Translated onto her canvases, these memories turn into colorful maps of people and places she has encountered. Kristin lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She is represented by Uprise Gallery.

You are part of a young generation of female artists hustling and gaining recognition in NYC. What does being a part of a strong female community mean for you?

I was very lucky. I grew up in a small town with a traditional background, so attending art school was out of the norm. I was moving around with perpetual doubt fresh out of school but, through art residency communities I found artists that were five to ten years older than me and I latched onto them as proof that it was possible to exist as an artist in this world.

When I moved to Brooklyn in 2013 I sent out emails to artists that lived in the city that I admired (and wanted to be friends with). Straight cold-called these artists and they all had open arms — men and women alike. Amazingly now, artists new to the city are hitting me up to visit my studio and ask me the same questions I had just a few years ago. Wild to see things come full circle. (I still keep the circle going, calling on other artists, seeking advice. Got to stay humble.) I’m hyped to be surrounded by so many females that are hustling and working together. But, also grateful to be a part of the overall art community out here – all the artists.

Which female artists, living or dead, inspire you most?

Agnes Martin – Sitting in her chair waiting for inspiration to strike her. No fear. No influence. Everything she made just came from her insides. She is enlightenment.

Georgia O’Keefe – Bossed out in NYC and then felt a pull, knew where she was meant to be. Fell in love with the door of a house in the Southwest and decided that’s where she would stay. Example of trusting intuition – knowing oneself completely.

Terri Chiao of Chiaozza – Brings her baby to the studio and makes HUGE art with her partner Adam. Proof that babies and art can coexist.

Have you experienced firsthand the underrepresentation of female artists in the art industry?

It’s definitely noticeable in larger galleries and museums. As far as first hand goes – it’s noticeable in pay. I’m 100% grateful that I’m able to live off of my artwork; I’m actually amazed by it often time. But, I’ve had experiences over the past couple of years where big companies come in asking me for artwork for little-to-no dollars and early on I was honored that I was even getting attention. Then I find out these bros are asking for LOOT for the same jobs I’m doing for basically free. So, this year I go in asking for the pay that I know Benny-down-the-block is getting. And then the companies back out completely. So, it’s this toss-up. Do I stand strong demanding the G or take the $450? $450 is better than no-bucks. But, I’ve been on the no-bucks game trying to fight for the right.

Silver lining though – the gallery I work with Uprise Art is about 90% female and founded by Boss Lady Tze Chun. Proud to have rep from women running the business.

Have you noticed a change in opportunities available for female artists since you first entered the art world?

I’ve noticed more groups gathering powerful women together to have discussions and make changes. Growing up in small-town Massachusetts I never understood inequality of the sexes. I just thought “this was the way it is”: Ladies over here men over there.

When I moved to NY I worked at a gallery in Soho with a woman Kinsey who had studied art and feminism. I learned so much from her. I finally had words to put to the underlying anger from my youth of being pushed into timid corners because I was a girl. Having discussions about what triggers this frustration helped me recognize it and fight against it.

More women (guys too) are creating platforms for women only. I notice some men are feeling a little sad that they are left out (“why not Just Men groups?!”– “dude, take a trip to the Met!”). But, the true dudes are stepping back and encouraging lady representation. See: “Girls are Awesome” – art platform to increase and redefine female representation. Was in an art show with them in SF last fall. Theme: women + skateboarding (I can hardly push but, I have a pretty good eye for skate-spots). Also see: Tictail and Absolut Art’s “Women x Women” – series of murals by female artists exhibited throughout lower Manhattan to counter the underrepresentation of female works in NYC’s major art museums.

If you could change one thing about the current landscape for working female artists what would it be?

A big shout out to working together – pooling knowledge, experience, info, fighting for equal pay. Staying competitive but, in a healthy way.

Also, encouraging “outsourcing”. Still trying to come to terms with this concept – notice that ladies, myself included, feel the need to do it all. Recently spoke with an artist who is starting to get into furniture design. Me: “Oh, you going to be working in the wood shop?” Him: “No. I do the sketch, pass off to digital render guy, and he passes off to woodworker”, “Oh, that frees up some time.” Or other artist to me: “Where do you get your sweatshirts made?”. Me: “I make them. I buy the shirts, I sew the patches, I shoot the product shots, I edit the photos, I put them online to sell.” I JUST started to delegate some of these tasks to others and have been encouraging other ladies that delegating or outsourcing isn’t a sign of weakness – got to do it in order to go big. Females are known to be great multitaskers but, we only have two hands so in order to keep up it’s necessary to have an army to rely on.

Your work serves as physical memorials to certain moments in time. Can you talk about how your interest in preserving memories first started and why its remained so important to you?

My earliest and strongest memories are from my grandmother’s house. As a kid I would hang with my grandfather and the Pezza sisters all day: my grandparents and the four old Italian sisters coming and going from the house, smoking cigs, talking shit about each other, mixing Manhattans in the afternoon.

This place that housed my first memories is tied together with my first experience with death. My grandfather passed away as I was entering college around the same time I was working towards a singular source to make art about. My work, the first year of school, revolved around the concept of Time. Trying to control the speed of it, holding onto the past, paying homage to moments past. The loss of my grandfather mixed with this exploration of time had me in a crazed frenzy to capture as much as I could of this home before it disappeared.

I spent time with my grandmother and her sisters, wrote down things they would say, mixed the colors of the walls, collected trinkets and papers from forgotten drawers in the garage. Fifteen years or so years later I still have scraps of paper I painted on while she was sitting on the couch next to me. Proof of us being together in a home that no longer is in our family, who’s original wall colors and wallpaper have been painted over. A piece of colored paper now a portal to enter into a moment from the past.

In your efforts to preserve past moments do you ever worry about missing out on the present?

The work I do concerning the past intertwines with paying very close attention to the present. Now becomes Then so quickly. The need to pay homage to the past forces me to stay present; always collecting color, eyes open, awake in time in order to take data back to my studio to use in my work. Also, traveling helps to keep me present. The shock of a new environment forces the eyes open. I moved around a lot so that I could have space between where I had just left and where I arrived in order to create works of that past. Now I let the colors of an environment seep through my fingers out onto paper. The light of the Now is what I’ve been painting. Got plans to address the Future soon.

Your works are distinctly colorful. Can you talk about the importance of using color in your work. Do you mean for them to be aesthetically light and playful?

I’ve never had a diagnosis but, I’m pretty certain I have synesthesia – a condition that sort of overlaps your senses – you might hear something, and that sound triggers your visual sense. When I experience places, interact with people, recall a memory etc. certain colors come to mind. The colors I use sometimes reference things from the physical world – a shirt someone is wearing, a blanket on a bed, the color of a landscape. But, I mostly use color to relay the energy of a person or place. For example, I find colors for the way the light of a place feels, the sound of someone’s voice, a song playing. Often the moments I wish to share through my paintings are lighthearted, positive moments; times when I feel most alive so, the colors tend to be brighter. Painting is also a form of meditation for me – a way to work things out. So, some of the memories that I paint are bittersweet; feelings about nostalgia often concern sadness – these paintings have a more subtle, soft palette.

Which of your travels have inspired you most? Are there certain cities where your creativity is especially sparked?

When I was 19 I studied abroad in Florence Italy. It was my first time out of the country and my first time traveling alone. As a child, I dreamed of visiting Europe after listening to tales from my step-dad’s Euro-backpacking adventures. The landscape, light, history, sounds, how long the art has existed overwhelmed me. Every corner of every building a hidden treasure. I could not take it all in fast enough — scribbled in my sketchbook incessantly. That’s when I started focusing on capturing the beauty of the present and then going back to the studio to mix the colors of what I had just seen. I had the most inspiration from this trip because it was my first and things seem to become less with Time. Like the first bite of the apple: it’s always the best.

Also, anytime I’m by the sea – Cape Cod to Bay Area, the light that reflects off the water always brings me my best colors.

At the end of every interview, we like to ask the artist to recommend a friend whose work you love for us to interview next. Who would you suggest?

So many greats — here are a few to look into: Caroline Denevaud, Nadia Gohar, Ellen Rutt,Carla Weeks, and Shannon May Powell.