Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristen Ferguson.
Hi Kristen, 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?
I knew since a small child, I wanted to be an artist and art teacher. My parents had a more practical degree plan in mind. In 1999, I was 36 and had two young daughters, and in the most miserable marriage. I went back to school for what I REALLY wanted.
Fast forward to 2003, I was quickly hired by Georgetown ISD and taught art there for 7 years. My daughters grew, graduated, and in 2010, I moved to Katy area with my 2nd husband. Very quickly I figured out that the community was very supportive of the visual arts and I made some wonderful connections, particularly KVPAC (Katy Visual & Performing Arts, which no longer exists) A children’s book opportunity happened in 2013, and lots and lots of small festivals, fairs, artist groups and places to feed my soul. It was such a surprise, honestly. I swore I’d rather die than live in Houston. (laughing) I love it now. But it took a while.
I’ve done many workshops over the years, since I left college. Many were pastel workshops, which was my previous medium of choice. I’ve done a week-long watercolor workshop and oil painting workshops. As an art teacher in public high school, I love that I know so many art processes and mediums that I can call upon to put into my work, if I choose.
This past year, I did a 3-month mentorship with a gifted abstract expressionist named Dawn Boyer, which was an incredible experience, even for online. I have an invite for a visit for summer of 2022. I worked with Robyn Crowell; I refer to her as my local mentor. She got me pointed in the right direction once I re-started by creative work.
In February, right before IceMaggedon, I was invited to submit work to Art Machine Gallery in Houston. That was incredibly exciting, and it has been a very good move for me. The artists are all super supportive of each other, and the gallery owner, Jay, is very good to us.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Ohhhhhh, struggles??? LOL. It’s been a cake walk!! (not.)
There are always challenges when you chase your dreams. Like the very people you thought would support you on your journey turn out to not like it one bit. My dad chose to call me on the night before my graduation from art school, to say he would not attend, he’d be playing golf.
And in that moment, you have to decide what to do. I love my Dad. But his definition of success has always been very different from mine. I’m a “Do what you love and the money will follow” person. He just pursues the paycheck, moved us a bunch as kids in the process, and worked at jobs he hated for many years. I just think there’s so much more to life than all that. Even my career as an educator, and art educator, has been a source of friction between us. It wasn’t enough. My heart is more mission-oriented, not $$ driven.
Thankfully, I learned many years ago to surround yourself with good people, positive people. People are better than you…in all ways. It keeps you moving forward, growing in the right direction.
Then there was the time my 2nd husband destroyed my entire body of artwork, including 24 original book illustrations I’d done for a children’s book. Thank goodness they’d already been to the publisher. But it was sickening. Things fell apart shortly thereafter. And I hit a wall, creatively. The #1 person in my life was jealous of little successes. He was constantly undermining me, sabotaging me.
A lot of healing, praying, forgiving had to happen. Pages of vitriol written to purge what had happened to me and my art. Five years passed.
Then the pandemic hit. ALLLL of our normal distracting activities were taken away. I returned to art with the energy of a horse that had been in its stall wayyyy too long. Late nights, all-nighters, constant stream of art supplies shipped to the house, and I just kept going, no matter what. I’ve managed to stay painting regularly for close to two years now, and I’m really proud of that commitment to my practice. And the love of my life, Shawn, is 100%+ supportive of my endeavors.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
My work is a unique blend of my crazy photographic memory, experience, and a rare reference photo. My sketchbooks have more words than sketches……I write out thoughts and feelings about places, mostly ramblings….seeking connections between nature and man. I consider my art historical influence to be from the Modern Art Era, looking to Emily Mason and her husband Wolf Kahn, the German Expressionists, and the Abstract Expressionists.
I primarily work in acrylic paint, and I use a variety of materials, besides brushes, to apply the paint. Tools include cake scrapers, credit cards, cardboard, sticks, stamps, stencils, palette knives, spray bottle, bubble wrap, my fingers, anything with texture in it. And my brushes….I have zillions and I’m really picking about how I care for them. (weird fun fact)
In person, I’m bubbly, talkative – each painting has a story. I try to make sure each person gets the story. But the funny thing about art is that the work itself is an experience for the viewer. I know what I brought to my work when I did it, but another individual’s set of experiences will COMPLETELY ALTER what they get from it. But it’s there for them, and they love it and they adopt it.
If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
Persistence and Confidence.
And sometimes I adopt the “fake it til you make it” mindset to get me through new experiences. lol. But really, it’s about staying positive and realizing ANYONE is a potential connection or possible buyer, or they know someone. I just talk about what I do, as it comes up.
Since my first career was in sales ( I’ve sold literally everything), I have that advantage, but it’s different to promote yourself, versus a random company’s product. That’s been the biggest quality/characteristic to change the past two years – Confidence!!
- Scarves with my artwork $39
- Prints available of most works starting at $49
- Most of my original artwork is under $500
- Free shipping on works over $500 within US
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.KristenFergusonArt.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kristen_ferguson_art/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristen.ferguson.art
- Other: https://www.facebook.com/artmachinegallery