I have at last found the perfect visual backdrop for the dramatic ballads of Édith Piaf! Khristian A. Howell is the architect behind these charming pieces, and today she has offered the perspective of her sometimes sophisticated and sometimes whimsical, French-inspired musings.
(AW) How did you get started in the creative process?
(KAH) My journey started as a kidswear colorist and artist for Nordstrom's private label. It was an amazing experience that really taught me to use both sides of my brain at all times! It was invaluable to learn how to create for a client while thinking about all the business aspects as well.
(AW) In perusing your lovely website, we cannot overlook your adoration for French culture. How has this impacted your work?
(KAH) The thing that I love most about the French way of life is the balance. Lots of love, family, good food, and we'll throw in some work in there too for good measure. This balance is what I am always working towards in my life, and I think this ideal of balance is always a big part of my work.
(AW) Bien dit! Do you find you enjoy the opportunity to explain specific pieces, or would you rather let the work speak for itself?
(KAH) As I grow as an artist, I think my message and the essence of me is becoming more clear. So increasingly, there is no need to explain with words.
(AW) Indeed, it seems that your body of work has developed a voice of it's own. That said, I might press to ask, how would you describe your aesthetic?
(KAH) This is always such a tough question for me because I feel I have really eclectic taste. If I had to sum it up and keep it simple, I would say that for me it is all about color harmony, and again, balance. When I finish a print or take a photo, I want the viewer to have a sense of serenity. Color and balance are my tools to achieve this.
(AW) Your black and white photography collection is beautiful. When you are taking photos, how do you feel that content and formal qualities should work together? What audience do you have in mind for your work, both photographic and design-oriented?
(KAH) Wow. I must say, it is not everyday I stop and think about my work so deeply! It's a little unnerving, but good! Right now I am all about content with my photography. My mission is to invite my viewer into a moment in time. There is very little formality involved. I just shoot the world as I see it. This is why I love film and don't alter my photos. I love purity. Sorry that it's such a boring perspective! I hope that people who enjoy my work also love and appreciate beauty in the small things that we encounter daily. I love to celebrate the beauty in the simple--an escape from the daily chaos of our lives.
(AW) I don't think that is a boring perspective at all! Simplicity is often thrown to the wind in the chaos of this culture. Khristian, thank you for bringing us a second of solitude with your work and your time.
Khristian's "Queen of Hearts," a print of a hand-drawn and digitally colored piece, is available on Art Wall's Bedroom wall. On her personal website are multiple black and white photographs available as well as a few other prints. She is also inclined to collaborate or take commissions; her first show is May 2010 in Surtex NYC booth #356. Ask her anything on her Formspring page.