February featured member of the month – Kristina Benson

Throughout the year the Kamloops Arts Council profiles a different member or donor, so that you can get to know the diverse and talented community that makes up the KAC. This month we feature Kristina Benson

IMAGE: Kristina Benson wearing Shine Sapphire

PHOTO CREDIT: Kelly Funk Photography

How long have you been involved with the Kamloops Arts Council?
I have been involved with the Kamloops Arts Council since 2015.

Why did you get involved?
I got involved with the Kamloops Arts Council initially because of the opportunity to show my art in the Art Exposed Regional Exhibition at the KAC Gallery. It was an opportunity which allowed me to create a piece or two and be in an art show, alongside some amazing artists. In 2016, I showcased a series of beautiful intention-based paintings on canvas. Because of the success that followed Art Exposed, one door opened to another. A few months later, I found myself not only creating a plethora of unique new pieces, but I actually started a new line of yoga leggings where my artwork is printed and designed onto these leggings — as wearable art!

I decided to make a go of it and felt Kamloops Arts Councils’ Art in the Park 2016 was the perfect venue to launch my new business, Kristina Benson Art.

Tell us about your artwork:
I have practiced yoga for quite a few years. I also passionately love art and design. I serendipitously found a way to combine these two. My artwork is inspired from the heart and intention-based. The pieces include rich-textured visuals and are often complimented by words that inspired the art; such as ‘Let go,’ ‘Surrender,’ or Buddha quotes such as, “Peace comes from within, do not seek it without.”

I create all my pieces of art. I’m in love with using various mediums and exploring all sorts of new ways to make marks on paper, sketch books and canvases. These pieces start out sometimes as photographs I have taken, or sometimes using very fine brushstrokes I will paint a landscape scene with acrylic paint. Other times I use fine-tipped art markers to create an illustration. I love to splatter paint. I love using sea sponges. I love playing with large paintbrushes and creating big paintings… and I love combining all of these together, to create what’s in my head!

It is thrilling to first have a vision and create the art on paper or canvas, and then design this onto the yoga leggings. I get to design exactly where each brushstroke hits the calf, thigh, bum and hip. My end canvas is essentially the beautiful female figure.

This wearable art is created with a printing process called dye-sublimation, which allows the artwork to be rich and vibrant in colour — it looks as if you are ‘wearing’ this artwork! The product is made in Canada, is an ecofabric and is an ultra-soft fabric that customers keep coming back for more.

What are you looking forward to this upcoming year? A special show or project you’re working on?
I am now launching my newest 2017 Collection online at www.kristinabensonart.com. I am thrilled to share this new collection. I have created 22 new designs in over 60 products to choose from. Any of my products can be ordered online and the products are shipped to your door within 10 to 15 business days, shipped to anywhere in Canada and US.

In 2017, I am looking forward to having many Pants Parties, as well as having being a vendor at Yoga Festivals, Conferences and Wellness Festivals. I LOVE meeting my customers and connecting and sharing my art.

My customers have some amazing stories. And my art gives people a chance to open up and talk about their lives. My art often comes from a vulnerable place — things that I’ve been through. I have taken that first step of putting myself out there — my vulnerability and stories. I hear their stories; how they purchased the ‘Let Go’ pair of leggings because that is exactly where they are in their life and want to declare that intention by wearing that message; or they purchased the ‘Overcome’ for a good friend who is going through a really tough time and they are in the storm of life and want a reminder to be strong; or how they purchased the ‘Surrender’ pair because that is their underlying theme when they teach their yoga students about surrendering to their body in class.

Why is it important to support the arts?
I feel it is important to support the arts because it fosters creativity. Creativity is so important for our community and individuals as an expression of themselves. The arts provide a platform for all of us to connect creatively.

What would you say to someone who’s considering becoming a member with the Kamloops Arts Council?
Although my business is an online shop, I benefited from the strong local community support. This is where Kamloops Arts Council comes in. They have helped me to get out there and connect with people.

I recommend to any creative or artist to join the Kamloops Arts Council. It feels great to have an organization who can support us creatives — whether we have questions about talking to people, selling our art, or just connecting. I feel Kathy and Jenn and the team at KAC have been so supportive of my vision and my art. If you are considering joining KAC, I would say, Go for it!