LAB ART SHOW ARTIST Q&A FEATURE
By: Julia Wong
Lab Art Show is excited to present Kristy Hansen as our Featured Artist of the Month for February 2016. Kristy is the artist and designer behind Scandinavia Wolf Designs: a combination of art, jewellery, and home furnishings. Kristy’s connection to the earth is expressed through her use of natural materials in her work, and she operates under the philosophy that each of her pieces carries a positive energy with it.
What is the significance behind the name ‘Scandinavia Wolf’?
Scandinavia Wolf is a combination of two elements. The first is my own Scandinavian bloodline. My family has roots in Sweden, Denmark and Iceland, among others. I chose the wolf for my brand because of its strong inherent traits which I connect with. The wolf is instinctual, intelligent, has an appetite for freedom, and an awareness of the importance of social connections.
Are there any artists that inspired you to pursue art? How?
My biggest artist inspiration is definitely Salvador Dali. I learned how to paint by studying his work. His work taught me to use shadows and light and helped me think outside the box when creating my own artwork.
When you need inspiration for creation, what do you turn to?
Honestly, I get inspiration from just about everything I see. I love observing nature’s beauty and the organic architectural structures that underlie earth’s elements.
What is your workspace like?
Just like nature itself, my workspace is structured chaos.
What materials, tools, or mediums do you work with? Where do you get your materials?
I work with wood, stone, gems, metals, feathers, leather, vegan leather, textiles, paints, dyes and just about anything I can use my hands to work with. My tools generally consist of saws, sanders, drills, paint brushes, carving tools and of course, my own hands. Though I get materials from all over the world, most of my materials are Canadian. I do a lot of foraging locally along beaches and in forests for the wood I use and I never turn down the opportunity to go hunting in the mountains in search of beautiful, unique gemstones.
How do you approach the creation of a piece? Do you come with an idea in mind, or do you construct as you go?
It really depends on the piece I am working on. With my textiles I have a more structured approach and a set plan. With my paintings I usually have an idea of what I want but let my fingers and mind intuitively direct the final outcome. With my fallen branch artwork, the concept of design comes first in selecting the branch. I next start building the layers until the transformation is complete.
How did your interest in gemstones begin? Where do you get your knowledge?
My interest for gemstones began at a very early age. I was always on the hunt for interesting rocks and gems where I grew up in Cranbrook and Nelson. I get a lot of my knowledge from research. I use a few crystal bibles and also consult with other knowledgeable people who have been working with gemstones their whole life. I find I gravitate toward certain gemstones depending on the energy I need in my life at that time.
Kristy collects branches that normally wouldn’t warrant a second glance, and repurposes them into decorative pieces. Scandinavia Wolf’s branch art is symbolic for rising from the depths of despair and realizing one’s intrinsic beauty and self-worth. The gemstones add positive energy properties to the piece, and the feathers symbolize the rise and triumph over adversity.
Can you tell us a little more about your involvement with the Covenant House?
A big part of my inspiration came from seeing the beauty in something that had fallen from grace. This is the main concept behind my fallen branch artwork. It symbolizes rising from the depths of despair and realizing one’s intrinsic beauty and self-worth. I selected Covenant House as a place to give back because it aligns so well with the core values of my own artwork. Covenant House is a charity that provides a safe sanctuary for Vancouver's street youth and I am donating 10% of all sales of my fallen branch artwork to help their cause.
Describe a dream project.
I feel very lucky to say that what I do every day really is my dream project. I feel fulfilled in the artwork I create and blessed to have the opportunity to be creative for a living. I will say that one thing that would make my projects even more dream-like would be to create on a much larger scale. Perhaps a large public outdoor art installation may be in my future?