Today we’d like to introduce you to Christine Rasmussen.
Christine, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I was born and raised by American parents in Pakistan and Vietnam. My mom is an artist and ran a creative household, yet I’m not one of those artists who knew that’s what I wanted to do from a young age. Rather, I loved painting and found it a good escape and a reassuring constant as I moved around a lot (I went to 4 different high schools in 3 countries). This continued into college, where I majored in Peace & Conflict Studies at UC Berkeley, and only added the Art Practice as a double major so they would let me keep taking classes. When I graduated, I dabbled in various “day jobs,” worked part-time as a teaching artist, and always made a space to paint.
In my mid-20s, I had a come-to-Jesus moment and finally accepted that my true calling was being a painter. This was a huge relief as it cleared up a lot of my own doubts. Of course, going about being a professional artist is not an easy path, but it is the thing that gives me the most joy and I feel privileged to be doing it here in LA since late 2015. I currently describe myself as an urban landscape painter with a touch of the surreal floating through my canvases.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I make paintings that explore femininity, boundaries, belonging and place. While these are all themes that I’ve struggled with personally growing up rootless and across cultures, they can also be universal. My paintings are narrative, but viewers can create their own narratives; it’s fascinating hearing other people’s takes on my symbols. I often create binaries – of masculine architecture versus feminine cloth, or presence of a garment versus the absence of a human body – that might spark dialogue, change preconceptions or even challenge stereotypes. I want people to walk away feeling empowered and emboldened to create a more equitable world.
Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
I think being an artist is a hard job, and always has been. Rather than subscribing to the “starving artist” mentality, I’ve some to embrace the artist life as being an entrepreneurial life – with all the excitement, risks and challenges that that entails. It’s a constant hustle. In recent years, technology has made life easier in some ways, changing the playing field so that there are more ways to make money or get noticed as an artist outside of the galleries and institutions, than ever before. At the same time, there is more competition than ever before – not just amongst artists, but amidst all the digital media, self-publishing and 24-hour news cycle – so making a lasting impression is extremely difficult and oftentimes demoralizing. Add to this the rising costs of living – let alone renting studio space – in urban areas, and yes, it is difficult to make ends meet.
I would love the city to be patrons of artists – literally. In my dream world, this would be by giving artists a living stipend like they do in Belgium where being an artist is considered a job worth a living wage. A more practical suggestion would be for no-strings-attached grants that could be used for studio or supply costs. Also, designating more buildings for low-cost studios or live-work spaces could be helpful.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My website is www.ChristineRasmussenArt.com. I have a studio at Keystone Art Space in Lincoln Heights – people can contact me for a private studio visit or come to our next Open Studios on June 9, 6-10PM. To keep up on my current shows, I encourage people to sign up for my newsletter via my website, and/or connect with me on Instagram or Facebook @christinerasmussenart.
- Website: www.christinerasmussenart.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christinerasmussenart/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christinerasmussenart/
Christine Rasmussen, Louise Flores