Today we’d like to introduce you to Krista Sutton.
Krista, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My story even surprised me! I have been an actress/singer and (sometimes) film and song writer for years. Ok, decades. I graduated from the University of Toronto’s renowned UC Drama Program where I got to study with some of the most visionary artists on stage and off. For any theater nerds like me out there, people like Robert Lepage and Robert Wilson and Herbert Olschok from the Berliner Ensemble and Jean-Jacques Lemêtre! These are some really inspiring creatives and storytellers! I have been seen on stage and on-camera in Toronto, NYC, LA and Europe. I have worked off stage a lot too as an artistic director and prop builder and commedia dell’arte mask maker and set and stage designer/builder…you name it, I have worked away at it (for varying levels of PAY!) all along the way.
I grew up in a pretty creative family of artists, musicians, antique dealers and storytellers. As a kid I studied every performance art I could study. Cut to: a few years ago. Still working away as an actress and singer, I was drawing with my son one day and on a whim, I posted it on my still fairly new account on Instagram. Not too long after, someone I didn’t know messaged me and said “do you sell your work?” I had never sold my drawings before but of course I said yes! And it all grew from there. I launched Krista Sutton Studios and my shop on Etsy and was off and growing. Then someone asked, “Do you draw tattoos?” Another asked, “Do you draw logos?” And another asked me to design a fabric pattern. Currently I am working on a logo for a music tech start up. In short if someone asked, I said yes and yes. YES! From my other theatrical “styling” posts on Instagram someone else hired me to style a high concept party during Grammy week. I recently launched the brass pineapple co that is the styling and visual storytelling division of Krista Sutton Studios So, now I am an actress and singer, writer, illustrator, visual artist and stylist. I remember, as a younger actress, lamenting that well-meaning people would say, “Oh don’t do musical theater or commercials!” or what have you…”. people won’t take you seriously in other areas.”
But I think that if you are a creative, you are a creative. You find different ways to express that. And it is all a part of you. I am a proud multi-creative and maker with each creative expression fueling and inspiring the other. I am fascinated with storytelling in all its forms and mediums. My work is varied and always colorful and I love it!! I am a lover of all things theatrical, musical, vintage carnival, vaudeville and oddball. I am an admirer of the strangely beautiful and slightly dystopian with the belief that we all need to stay curious! And so, it continues….
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
“Say yes and then figure it out.” I read that somewhere as I was starting and that’s what I did. But it made for some extremely long nights on the “figuring out” part. It was a pretty quick timeline to have to figure out the technical part of things for my artwork…the printing and shipping and selling/taxes and Wacom tablets and Illustrator and Photoshop and half-drop patterns and for the logos…vectors! I am self-taught in this part of my career and there are different sides to that for sure. I am very proud of what I have learned and ready to learn so much more. But you do need to quiet the “imposter!’ voices in your head often. On the other side, you need to remember how things overlap when you venture out and stay confident. I did some art shows so I was sourcing tents and lights and displays and along with the party styling part that was for sure more familiar since it is basically theater. And so, I treat the art shows/events/photos like a theater production. That is a familiar place.
One other main challenge I want to mention: I came to social media pretty late so it has been a challenge to keep making sure my work is seen in this social media age. I’m pretty introverted (which no one ever believes!) and can be pretty private. It was my sister in law who told me that Instagram was a good place for me (before I posted that first art post!) because of the supportive, creative community! And she was right! Look at what it opened up for me! The challenge is now to keep growing my on-line presence having not been a Social Media “early adopter”. Using tried and true in person “old school” networking is my goal this year…artist gatherings and meet ups! I’m in! I just signed up on VERO. I figured I should get on board early (ish) there and see what happens.
Please tell us about Krista Sutton Studios + the brass pineapple company.
Krista Sutton Studios is the creative home for actress/singer Krista Sutton’s work in illustration and art.
I am known for my whimsical, HIGHLY intricate. evocative pen and ink work. I often also use watercolor and ink and I have recently started working in acrylics. My work is organic, rarely planned in advance as I put pen to paper and I flow. People who buy my artwork respond painstaking detail. I often get asked with surprise, “How long did that take you?” and my art works, especially the larger pieces do take a long time. Sometimes months. You can find imagery from nature, florals, fairy tales, carnival, music, honeybees, steampunk in my work. For tattoos and logos people have said they have come to me because of my precision line work and highly creative approach. As I am self-taught I have no preconceived notions about “how things should be”…I think out of the box and then I put pen to paper.
the brass pineapple company is the art direction, styling and visual storytelling division for Krista Sutton Studios. My work in event, photo, interior, any kind of staging and staying comes from my background in theater. It is highly theatrical, imaginative and sometimes oddball. Vaudeville, vintage carnival, and antiques feature heavily. I love anything strangely beautiful and a little dystopian. (Yes, I admire so the work of Wes Andersen!)
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
When I was very young my parents bought an original Canadian log cabin from the mid-1800s. It sat on top of a hill, north of Toronto, Canada, in a field of the most amazing wildflowers. They restored it painstakingly for years as it had been moved to that hill on a flatbed truck. Plumbing, chinking, electric, septic, they did it all. While they were working on it we lived in a little stable down the hill. I would wander all day. I was so young but it was the country so I would go off, on my own, to the forest and create whole scenarios about who I was and where I was. There was also a train track beside our property and I would walk down the tracks pretending that I was wandering the world. There was a little creek and my Mom would send me for watercress for our dinner salad. She wore bellbottoms and a kerchief and would refinish antiques. I would collect mice, and frogs and build a million forts. My grandparents were antique dealers and my grandmother was one of the first female auctioneers in Canada so we would go to many country auctions where the church ladies would, of course, serve pie! The house was filled with amazing pieces and antiques which feature heavily in my work, my home and styling to this day.
- Website: www.kristasuttonstudios.com and www.thebrasspineappleco.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @kristaannesutton