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Meet Kristen Allen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristen Allen.

Hi Kristen, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I have always had an interest in creative projects. I would always make art and crafty projects with my mother and grandmother. When I hit my teenage years, I really started wanting to pursue a career in art and I was also very into altering my clothing (usually items from thrift shops since we didn’t have much money). My mother would show me how to customize my thrifted clothes with zippers and patches with her sewing machine. My parents also always found money for expensive art supplies despite our single income household. I grew to love punk and heavy metal music during this time in my life and it greatly influenced my art style and fashion style. I also have a wonderful best friend that I lived with who also loves to sew. Her name is Julia and she also runs her own clothing company Ronchie Gear. We still trade ideas and patterns constantly. My parents paid for me to attend college after I graduated high school and I got my Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from SDSU.

Today I work a day job but every second of my spare time, I’m pursuing my dream of becoming a full-time artist and fashion designer. I create my own patterns for clothing and sew whole collections from scratch. I create beautiful, vibrant acrylic paintings, watercolors, and pencil drawings. I even have some of my artwork professionally photographed and printed on apparel like leggings or swimwear. I sell a lot of my work through an Etsy shop. My fiancé shoots photos of me modeling my designs and edit them myself while promoting it all on my social media platforms. I used to shoot my own photos with a tripod and timer but thankfully, he noticed how much of a struggle it was for me and stepped up to help. I also started filming and editing tutorial videos on my YouTube channel to teach others how to get started with painting, crafting, and sewing. I try and keep myself busy everyday to achieve my dream.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I definitely have struggled. The balance between working a day job, going to school, and balancing a budget for supplies has always had its ups and downs. I also suffer from severe depression and anxiety brought on through an abusive relationship. Making time to work on creative projects has always been calming and therapeutic, but time management to make time to create has been a constant source of stress and worry for me. Through therapy and good coping skills, I work through these and keep myself busy and productive. I’ve been lucky to have supportive people in my life like my fiancé Corey, my best friend Julia, and amazing sisters Crystal and Bree, and my amazing parents Jim and Regina.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I create paintings, handmade clothing, custom printed apparel with my art, and tutorials on how I make everything. I’d say my specialty in my clothing designs is altered band tees, I often transform men’s band tees into everything from studded and sexy dresses to wild and elaborate leggings. As far as my painting goes, I specialize in bold, vibrant, colorful paintings with surrealistic elements. I feel very proud of the paintings I’ve created that reflect on my struggles. I also take a great deal of pride in my clothing musicians have worn on stage or in videos; it’s a dream of mine to create for rockstars and seeing people choose my designs to represent them just makes my day. I think what sets me apart is my inclusive approach to it all, I am transparent about how it’s made to inspire others to find the joy of making art and clothing.

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I was a quiet kid that loved nature and animals. I was always drawing and we practically had a zoo growing up. I don’t know how my dad managed to care for them all, but at one point we had one dog, two cats, ten rabbits, two box turtles, a tortoise, a pond turtle, four parakeets, one guinea pig, an anole lizard, two iguanas, and three tanks full of fish. I also loved toys (especially anything that was an animal). I think being around my mother and grandmother nurtured my interest in art and my father shaped my love for animals. As a teenager, I was a big metalhead and a bit of a stoner and was always drawing through my classes. We even had a shack in my backyard and my friends and I all drew art on the walls.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Corey Allgood shot photos 4 & 5. The other images were shot by me or are scans of my artwork.

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