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Meet Kristina Sison of Sk8marie in Culver City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristina Sison.

Kristina, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was always artistic and doodling as a kid. I used to charge people to write their names on paper for their binders and I would sign them because someday I thought I would be some sort of artist.

Growing up, I always had friends that were skateboarders, and later on in life, I found myself working retail at a major action sports brand, but before that, I spent a year working at a local skate shop in Central CA. I randomly had a blank board in my closet and decided to paint it, and I’ve been painting ever since. That was quite a few years ago. It really came from me posting a few online, and some people saw my work and asked for a custom board, and that’s how I ended up here.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It hasn’t always been a smooth road. I’m self-taught and actually dropped out of my art class in high school. I did study design in college, but nothing that had to do with typography. I have a degree in Visual Communications and also Interior Design so those did help me understand design principles a little more.

It’s been hard because I don’t do a ton of marketing, although the irony is that I work on the brand side of a super amazing creative agency. I guess that’s the work/side hustle balance right, they don’t intersect? I have been lucky enough to get commissions from friends, word of mouth, or people that I’ve met traveling. I met a guy at a bar when I was living in West Hollywood, and years later he ended up bringing me to Costa Rica after winning a contest and free trip to help build a skatepark and design the sign for the park! I wouldn’t say it’s been a smooth road, but definitely a fun and interesting road – which makes for the best stories anyway!

I think the biggest struggle is that I am creating everything in my tiny 320 sq ft apartment, so I’ve had to get creative with my space, but for the last three years, it has worked!

Also, a lot of people only want to work with artists if they have a solid following on Instagram. My almost 1000 followers are amazing and loyal, but I’ve definitely lost a few partnerships because of how the influencer game works.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Sk8marie – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I started Sk8marie for fun, but it’s turned into a great little side hustle. I get to be creative on my own time, and it’s been so fun meeting new people and making something custom for them. Most people don’t skate, but they see a piece of wood as the canvas and potential for it being something meaningful and a work of art made just for them.

I mainly focus on typography, incorporating words and other graphics together, and it’s been really great to have that creative freedom to do almost whatever I want. It’s a lot of back and forth with the client, asking about everything from colors they like to what their space looks like. I’ve painted everything from sports logos to song lyrics, to movie quotes, you name it!

I’m most proud of being able to prove to my parents that being an artist is a sustainable side hustle and that people see value in what I do. After the first couple of years, I changed my pricing and nobody flinched. I think as an artist, that’s always scary trying to justify your work and the cost to someone that easily just wants a piece of art made. There is a lot that goes behind it.

I think what sets me apart from others is that I actually worked in the skate industry, and that’s another community that I love. I’ve also more recently started learning how to skate.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My plans for the future include painting a lot more and eventually creating a full collection. I would love to do a gallery show once I have a full concept hammered down.

I look forward to creating more art. Because of COVID, I’ve actually noticed an uptick in new clients, which I didn’t expect!

Pricing:

  • Pricing starts at $150, and depends on the complexity of the order

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Robiee Ziegler and Kristina Sison

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