Christie Shinn - Atmospheric Storytelling through Calligraphic Watercolor
Los Angeles, CA USA
Mediums: digital, pen, paper, watercolor
Style: Calligraphic Watercolor inspired by manga and Dali
Creative Genres: Illustration, Graphic Design, and Comic Art
Favorite Books: Jane Eyre, Daddy Long-Legs, Dear Enemy, The Story of the Eye
Favorite Movies: My Sassy Girl, Same Time Next Year, Terminator 1 and 2, Aliens
I am an illustrator, comic artist, and graphic designer in Los Angeles. I would describe my style is ‘calligraphic watercolor’. I have published a ‘kid’s book for adults’ called “Personal Monsters: A Compendium of Monstrosities of Personality” of which described different monsters and personal demons that I have encountered in my professional and personal life, complete with illustrations of said monsters. It sold out at Comic-Con 2015 and is currently distributed through Amazon. I am the artist and writer of “Sepulchre” a tale of revenge by a woman whose voice is stolen by her husband and that is available monthly at DriveThruComics.com in a digital format. I will be publishing the graphic novel of it soon. For my last show, I participated in ‘VS’ the juried collaborative show in 2015 with fellow LAAA member Deborah Kashinski with our 3D assemblage, “The Empress/Spring Serape Spirit”.
First experience creating.
I was a kid and experienced pure joy on taking a writing instrument and scrawling on paper on whatever was on my mind. Strangely enough, I didn't have a lot of specifics in mind when I drew, but it was more meditative. I had this huge pile of paper and took a pen and just DREW. I saw the amounts of work I was putting out into random sheets growing into piles and stacks of drawings. Somehow I feel really proud of that.
What music do you like to have playing while creating art?
I like music, but I'm very repetitive. There will be this one song that catches my fancy that inspires me and I'll listen to it on repeat until I get the inspiration out. I listened to Rachel Platten's "Fight Song" as a result of an article detailing her success and literally, her fight to get there through all of her personal stuff. It resonated with me to create this piece of one of my characters getting up after fighting a huge battle - all blood stained, sword broken, weary, but ready to get up again. ("Lady Jaye Weary")
If you have a job besides being an artist, can you tell us about it?
I'm a nerd in a lot of respects. I like technology, literature, history, and science. If a certain subject matter intrigues me, then I research it until I can't find anything new. I also love stories and talking to people. I like to get the details down so I know what I'm talking about and the character seems more real and relatable, rather than a cardboard cutout.
What are you trying to convey to viewers through your art?
My primary goals are movement, emotion, and the character. I want to show what I'm feeling about it, what this person is showing me during their "birthing" process, and the movement involved even if the scene may be still. It reminds me how things still move forward even though when nothing appears to be happening. It reminds me of how I had dark times in my personal life and as an artist, and realized you don't stay stuck even though you may feel it. The only way you do is if you don't at least wake up in the day and try to do something.
Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion:
I get pictures in my head, or a quick little movie, or maybe a cool little fighting vignette in my head. I'll sketch out some images in my head, or when I feel a "GO!" - I just draw. Sometimes, I don't think about it. I'll have a gray image (not totally defined but a strong idea) in my head about what it should be. Then I'll DRAW it. I'll look at it, think if anything needs to be added when I think of the context of the image: "Is she weary?" "Why?" and add any embellishments without any expectations or any restrictions.
What things inspire you to create art?
Music. A story or emotion that hits me as a result of outside stimuli. My Facebook feed is filled with different groups and pages of artwork from other artists. I like seeing what's out there and different. Also, I like walking around outside. It really centers me and I find myself discovering little eateries (I'm a foodie) and going into places I wouldn't normally go into.
What exhibitions have you had?
Earlier this year, in 2015 I participated in the Los Angeles Art Association's exhibition called 'VS'. I was selected and paired randomly with another LAAA member and we were to create a piece together out of a collaborative effort. Our piece was selected and it was totally different than what I or the other artist normally do. We did a 3D assemblage while I was a comic book artist and illustrator and she was an oil painter.
Have you sold any of your artworks?
I've sold books at the moment. I sold out of my "Personal Monsters" book at Comic Con, and plan to showcase them over at Comikaze. I currently have "Sepulchre" available for digital distribution at DriveThruComics.
How do you promote your art on the internet?
I have a Facebook art page: HoraTora Studios, and each of my titles has their own Facebook page. I also promote personally through relevant groups and through Instagram, Patreon, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Tell us about influences:
Salvador Dali, Yoshitako Amano (Final Fantasy concept artist), Adam Warren (Dirty Pair), Yoji Shinkawa (Metal Gear concept artist), Vincent Van Gogh, and pretty much any artist that's ever lived.
Please recommend another artist you admire, and tell us a little about them:
That's a very hard answer. I really have a lot of artists that I admire for their work, and for their tenacity and strength in achieving those goals. I also have a soft spot for artists that have mentored and/or have said kind and encouraging words to other emerging artists. That shows true and real maturity and good character to me. I've unfortunately dealt with "professionals" that were rude, dismissive, and quite frankly, quashing. There is a real difference to constructive criticism compared to being a jerk.
Do you have an embarrassing moment in your life?
There are many. It's mostly social awkwardness of which I am overcoming. Sometimes I would meet an artist whose work I had liked and I couldn't say or make proper eye contact because I was too shy. Most of the time I'm fine - but there are times where my social battery suddenly drained in the middle of a conversation.
If you could live your life over again, would there be anything you would do differently?
I would have surrounded myself with more supportive people and really saw how their lives reflected their words. I unfortunately listened to a lot of negativity in my life. I did fight against it, but you can't grow in a soil filled with salt as it attracts death and stagnation. You need to transplant with better people that will have you be more nurtured and will let you grow. I would allow myself more quiet time to reflect inside without any outside input for longer periods of time and not be on constant 24-7 stimuli and hurry. Sometimes you need that personal conversation with yourself and God (or Whomsoever you shall call him/her/it)
What plans do you have for the future of your art?
At this point, it's getting my work to continually grow and mature. I'm always looking for to make my work technically better. However, I'm more focused as to making the work more "real" in terms of emotional and psychologically impacting. I am happy with my work, but I'm not happy to stay at one place. I would love to see how my work fits into certain genres, and to be pleasantly surprised to see where it goes. I don't try to put hard expectations on my work with the exception of it me putting my best in at every time.
Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?
It's a simple but very tenacious formula. Work hard. Keep positive. Look for opportunities. Trust the process once you've put it out there. It's okay to feel disappointed or otherwise negative, but process it, learn from it, and move forward. Heal. Also, the most important - have a good, mature character. You never know who you will meet and who will try to tear you down. A good and mature character guarantees that you will rise above any situation. Tell the truth. Be truthful in what you do.
Twitter and Instagram: @HoraToraStudios
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/HoraToraStudios
Other profiles: https://www.behance.net/HoraToraStudios
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