We had the good fortune of connecting with Cristall Harper and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cristall, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think that actions are more important that knowledge. I see many artists trapped in the workshop cycle, intent on gaining all knowledge before they take action and start painting. Taking actions before “knowing everything” is a risk, but if you don’t put any miles on your brush, you will never discover what truly makes you an artist.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I failed my senior show as a Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate. I had to enroll in an extra semester and paint another senior show, convince my committee that I deserved to graduate college as an art major, and then with my diploma in hand I spent years in day jobs, waiting to “start being an artist”. I quit a salaried job to begin painting 6×6″ daily paintings that auctioned on eBay for $50, enough for me to buy paint. It was fifteen years before I caught my big break and got into Astoria Fine Art, the finest art gallery in Jackson Hole, WY. I focused those fifteen years on bettering my craft and finding my voice. I’ve had a long journey to success, but the organic growth has been authentic and lasting.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
That’s a good question. I’d probably ask them to take me to their favorite city and show me all of the things they loved. I like learning from other people. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Ms. Cynthia McCord, High School Art Teacher Matthew Harper, husband and teammate