We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristi Rauckis and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kristi, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
When it comes to life, I think there to be so many gifts to be found in risk. That goes with every aspect of life, whether it’s in business or anything else. Even learning a new language, risk takes a huge part in actually having it be useful. You need to take the risk of feeling silly or awkward in conversation before you can become fluent. It’s the risk of making mistakes where genius is finally able to be honed.

For me, I was lucky to have a father who told me early on to, “Make mistakes as quickly as possible”. I don’t know why this particular word of advice stuck with me so deeply, but I am grateful for it. Don’t worry, I didn’t just go haywire and do a bunch of crazy things to make mistakes purposefully. What it had done, is allowed me to explore the possibilities of what works for me and what doesn’t. To grow more quickly in many areas because I wouldn’t just give up in the slightest sign of “failure”.

I believe this gave me the courage to make the decision of not going to college, when so many people around me shook their finger at me for it. It allowed me to dive in to combining my passion for horses and painting to start an art career. I grew fast in my business as I took seeming “failures” as learning experiences. I kept following my big vision even though my bank account would be overdrawn almost every month. I saw great successes in doing things that took me out of my comfort zone. I gifted a 115ft long by 20ft high mural to the World Equestrian Center in Ohio to get a start in my career as a muralist. I had never done anything at this scale, painted it in two short weeks, and I didn’t know if anything would come of this large effort. But a year and a half later, they hired me to do another big mural project at their Florida location and gave me my own gallery.

Time after time, I was shown that putting myself out there with risks (even if they were painful outcomes) was a sure and fast way to grow and a fun way to see what you’re capable of. I then moved across the country by myself on a whim. This opened up a whole new world for my career as an artist. I started taking more risks in my work, with subject matter and technique which led me to have representation in galleries. I can say now, that I am living my dream life from the risks I’ve taken throughout my journey. I can only believe that all risk taking creatively is linked to outside risk. Taking risks and stretching in one area of your life allows you the flexibility and growth in all areas. The more I do this, the more open I have felt creatively. Taking necessary, but educated risks, could be your very best friend.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art has evolved through the years, as many artists and people do. Although I have shifted from doing mostly realism equine portraiture, my subjects stay in the realm of appreciating and holding our wildlife and natural landscapes dear. I have always been passionate about the environment and the animals that inhabit it. I grew up going on birdwatching trips with my family every year and I have been riding horses since I was 7 yrs old. Art has also been apart of me since I was little. I was known as “the artistic one” of my class all the way through high school. Naturally, the two weaved and melted together. I now spend a lot of my time traveling in my van, gathering new experiences from all sorts of places and other cultures. More recently, I found a style and way to portray my subject matter that feels close to my heart. It’s become surrealistic and more thought provoking. The first painting I did of this new series, “Juniper Rising”, won an award back in January. The Future Art Awards: Ecosystem X and a $5,000 grant. I was absolutely blown away and ecstatic with the honor. This piece, and the rest in it’s collection, serves to strengthen and remind others of this sacred partnership—that our appreciation of nature not only helps to save it, but can actually add to its beauty. The artwork featured in this collection brings in a surreal quality, almost as if they were portals to other dimensions where the earth is revered, respected, and all live in harmony. I hold the vision that this is the future we will choose to create, especially the more we allow ourselves to see it as possible. I look forward to seeing where these ideas end up, whether in homes, galleries, or on a building wall as a mural. I want to spread the beauty I see of this world as much as I possibly can. These pieces can be seen and are available at The Wyatt Gallery in Sedona, AZ!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Most of my itinerary would be made up of mostly hiking and outdoor activity. Personally, I would show them around some of my favorite hiking spots in Sedona and take them to my favorite creek spot. I would absolutely show them around the San Fransisco Peaks, Harts Prairie, Lockett Meadow, the Arboretum and Walnut Canyon. I would also take them to Delhi Palace my favorite Indian restaurant here, The Annex for drinks and Shift Kitchen for a fun meal. Sunday evenings we would go join the most open and loving people at The Commons Church. As well as, quite honestly, just hanging out with our amazing group of friends here and having game nights. The people in Flagstaff are the best, and if you get the chance to hang out with some locals, I bet you’d have a great time.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am so grateful for many people and resources that have immensely impacted my life. I don’t know if I would be able to list all of them… AND I will make a shout out to the most prominent ones. My sister, Emilia Ann, is an incredible creative who has inspired me all my life. It has only grown even stronger the past few years, as she has committed to doing something creative EVERY single day for over 1000 days now. The dedication she shows to her inner work, her heart, beauty, playfulness, and creativity is astounding. I am lucky to have someone so genuinely loving and supportive, that I can call my best friend and not only lean on when things are tough, but celebrate with when we have a win. Emilia has been helping so many others break the barriers they have around creativity. I see her work, her life, and her art as my biggest inspiration. I also want to shout out my parents, Marius and Cathy, for without their undeniable support through tough decisions and understanding my vision for life.

I am lucky to have my partner, Eric, the most unconditionally loving man to tackle my dreams and visions with. Having someone who magnifies what I want out of life, is my best friend, and who has helped me have grace for myself has been truly a gift.

I also want to shout out the book Letting Go by Dr. David R. Hawkins as a beautiful resource that helped me mentally and spiritually. Dr. Hawkins gives explanations of how the human psyche functions and gives you tools to understand your own mind. This book helped me discover who I was, how to accept and process emotions, let go of the things not serving me, and find so much beauty in every part of life.

Of course I am so grateful for all of my friends and clients who have supported me since the beginning, and continue to show their love and support now. Even if I didn’t mention you, know that I have so much love for anyone who has crossed my path!

Website: www.kristiscanvas.com

Instagram: fineartnomad

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