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Art & Life with Kristal Melody Hoeh

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristal Melody Hoeh.

Kristal, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was born in Sandy, Utah, to a large German Mormon family and moved to Palm Harbor, Florida, when I was 12 years old. Moving out of Utah exposed me to different perspectives and ways of life. Unfortunately, this loss of an extended-family support system also created a perfect storm of mental illness, divorce, and neglect in my immediate family. As my mother struggled to survive as a paranoid schizophrenic, and my father grappled with raising five children on his own, my adolescence was a lonely struggle to parent myself and my siblings. During this lonely and scary time, art stood as a constant source of joy. I had a great high school art teacher, Ms. Priscoe, who supported me in my self-expression and who validated my self-worth.

I earned my Bachelors Degree in Art Education from Brigham Young University. I spent a summer in college backpacking throughout Europe. I worked in a Belgium supermarket where I practiced my French and learned about Endives and Horse Meat. On the weekends, I stood in the presence of master works in museums throughout Brussels, London, Paris, and Rome.

Professionally, I have taught art for 14 years at all levels. I am currently teaching at a small rural desert K-8 school with 25 students, art history and 2D Design for online high school, and evening adult courses at the local community college. I want to inspire, facilitate, and validate my students’ self-worth, just like Ms. Priscoe did for me as I moved through every one of her elective art courses in high school.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Moving from desert to tropical areas has become a pattern throughout my life. Most recently I moved from Hawaii to southern Arizona back in 2005. The array of landscapes, flora, and fauna in these opposing climates continue to inform my artwork.

Though I don’t identify as Mormon any longer and don’t feel constricted to a prescribed code of behavior, I tend to portray traditional conservative subjects in my artwork such as landscapes, animals, and still-lives. As an artist who sees my contemporaries grappling with such weighty subjects as social justice, racism, and feminism, I have struggled with the apparent “superficiality” of my subject matter. While my focus may change and transform as my career continues to unfold, I continue to find satisfaction, wonder, and challenge in portraying the reflections of a mountain pond, the sunset after a monsoon storm, or the delicate silk petals of a cactus flower. Watercolor is my preferred medium. Ironically, my watercolor course in college was my most challenging. It has been a tortured relationship, but one worth the struggle. Watercolor paint lends itself to portraying nature with a bold, concentrated stroke of stain or the transparent wet application of a wash.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
Artists have an important role to portray the full range of human experience. Once an artist has found their medium and their voice, they have a duty to start off the conversation with the world. Religious freedom, gender equality, and mental health awareness run deep in my psyche and are areas I hope to develop and address more in my artwork. Currently, the idea of finding peace and mental balance through nature dominate my landscapes and still-lives.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I am currently showing my work in a group show at Maricopa City Hall, in Maricopa, Arizona, located 30 miles south of Phoenix. I have also had solo art shows at Maricopa City Library in 2018 and Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship in 2017. Each year my art is displayed at the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix, AZ, and the Pinal County Fair in Casa Grande, Arizona.

My full gallery can be found at Originals and prints are available for purchase.

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