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Check out Crystal Despain’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Crystal Despain.

Crystal, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
My senior year of high school, I decided that I would go to school to become an artist. Twenty years later, I am still trying to figure out what that means. I graduated with an art degree when I was due with my second son. My life quickly became something as closely resembling a Jackson Pollock painting as a Cassatt when two years later, I would be the mother of four boys four years old and under. Painting came and went during the early years with kids. I used it to help me stay sane but honestly, I didn’t have enough confidence to sell my work and I was struggling with the question of the usefulness of my work. My husband had the brilliant idea to hire a part-time nanny and spend an entire year giving away one painting a week (see 52weeksoffreeart.com). It helped me understand how art reaches people and that I had a place in that world.

I now have five boys all in school, a studio, and the same wonderful husband. As I have gotten older and gained wonderful mentors, I have also gained vision and confidence that I am grateful for moving into this stage of my art life.

Traveling for art has become a big part of the experience. I have shows, workshops, and mentors in different states and I enjoy the variety. The Scottsdale Artist’s School is one of my favorite destinations.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I think being an artist means being on a journey of constant self-realization. My current beliefs about what my art should be are at least two-fold.

First, I want my work to be connective. I hope that by painting things that I believe to be beautiful and working to truly capture the spirit of my subjects that I create something that will stir emotion. I want a flicker of understanding to spark between the work and the viewer. I aspire to present work that transcends this reality just enough leave an impression of something greater than the work itself.

Secondly, I believe that as a representational artist I can only communicate as well as I can paint technically. I am constantly striving, painfully sometimes, to overcome my inadequacies. I consider skill the engine that gets my vehicle closer and closer to transcendence. Ironically I know that it isn’t a goal that is ever reached; perfection is always a world away. As an artist, I have to accept the reality of running without a finish line.

Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
There are a few voices in this world that have very large microphones- Twitter Titans and Hollywood Who’s among them. I think it is important to use whatever voice you have honestly. I believe in speaking my truth and respecting those who also speak their truth- even if it doesn’t match my own.

While some feel called to bring attention to the hard and dark things of this world, documenting the difficult, I feel called to show beauty and sometimes whimsy. Painting the lovely things helps me deal with the hard things. Altogether if I could choose one thing that my work could contribute to it would be a greater understanding and grace between people. Move kindness, more love.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My work is most easily found on my website, Instagram and Facebook. I enjoy Instagram as a platform to show in progress work, studio tours and occasional videos.

I show work on occasion in Utah and Colorado. I currently (through October) have a piece in the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Ut.

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