Christine Ross | Artist living on Vancouver Island
Christine Ross is a self-taught artist living on the west coast of Canada. We talk about her unique mixed media style, her early artistic memories, femininity (and being a little bit badass) and her beautiful home on Vancouver Island. I cannot get enough of her Instagram – I could keep scrolling forever. A big thanks to Christine for sharing the influences behind her beautiful art.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ARTWORK. WHAT'S YOUR STYLE? HOW DID YOU GET INTO IT?
I would call my artwork ‘minimal with flair’. There are a lot of amazing single line artists out there, so I like to try to set my work apart by using different embellishments to make them stand out. It also ensures my work is always evolving and changing, since I get bored easily and am always looking for new materials to use.
I’ve always been artistic, but really got into it about five years ago when I was talking to a friend and fellow artist, (@marijanel) and she asked why I don’t create anymore. I thought about it and said, “why the hell AREN’T I??” I’ve been enjoying the process ever since.
I LOVE YOUR MIX OF MATERIALS. WHAT DRAWS YOU TO USE THESE UNIQUE BITS AND PIECES?
I started off just using paint (gouache is my fave) to embellish my work. Once I tired of that, I got inspiration from my sister who is an amazing fiber artist (@meaganalessio). She gave me a sampler of threads to try out, and I was hooked. I actually created a few full embroidery pieces as well. It gave me a whole new respect for fiber artists who I feel are undervalued in the art world. That artform takes TIME. I literally have about 30 hours into some of my embroidery pieces! Right now, I’m really into using real pressed plants in my work, but I’m always looking for my next material.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST ARTISTIC MEMORY?
I remember being enthralled as a child watching Bob Ross on TV at my Grandma’s house. (And no, unfortunately, I’m not related to him…. although I will continue to pretend I am) My Grandma was an amazing landscape painter. I remember she had little painted flowers on her ceiling fan, and I was obsessed with them. I definitely got it from my ‘gramma. My own mom is also an incredible artist, though she doesn’t practice it very much anymore. My sisters are always trying to push her to explore her artistic abilities more.
HOW DOES THE LANDSCAPE ON THE WEST COAST OF CANADA INFLUENCE YOUR LIFE AND WORK?
My husband and I recently moved to Vancouver Island about eight months ago. It really has brought such peace to my life living near the ocean. I didn’t even know I was missing it until I arrived. It’s definitely a slower lifestyle, which I am VERY okay with. It gives me a lot of time to appreciate the amazing scenery and work on my art. Full time, I work as a Power Engineer away from home for two weeks at a time. It’s so nice to come home and unwind and let the soothing ocean air take all my stress away.
WOMEN AND FEMININITY APPEAR TO BE A CONSTANT SUBJECT IN YOUR WORK. IS THERE A REASON YOU FEEL DRAWN TO THIS THEME?
I have always really appreciated the feminine form and find so much beauty in it. As I get older and more comfortable with my own body, I find I am embracing the differences in us more and more. I think there is something unique about every person on this planet, and it should be celebrated. I also have a very close group of amazing female friends, and they inspire me every day as they grow, have children, and discover themselves.
I COULD SCROLL FOREVER THROUGH YOUR INSTAGRAM! ARE THERE ANY OTHER ACCOUNTS YOU ARE INSPIRED BY?
Thank you! Instagram is probably my biggest source of inspiration. I have connected with so many amazing artists and am constantly getting new ideas. Some of my favorite artists; @astrid.elisabeth, her style is wicked cool. She does amazing drawings and tattoos. One of my favorite embroidery artists is @pretawolzak. I’ve never seen anything like her work. My sister, (@meaganallesio) creates everything from tiny needle felted dog replicas to amazing resin wall hangings. And recently I’ve been swooning over the resin and flower work of @elleroseartist. It’s actually where I got the inspiration to start pressing my own flowers for my work. Some other great ones are @alicewaltonceramics, @tsurubride, and @cristina_troufa. I could go on and on!
YOUR HOME LOOKS GORGEOUS. HOW DID YOU APPROACH THE DESIGN? ARE THERE ANY ITEMS THAT HAVE SPECIAL MEANING FOR YOU?
Other than art, home décor is probably my biggest passion. I’m an amateur art collector and have quite the lot now. I only buy original art because it just feels different to own something that was physically made by someone else. I love going to thrift stores and seeing what I can find. One of my best finds was a very awkward nude painting that I found at a local Goodwill. I painted my whole house white so that I could let my art collection and houseplants (I have about 60) be the stars.
I try to find sustainable items for my home, either vintage or handmade. Etsy is my go-to source for items. I am basically a professional online shopper and will scour the internet for the perfect unique piece. I try to mix high and low items too. Nothing wrong with a little IKEA thrown in there too. Some of my biggest splurges are vintage Moroccan rugs, and a few photographs by the incredible @reineparadis.
WHAT'S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN?
With art: Just DO IT. One of the hardest parts can be to get over your nerves and expectations, and just put pen to paper and start creating. If it’s sh*t, just try, try again. Artists are always their own worst critics, and go through the ‘hate it till you love it’ phase with their art. But trust yourself and amazing things will happen.
With life: Just BE NICE to people, dammit. In this crazy world we live in, it’s amazing how far a little kindness and compassion will go. We need so much more of it.
I LOVE SOME OF YOUR BOLDER PIECES – LIKE THE F YOU THE MIDDLE FINGER, AND THE GALS WITH GUNS. WHAT DOES YOUR MOTHER (OR HARSHEST CRITIC) THINK OF THOSE?!
I like to think I’m a little bit of a badass, so I’ll venture from my more feminine pieces from time to time. My mom is one of my biggest fans but has often said that my artwork is weird, in the most loving way possible. She is so supportive and has her whole house furnished in artwork done by myself and my sisters.
NAME A FAVOURITE ARTIST? A FAVOURITE BOOK? A FAVOURITE MOVIE?
Musician: Meatloaf. I just love him, always will. I even have a tattoo with some of his lyrics. Other than him, I listen to a lot of chill folk and reggae music including Caamp, Junius Meyvant and Xavier Rudd.
Book: Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk. Its extremely weird, dark and funny. I’ve read it so many times. It touches on a lot of sensitive subjects like beauty standards, sexuality and drugs. Not for the faint of heart. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls is an absolute classic as well.
Movie: The Life Aquatic starring Bill Murray. It's heartbreaking and funny and beautiful. And Mean Girls, obviously.
WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS AND AMBITIONS FOR THE FUTURE?
One day I would love to swallow my fears and become a full-time artist. My sister Meagan and I have a dream of owning our own store/gallery with a beautifully curated selection of our work and others. It would include handmade and vintage goods (clothing, pottery, candles, everything else...) and be a space where we could go to work together on collaborative art.