As my artist's statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance. -- Calvin and Hobbes

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pinups from a pinup!

I thought I would step out of the spotlight a little this week, because I'm getting squint wrinkles, and I think I may need a new prescription for sunglasses.

This month, some others and I want to spread the word about our favorite online venue, Artfire, and the great artists within it's virtual walls! Writing about other artists is an easy thing to do, since I am continually in awe of the remarkable talent out there. So today, I'm writing about my very talented friend and prolific portrait artist, Christy DeKoning.

Christy is an Aussie, transplanted to Canada. I am sure I would be charmed by her accent, one I can only imagine as we are net buddies. (I don't know if She knows that Americans are particularly taken by an Australians.)

She has a way, you might have noticed, of capturing the personality of her subjects, and she has captivated quite an audience worldwide for this special ability. Let me tell you, I'm speechless! (ok, I must go on)

I've been following Christy for a couple of years now, since we met on eBay. Her popularity has been growing at a remarkable pace, as I've witnessed by visiting her various selling venues..

These pinups are her newest mini obsession. She does work in all sizes, but quite a bit of her work is in miniatures, and these dainty gals are ACEOs, which means they are 2.5"x3'5", small enough that you don't really have an excuse not to pounce on them; they'll fit anywhere! Try a really large matt..that's 'hyper' cool (pronounced 'ee-pair) to show off little bits o' bliss!

Try sending her your own photo; a cat, a kid, a car, whatever, and she will capture the sweetest essence in that, too. Custom portraits in watercolor is her specialty, but her brush is certainly only one weapon in the arsenal which compliments this amazing talent. She's a singer, dancer and musician, too! Some people get it all! (we have so much in common)

I wanted to interview Christy the old fashioned way; a quiet, inconspicuous lunch. So, I booked a table right in the middle of the room at New York's Famous Tavern on the Green, next to Dennis Hopper and Martin Scorsese. Christy couldn't make it, something about Paris. So, I took the web approach and that worked for her. Here's what she had to say about Art, life and Artfire.

R: Christy, it's so great to be able to get in your head! Thanks for letting me interview you. First off, what role does your art play in your life?
Christy: Art is a vital part of my personality - I wouldn't be "me" without it. I was always happiest as a child with a new pad of paper and fresh sharp pencils, and I still feel the same rush almost 40 years later when I walk into an art supply store and see all the goodies. Although I started drawing portraits at a very early age, I never considered it as a valid career choice until recently.

R: So, how did you get started then?
Christy: My art career started in the Performing Arts as a classical ballet dancer in Australia. When I moved to Canada I studied Makeup Artistry at the Blanche MacDonald School of Design in Vancouver. While working as a makeup artist I also played guitar & sang on the Vancouver music scene during the '90s. It wasn't until I moved to Ontario in 1999 that I finally concentrated my career in Fine Arts as a portrait artist. I've completed over 300 commissioned portraits worldwide since then and I learn something new with each new painting - that's what keeps it fresh and exciting for me.
R: Dang, you are good!

R: So, you live in Chatham, Ontario. What's that like?
Christy: It's in an area of Canada that is named after Kent County, England - we even have a Thames River. It's nestled between two Great Lakes - Erie and Huron - so the weather gets very hot and humid in the summer, but at least the beach isn't too far away.
R: You told me your favorite supplier of paint is Daniel Smith. You know I'm from Seattle, you're not trying to butter me up, are you?
Christy: Never! They make the most beautiful watercolor paint, and their prices are great!

R: You run the gamut in the talent field. Is there some artform you haven't tackled that you fancy?
Christy: Glassblowing. I love colored glass, and it is such fun to paint with watercolor, but I'd love to learn how to do it myself. My husband isn't quite ready to surrender his garage to me for a furnace, so this might be a long-term goal.
R: Well, a man has to have his cave, and you probably already own the rest of the house!

R: So, since this article is in support of the new bad ass selling venue, Artfire, tell me what are your goals with your ArtFire studio?
Christy: To help promote it and the ArtFire community so that it becomes THE place to shop for handmade. I've been promoting ArtFire to my regular clients by offering new art exclusively on ArtFire first for a few days before I list it on Etsy. That way they'll know that the "hot" shop is ArtFire.
R: That's a great way to promote the site. I do look there first to see your work, which always blows me away, btw. I guess it's working!

R: It's funny how the inspiration for our art comes to us. Where do you receive yours, in general?
Christy: Sunlight. Or to be more precise, shadows cast in the sunlight. I know that sounds funny but whenever I'm out in the sun, I get distracted by the play of light on objects, especially faces, and that inspires me to paint.
R: It really shows in your work! The shadows really bring your portraits to life!

Q: I just have to ask, since I'm also on Artfire, who are your favorite ArtFire artists?
Christy: Smellyrhinostudio, KarenFaulkner, AmyLilleyDesigns, IBreak4Glass, AndyFee and Aquariann.
R: Good answer!

R: What is the best piece of advice you can give other artists?
Christy: Practice daily; Market yourself wisely; Don't take rejection to heart
R: I can't imagine you get much rejection, but I'm glad you can shake it off. Good advice, since I usually hire a hitman.

R: If you won a thousand dollar craft shopping spree, what would you buy?
Christy: Earrings. LOADS of earrings! Art from my favorite sellers; a new tea cozy.
R: I hope your husband is reading this.

R: If you had the opportunity to do something you always wished you could do, what would it be?
Christy: I would be commissioned to paint Johnny Depp. That would pretty much complete me (to borrow from Children of a Lesser God)
R: Maybe Johnny will commission a painting! I'll get on the phone as soon as I'm done here.

R: Why do children want to be astronauts? How do think you could apply this to your career?
Christy: What on earth does that have to do with the price of bread? I don't know why children want to do half the things they do, but if I had to apply it to my career i guess it would be as a great big band aid.
R: Wow, that's really profound. I think what you're saying is cover up the boo boo and never look back!

R: What do you do with bad art?
Christy: Usually I turn it over and use it for testing watercolor glazes and mixes. Sometimes I'll use bits and pieces to make ACEO cards (I used a scrap of "cloud" to create my Canadian Landscapes ACEO series, for example). Occasionally I'll amuse myself by listing it for sale, because what I consider a dismal embarrassment is sometimes just what another art collector is looking for.

Q: What food or beverage makes you really creative?
Consumables don't really inspire me, although that said I can't paint without a cup of Orange Pekoe Tea within easy reach. Music is more important to me: right now I've been listening to a lot of Lily Allen and the creative juices have been flowing as fast as her foul language. I love it.
R: Isn't it amazing how music stimulates the creative flow?!

R: Does art have to make sense?
Christy: I really hope not. Certainly a lot of my work is realism-based, but the wonderful part about Art not having any sensibilities is that I can use any color I want to represent an idea. It's my bold use of color in portraits that appeals to my client base, so let's hope that I remain totally insensible.

Christy lives with her husband, two sons, two cats and a backyard full of squirrels (but no mice!).

Christy's art is in collections all over the world, and her ACEO work has been featured in ACEO Magazine. You can also view Christy's work at ArtFire, Flikr, Boundless Gallery and IndiePublic!

For more information on Christy, visit her blog at

Hope you enjoyed my visit with Christy!
Have a great day!


  1. Paris was beautiful - so sorry I missed our luncheon.

    My Aussie accent has all but left me now, however I'm told that if you get me plastered it emerges full throttle.

    Thank you for the lovely interview. I thoroughly enjoyed myself! We'll have to try that little restaurant out another time.

  2. Likewise, Christy! I enjoyed it too. Now, Bill will have something to look. He's the unofficial acting president of my fan club now, so he can demand more girly pictures!

  3. What a great article! I hope that you two goddesses will consider including me in your lunch plans - Paris, Norway, Milan, you name it; I'll find something to wear and be there!

  4. this interview was lots of fun!

    I'll be sure to check Christy out...

    love what I'm seeing here :o)

    ooh, I also want to see the Playing Card Deck and your 4 of Diamonds! how do we do that?

  5. The decks are on their way, I'm waiting impatiently for them. You will be able to purchase them on artfire and ebay. Each double deck will come with a signed print of the painting elephant! I'm very excited about it, but only 25 will be available for sale from me, so it'll be first come first served.
    Thanks for asking!

  6. Great interview! Thank you for introducing me to this fab artist. Love the pinups!

  7. I like the top woman in black best. This was a great idea for a post.

    PS You look really good in that photo for Handmade Georgia.


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