featured artist :: a cagey bee

from the archives: 04.01.10

name: Kris G. Brownlee
company: a cagey bee
links: blog | etsy

What do you make?
I’m a painter inspired by people, so I like to create character portraits with a storybook feel. I tend to paint girls and cute companion critters, though some of my paintings have a bit of a darker edge to them. I also really enjoy making tiny art pendants. Not everyone can afford an original painting, of course, so this is a fun alternative to a print. Plus I really love the idea of my characters being taken out and about in the real world.

What or who inspires you?
Oh goodness…so many things! I love to people watch. Vancouver is great city for that. I walk my dogs every day and literally *every* day I see someone who would make a great painting.

I’m also really inspired by my fellow artists. It’s amazing to see so many people, especially women, representing themselves via the web and doing what they love. Whether it’s painting or sewing or making jewelry, it’s fantastic to be part of this shift towards more personal, handmade businesses.

How did you get started?
I’ve always been creative and enjoyed creating images in one way or another – photography, graphic design etc. But it never occurred to me that becoming a full time artist was even an option until a few years ago. I thought you had to live in a loft in NYC and have a trust fund to have any chance of making a living as an artist; it just wasn’t on the menu for a girl like me. It wasn’t until I started seeing self-represented artists selling their own work via eBay and Etsy that I allowed myself to consider it. I began taking classes at Emily Carr and never looked back. As cheesy as it sounds, it felt like I had finally stepped into who I was supposed to be. Now I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
I’m very impatient so I like to use acrylic paint. It dries quickly, so I can add lots of layers & go over a piece again & again. With oils, you have to let it dry in between and I just don’t have the patience for that! I’ve been painting on wood a lot lately too which has been fun. When I make prints, I love seeing the texture of the wood show up in the detail.

Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
I do think they’re different, but the crafters have definitely upped their game in recent years. I think traditionally art would be something that had a statement or point of view whereas craft was more about function. I think that gap is closing as crafters become more interested in expressing themselves and experimenting rather than doing it “right”. I consider myself both an artist and a crafter. I love to paint, but I really want my work to be accessible to everyone; I’m thrilled to see my girls on magnets or pendants, and not just hung on the wall.

Leave a Reply