Christa StJean is a very talented artist, illustrator, digital painter, graphic designer and cook. She describes herself as a restless creative soul. And she's an expert at talking about candy.
ME: Can you tell the readers something about your background. What inspired you to be an artist.
CHRISTA: Well, my dad was the one who introduced me to art when I was a kid, but he was not really the one who inspired me the most. One of his friends and colleague, Larz Friberg, was my biggest inspiration and also the one who helped me the most :) He taught me the basics in oil painting, he gave me some insight into other techniques as well, like watercolour and lithography. And Larz was also the one who gave me a bit of information about the business world that surrounds art and art galleries. So he was very valuable source to me.
But me and my sister probably used more paper and Crayons than any other kids I knew when we grew up. Mom was very good at drawing, so I guess you could say it was contagious :p However, the creative streak comes mainly from my dad's side I think.
ME: Do you prefer digital painting or traditional art on paper or canvas.
CHRISTA: They are very different ways of creating and only a few years ago I would have said canvas. Or at least the traditional way of doing art. But the more I do digital art, the more confused I get in a way. So I have to say that I prefer all of them for different reasons. Digital art is a lot easier since it allows you to make mistake and correct it without any hassle. Digital art is very forgiving in that way. Watercolour on paper is darn difficult in it's own way since you have to work fast before it's drying, and it doesn't allow any big mistakes at all. Oil on canvas doesn't have the undo button that Photoshop got, but it's still easier to use than watercolour. I love oil paint because of the smell and texture :D
So I guess I can't really answer that.
ME: Which of your paintings are you most proud of.
CHRISTA: Of the digital paintings I've done it's probably the first one of "Merlin". It took some time to do, but I was very happy the way the hair turned out and that I managed to get his clothing done pretty good without actually paint the chain-mail he was wearing in the reference photo.
ME: What is the longest and shortest time it has taken you to complete a painting and which paintings are they.
CHRISTA: Hm...it's not easy to say which painting took the longest to complete...but the one I made of the 10th Doctor Who in black and white was probably the painting that took least time to put together. I painted that during an afternoon. Can be found here: http://christastjean.co.uk/?p=4860
Most of the time it's just a matter of hours between most painting I've done, with the exception of that Doctor Who painting.
ME: What started your love for all things steampunk.
CHRISTA: I can't remember when I saw it the first time, but I can tell you how I slipped into the making of it. For a long time I've had some pocket watches in my jewellery box and neither of them worked any more. My dad and granddad left them behind and I've kept them out of sentimental value. However, I got tired of moving them around, but I didn't want to sell them. So I figured I could redo them into something I could use. And that's how it started.
ME: What artists have influenced you and why.
CHRISTA: As I said above, Larz Friberg was one big influence back when I was younger. He was a landscape artist, painting a lot of wild animals and that sort of thing. But since then I've gone through a lot of "stages" with my art and sometimes I've changed my style because I've been influenced to do so, while other times it changed because I had to. Recently I went from painting portraits that looked pretty much like the reference I used for them, to something more expressive and colourful. But also a bit surreal. I guess the colourful bit is influence from Van Gogh and his bright happy paintings :) The surreal bit was picked up from within my own head, and that's usually the way it is. It's one part influence from someone else and one part me :) As for surrealist artists. I'm a sucker for anything by Salvador Dali. His paintings were amazingly weird and imaginative.
ME: I've often wondered this, (heh) what gives you more satisfaction painting or cooking.
CHRISTA: Hmm....I can do both, you know...at the same time...so I don't really have to pick and choose. Cooking is something I enjoy because it's relaxing to chop onion and slice carrots for example. And since I came here to England I've had to do a lot of cooking from scratch if I wanted to make any dishes that are traditional in Sweden, so it's a challenge too sometimes.
I don't express as much with the cooking as I do with my painting, so the painting gives me an outlet that way.
Do I have to choose? LOL
ME: Yes, young lady, you were suppose to choose. :-D
ME: If you had to be a strawberry pie or some custard which would you choose.
CHRISTA: I would probably be a strawberry pie :p
ME: What delicious yummies do you have in your cupboard.
CHRISTA: Right now my cupboards are actually quite empty...but I usually have custard, cocoa, icing sugar, eggs, butter...all those necessary things for the sake of making a cake or somemuffins when I feel like it :p The problem is that no goodies last very long here so I usually can't stack those...heh. I don't have a freezer right now, but if I did I would always have ice cream at home. No question about that.
ME: You have some great looking recipes in your swedish kitchen, do you often surf other food blogs.
CHRISTA: I've got a few favourite food blogs that I follow, both of them being Swedish actually. And I'm a member of a Swedish recipe community for the sake of keeping my recipe treasures fresh :D It's not often I surf food blogs without a reason. That usually happens if I'm looking for a certain recipe that can't be found anywhere else.
Thank you for the interview, Christa. To check out Christa's art, food and rants go here: http://christastjean.co.uk/