Welcome to this exclusive interview with the talented artist Kristen Eisenbraun. Hailing from the picturesque town of Chimney Rock, North Carolina, Kristen Eisenbraun’s life is intertwined with the beauty of wooded mountains and flowing waters. Her artistic journey has been one of perseverance and passion, as she sought solace in art from an early age. Embracing her unique artistic vision, Kristen Eisenbraun has become a painter with a purpose.
Throughout her life, Kristen Eisenbraun’s artistic flame burned brightly despite the challenges posed by severe dyslexia. School struggles and fleeting jobs did not deter her, as she held onto her artistic passion, which she believes to be the very essence of her being.
Describing her artistic personality in one word, Kristen Eisenbraun chooses “happiness.” Amidst the popularity of darker themes and reflections on the world’s struggles, she finds joy and beauty all around her.
With a heart full of positivity, she seeks to share her inner light through her captivating creations. Through her paintings, Kristen Eisenbraun invites you to celebrate the beauty of life, find solace in nature, and embrace the power of regeneration and transformation.
Hi Kristen, please introduce yourself to our readers?
I am a painter living in Chimney Rock, North Carolina, surrounded by wooded mountains and running water. I feed my soul with the elements of nature, and I bring that love and positive energy back to the easel. I am a rambler and have lived all over the US, from New York City to off-the-grid cabins. I have tried my hand at many different trades but always stayed true to my art; it is the one thing that will always define my purpose in life.
Due to severe dyslexia, there have been many challenges to overcome. I flunked out of school and lost the most menial jobs after just a few days because of it. But I believe this unique quality provides me with an artistic vision that is truly one-of-a-kind.
What was your first introduction to art?
Art has been there for me for as long as I can remember. Looking back on my life, there isn’t a period of time where I was without a means to create. From my first memories with crayons and markers to the pivotal day when a neighbour gave me a set of his old oil paints, when I was 15, it was love at first brushstroke! Since then, oil paint has been my primary medium.
I feed my soul with the elements of nature and I bring that love and positive energy back to the easel.
How would you describe your artistic personality?
If I were to sum up my artistic personality in one word, it would be happiness. I feel like this outlook is out of fashion right now; it’s wonderful that people have embraced expressing their darker side and addressing the struggles of today’s world, and I love that kind of art. But my life is full of joy and beauty. I see beautiful faces all around me, and I listen to the birds sing in the trees when I paint. I want to bring my inner light to the canvas and share my belief in goodness.
What does your typical day look like?
I start the day by walking up the mountain behind my house. Exercise and fresh air give me a vigorous outlook on the day ahead. After that, it’s straight into the studio. If I have a painting on the easel (which I usually do), I pick up my brushes and work the rest of the day. If I have finished a painting recently, I will gather ideas and any reference material to start sketching out and designing my next work. I am currently learning to play the harp, so I often take short breaks to practice music.
How does nature inspire you?
Nature is the beginning and end of everything. In my paintings, I want to show how our lives are intertwined with the natural world. I want to show the birth of spring and humankind growing and blossoming. I also want to show the decay of fall and an acceptance of everything returning to the soil to create new life.
Where have you travelled and what other destinations would you like to visit?
Travelling is so important to my work. Every new place I visit fills me with inspiration and fresh ideas. I have camped in the southwest deserts and hiked the mountains up north in the US. My first artist residency was in New Zealand. Interacting with other creatives and being surrounded by such phenomenal landscapes was amazing. Last year I was in Nepal hiking the Annapurna circuit. Crossing the Thorang La pass was a life-changing moment. All the worry and chaos of life was gone, and all that mattered was that moment and making it over the next ridge through the snow and cold.
I plan on visiting a new part of the world every year. I love meeting artists from other places and absorbing new cultures.
You created an instrument series by painting scenes on musical instruments. What prompted this series and how is music significant to your artistry?
When I first started dating my husband, a phenomenal singer-songwriter, we would spend hours creating together; he’d play guitar while I would paint or draw. These special hours of creativity inspired me to bring music and art together. I had an old beaten-up guitar lying around, and one day I sanded it down and started painting. The unique shapes of different instruments add an exciting extra element to painting, and repurposing unwanted but still beautiful musical instruments felt good to me. The series is still in progress. I have big dreams of creating a large enough collection of painted instruments to do a travelling show with them.
Who are some of your biggest artistic inspirations?
I go through phases of being obsessed with different artists. Some of the contemporary artists that I really admire are: Maria Kreyn, Amaya Gurpidey, Odd Nerdrum, Ricardo Fernandez and Adam Burke. For the old masters, I would have to say my go-to references are: Herbert James Draper, Bouguereau, Sargent and the Pre-Raphaelites, as well as many others.
I want to show in my paintings the way our lives are intertwined with the natural world. I want to show the birth of spring and humankind growing and blossoming.
Can you describe the story behind your work, “Transformation”?
I love thinking about what kind of animal I would come back as if I were to be reincarnated and it’s so interesting hearing what other people believe they would become. With “Transformation” I was exploring the idea of reincarnation. I was also thinking about how everyone has a spirit animal and sometimes we have to let our human cover slip away so our animal side can take over.
What are your favourite mediums? And is there anything you would like to experiment with?
Hands down my favourite medium is oil paint, but I also love working with charcoals. I have dabbled with sculpture a little bit and I would really like to explore that avenue more.
Your painting, ‘Regeneration’ is striking. What kind of regeneration inspired this work?
I was thinking of a woman who has lived a very challenging life and was near breaking. She finds herself alone in the desert where she discovers her true core. She surrenders herself to the earth and is absorbed, and then the soil and stones give birth to a new and enlightened soul.
How do you think we can achieve regeneration within ourselves?
We all have the ability for regeneration. I think it is very much like the painting; stripping away all of the baggage we carry and surrendering ourselves to the greatness of Mother Earth. We must allow her to guide us to our better selves and help us discover what we are truly capable of.
Do you use reference material in your work or draw entirely from imagination?
I do use reference material. I take lots of pictures from my travels and save them to use as inspiration in my painting. Sometimes there are 20 – 50 photos to refer to for one painting. I never interpret the photos too literally; I always change them a bit to suit my needs and give them an extra element of magic.
Art has been there for me for as long as I can remember. Looking back on my life, there isn’t a period of time where I was without a means to create.
Describe your studio space.
The studio I work out of is on the side of a hill with trees all around it. I can step out of my studio door onto a large deck and hear the river cascading down in the ravine. The inside of my studio is small and not at all glamorous; walls lined with paintings, a little work counter with a sink, and my easel. I like to light candles and listen to the birds outside.
What are your goals for the rest of the year?
I would like to create a body of work that has a really tight and inter-flowing subject and style. Sometimes I find myself so overflowing with ideas that staying focused on one path is hard. I would also like to create more instrument paintings for that ongoing series.