We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Krista Shiner. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Krista below.
Krista , thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Going back to the beginning – how did you come up with the idea in the first place?
Shiner Studios evolved from experience working with other artists creating commissioned decorative art such as murals and decorative finishes for home and business owners. In a sense I stumbled into this line of work as an artist while I was in college earning a BFA with a painting emphasis. At the time I was working for a stock photography agency in downtown Denver which felt fitting to work for a business in the creative sector. After they closed the Denver location I was exploring job opportunities and really wanted to find another business in the arts to work with. I loved many aspects of my job and the people I worked with. In this timeframe a friend who was a professional seamstress with her own small business suggested I start a side business creating murals and artwork as I was selling paintings. That is where the idea popped. I recalled a time in high school I was asked to paint a design on a piece of wood to use as a medallion around a light fixture and got curious. She told me to print some business cards and go to this holiday party to meet an artist she wanted to connect me with who did decorative art. I did. I then started working with her about a month later. It felt natural. The experience gained working in a creative business, what I learned and was interested in growing up, including having my own business at some point, all seemed to line up. Working with the initial artist Jessica blossomed. She introduced me to another artist who became another significant mentor. I met my dear friend Melinda at the stock photo agency who had her own business and also became a connection to other artists. From there I began working with multiple artists on projects while simultaneously acquiring some of my own. I look back in gratitude for what felt like divine intervention on all sides. I was working full time as an administrative assistant while attending college so it felt as if I was being redirected to be able to finish my studies with more balance; and as a whole to what I feel is my purpose. I look back and think all it took was to go a holiday party where I didn’t know anybody to meet someone who would inevitably change my life. I knew in my heart and soul I was on the right path in general. I think the emotion I had the most of was fear. Fear of not having resources was high on the list. Fear of the liability it carried being in high end homes. And fear that I had experience but not as much as others yet. I don’t know that I was afraid of failure or even made the time to entertain that thought. I felt I could succeed (in whatever that means really) as it took a lot of dedication to just get myself into college, to move across country at 18/19 years old from a small town. I’m a hard worker, passionate about the arts and educating myself in general, a relatively fast learner, and always had no issue in putting myself in places to meet new people. I enjoy meeting people of all walks of life. Sure there have been many times of questioning myself, feeling lost, exhausted, and every emotion there is. Is this what I “should” be doing or want to do? With the support of my mentors and others I felt I was checking off the boxes to be able to have a small business in the arts. I remember saying to myself “if this person can do it so can I”.
When I branched out on my own after nearly 6 years working with several other artists and formed Diseño (Spanish for design), I felt I wanted to create a niche that integrated more of the materials I enjoyed working with years prior. And to utilize my proficiency and education in Spanish to connect more with the Hispanic population in the trades I had been working with. Here I was able to integrate art with my minor in Spanish I had been working toward since I was 9. It felt great to be able to help bring people together on projects and just practice languages with each other. I then changed the name of my company to Shiner Studios LLC for a few reasons. It didn’t mean I couldn’t still be a voice for others when needed though. By having studio plural, I felt it allowed room for the fine and decorative arts to grow and evolve. I knew I wanted to be taken seriously too; especially as a woman on construction projects of which the decorative arts are a part of.
At that time the idea of a creative service oriented company related more to the types of services I would offer and or specialize in. 15 years ago murals were not as prolific as they are now. Street art was not as common place. The Fine Art World as a whole was different. Social media wasn’t huge. I asked myself a lot of questions. What are my specialties that set me apart from other artists in this industry and as a whole? What types of materials would I be promoting I work with? How could I blend and balance the worlds of creating artwork / paintings while also creating decorative art? They fuel each other. That is where concrete came into the picture as it has similar properties to clay and plasters I had experience working with. Clay was initially my emphasis in college and started working with it in high school. The interest in concrete and its many formulations combined my love of the earth, science, and sculpture. Overall it allowed me to create functional art in various capacities while also incorporating my love of painting. I struggled to balance these different yet similar worlds for years. Time? What time? Overall it allowed me to continuously create while earning a living. I know these acquired skill sets are part of the larger picture. If anything I have built a foundation (no pun intended) of knowledge. However where you place your attention is what grows. And it seemed to be getting further away from creating art pieces as so much of my time and energy was building a business and learning so much in all aspects along the way.
Fast forward and backward to when I was in business for less than two years when the recession in 2008 started. Decorative concrete allowed me to pivot to sustain myself. I used my creativity and what experience I had at that time to develop services that filled what people were needing then; concrete countertops, floors, color consults, and creative solutions to home renovations for budget conscious clients. A merging of multiple industries where custom specialty finishes became a niche for me. Although I was still creating artwork it was a rough time for artists worldwide and many other types of companies too. I didn’t have the financial resources, like so many others, to invest in the company I had been building and envisioning. I thought I had to do something else to then come back to creating art in order to survive. Survival mode. I know others can relate. I have to say how deeply grateful I am to every client and business associate I have met over the years. Their support and encouragement has been invaluable. You can’t force anything. In this go go go culture that I’ve been unraveling to not be a part of is the what works best for me is not what works for others and vice versa. I’m creating my own path. What I’ve learned is sometimes the best action is taking no action, taking a break. Dancing it out.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
The arts as a whole have been a fundamental part of my life, education, and passion since I was a little human. I was fortunate to grow up in a school system that valued the arts as an integral part of learning and academics. I experimented with many forms of art growing up including music, poetry, clay, dance, and more. Alongside the arts has been a love and reverence of the earth, the biological sciences, the healing arts including natural and ancient medicine, metaphysics, and language. The forests, rivers, lakes, and animals where I grew up definitely influenced my way of being with a fondness for natural objects, fossils, and stones of all kinds. I explored career options in most of them before setting my major in Fine Art with a painting emphasis and a minor in Spanish.
Working as a multidisciplinary artist and creative professional allows me to integrate all of it: the arts, sciences, language, and more- what lights me up. I know I’m not the only one that feels the arts are a universal language; we can connect across all cultures and timelines. Collectively I see a resurgence, especially the last 10 years, of reconnecting to our foundations as human beings- that we are nature, not separate and the medicinal benefits of this. This has been an important part of my core beliefs throughout my life. Being conscious of my impact on the natural environment and protecting my fellow earthlings in whatever way I can. The term of “Up Cycling” has been a part of my life since I can remember. In college I utilized what materials I had access to. This awareness and these practices are integrated into my artwork of all kinds and overall business practices. I firmly believe nothing should be created if it causes harm to any being on this planet including ourselves. It’s a struggle we all face in one form or another. With this is mind I emphasize the utilization of earth bound and earth friendly materials of all kinds alongside conscious practices on projects to reduce, reuse, recycle, and restore.
I feel I want potential clients, collaborators, and such to know all of the above and the intention of my work as it is a direct extension of who I am as a person. From there one can decide if they want to work with me. For over 10 years “The Art Of Healing With Art” has been the core principle of what I provide for clients even if the intention of the project wasn’t there to start. As a means to simplify operations for clients and I between product and service I felt the service aspect needed clarity and “Artistic Services For the Soul” evolved as the best description to me for what I am most in alignment with that encompasses all that I do and want to do from here on out. The clients with intentional requests to promote transformation and healing in what they were working through were amazing. The energetic shifts that took place in their home and themselves were palpable. Sharing this special time with them was an honor to be a part of. They provided opportunities for contrast and experience to this awareness of what I feel my calling / purpose is in this life. I almost don’t like saying that because I don’t want it to sound egotistical.
I believe that surrounding ourselves with beauty allows for healing in all capacities. Higher forms of healing include a very broad spectrum of ways to balance the body, inspire the emotions, or clarify the mind- all of which “heal” various states of imbalance. We are healed in some aspect as it is scientifically proven that are stress levels lower just by being in a forest, being in nature in general as we are nature; even having plant life around you at home, or just looking at a piece of art. All lead to health benefits including better sleep, better decision making, and more. It is in this space where I am integrating multiple modalities of art and design alongside related energy flow principles to create transcendental spaces in harmony with the natural environment. I would love to work with clients who feel called to harmonize their space with artwork, murals, or the whole space who feel connected to this depth of work. I preferably would like to spend more time in the studio moving forward creating more artwork balanced with purposeful artistic service work. I enjoy working collaboratively with others such as design build firms, designers, architects, and other artists of various disciplines. The key component here is we have to see and hear each other and respect the needs of the project at hand.
As a highly sensitive and sensory person I can feel the energies of people and environments. With this I am sensitive to the needs of clients. I have been told over the years and recently that I am very easy to talk to, they feel comfortable with me, I know somehow what they want, and they don’t feel pressured. Which I feel is a huge compliment. I want people to feel seen and heard, including myself, as I need the same in order to create and be of best service. No pressure. It has been a process learning to trust what I feel energetically and to consciously experiment with this in intuitive artistic creation both for client specific projects and creating my own artwork. This connection allows me to feel what is and isn’t flowing in the space while remaining respectful of what they feel calls to them and their own personal flair and interests. Within this deep empathy is encouraging them to trust themselves in their own creative capabilities and decision making process. I love a good collaboration, sparks of magic. Even if someone needs a person to be a sounding board of their own visions, help navigate the options with my experience working hands on with so many types of materials. And to help alleviate any overwhelm they may have in general. How can I be of best service in this lifetime? I am trusting this more and more through numerous experiences professionally and personally over my lifetime. This is where the intersection of art, design, and the natural world encompass my life long work wholly. Eventually I will be solely creating artwork and special sacred spaces for people all over the world; that is my dream, a vision. This includes recruiting others for their unique work in many capacities. As this unfolds my hope and intention is that whatever I create or how small it may be that I can invoke change in someones’ life for the better.
With a background of 20 years working as a multidisciplinary artist and creative professional I have gained immeasurable experience within intertwining industries locally and nationally. I understand the complexities of various stages of renovation and the requirements needed for a safe work environment. As noted I am working towards creating more artwork for sale, creating more murals / art installations. Some of my repeat clients have expressed to me (and just recently) they didn’t even know I did that. Soo….. I’ve been sabotaging myself. Funny not funny. To me artistic services includes creating a commissioned painting and this can be incorporated into what I currently specialize in as well. Fireplace surrounds have become a specialty (not the functionality of interior components), shower walls, walls, ceilings, and architectural elements both interior and exterior. The focus of eco conscious materials and practices are coupled with ancient timeless finishes. I can get really artistic if the client desires and is open to it without compromising the overall structural integrity.
I am proud of myself for the perseverance I have had through set-backs, failures, and challenges while navigating through my own healing of traumas to be able to step into spaces I have been dreaming of for too many years. As many times as I have dipped out of the arts I have been redirected back every single time. My path doesn’t have to look like every other artist. I trust the divine timing unfolding over my career and what it will take at this juncture to take it all to the next level that is in alignment with my heart and soul.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on NFTs. (Note: this is for education/entertainment purposes only, readers should not construe this as advice
I selected this question as I’ve sat with it for a few times to feel out how I feel about it as a whole and if I would consider exploring it in my own work. I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t know enough about it. Technological art of all kinds has not been my focus however I do love the overall abilities and integration with other art forms. My focus is more earth centric so I have a bit a nudge in the opposite direction. I may circle back to this to learn more to make a better informed decision on how I view them as a whole. At this time there is already too much to dive into and out of to make the time to do so.
Is there a particular goal or mission driving your creative journey?
Most definitely. I feel that all of the experience I have gained thus far has been preparing me for the next steps on this mission. It has always been my intention to bring beauty to the world to evoke healing while honoring the natural world as it is an integral part of medicine itself. Whether that be a painting, sculpture, or designing a space as a whole to embody those principles. This integration of the fine, decorative, and healing arts is what I have categorized as “Artistic Services For The Soul”; an extension or sister of “The Art of Healing with Art” which has been my mission statement for over 10 years. Homes are sentient sanctuaries where we recharge our energy. I personally feel it’s important that people have one safe space to care for themselves and others; whether that is one own’s home or communal. This to me naturally coincides with advocating respect for the earth and its inhabitants on all levels. In whatever form that evolves to be is the core of where my passions intersect. This includes supporting organizations that truly stand for the protection of the earth and all beings. At this point in my creative journey I have been fine tuning the vision and mission I have been working toward. Prior to Covid and isolation requirements I had already been removing services that are not in alignment with what I am creating. The experiences that evolved during the pandemic have brought me closer to what I feel is true for me. It takes stepping back to assess what truly feels good and from there clearing to make space for the new. It’s an evolution to simplify my offerings and say no to things I have outgrown or find they are best referred to others as their own specialty.
Donating artwork is one way I love supporting my mission. I can support causes I am passionate about directly and indirectly. Of course creating more art to fulfill this is needed too. In the past I have donated paintings to auctions for a variety of causes. I’m reminded that every bit counts. These include the World Wide Fistula Fund supporting women in Africa, the Cancer League of Colorado to support scientists in cancer research, volunteering with the Downtown Denver Partnership’s program “Keys to the City” where I painted a piano for people to play on the 16th Street Mall in support of the importance of music and its accessibility to everyone. I’ve also donated art for benefit auctions to support individuals with medical expenses, painting a bike for The Bicycle Relief fund with Denver Mattress Company, and others. I feel even more connected to my calling when I’m able to support causes important to me.
Creating artwork and designing sacred spaces to facilitate healing that ultimately supports a new way of being, living and working is my mission. A reconnection with nature, thus ourselves.
I’m excited to see what possibilities and people will present themselves. And even more excited to create more art. Sending love, light, and magic your way.
- Website: http://www.shinerstudios.com
- Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/shinerstudios
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shinerstudios
- Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/kristashiner
- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/shinerstudios
- Other: www.kristashiner.com Artwork as product not service.
Photographs by Krista Shiner and Sabrina Kuratomi