What do you get when you combine original art designs by local artists with a fabulous EVOCATEUR cuff bracelet and wrap it all up in a two-day gallery event? Magic, if you ask us. But also a superb event we had the pleasure of hosting and which we appropriately named Canvas to Cuff. For this event, local student and professional artists were called to submit one design to be voted for by the good people of Boulder. Two artists would be chosen as the final winners and have their art produced onto an EVOCATEUR cuff, with a percentage of the proceeds from every sale going back to the artists. Then, on April 20th and 21st, 2017 our store was filled with even more beauty as we featured artists’ designs during two gallery nights that exposed not only the talent in our community, but also the passion this town has for art and supporting local talent. Over 50 submissions were entered between both student and professional artists and 6,100(!) community votes were cast, resulting in thirteen students and ten professional artists being chosen as finalists. In the end, however, only two could take the prize: student artists Remi Crist & professional artist Khiri Lee. We sat down with them recently to discuss their experience and learn a little more about the inspiration behind their work.
What’s your background?
Khiri Lee: A lot of my inspiration and support for pursuing the arts comes from the years and years of work I have done with the non-profit Turning the Wheel Productions. TTW brings hundreds of ways to express creatively to communities all across the USA. I started working with them in a theatre improv workshop in high school and stayed involved through college while studying art history. Through teaching kids of all different abilities and backgrounds art, dance, theatre, poetry, costume making, set design, and more I learned to trust my own artistic ability as well.
Remi Crist: I got into art really young, but it really kicked off in high school when I became president of the art society and got an internship at an art gallery in Pennsylvania called LSJ Studios. There I had the chance to start working with artists and event got to hold my own art show this past October 2016. Currently I’m studying art in Naropa’s visual arts program.
Why do you paint/ do art?
Khiri Lee: I paint and make art because it fills me with joy. I love the process of making art and find that when I’m deeply involved in the creation of something I feel very alive. I’m not worrying about the big and little things that plague our modern day to day lives. I’m present and happy.
I’ve spent a lot of time dabbling in various projects and disciplines and making art definitely fills me with the most passion and verve for life. The world can be a pretty drab dark place and when I am creating something filled with color and movement and beauty I feel like this is my small part to play in making the world a more wonderful place to live and be. Art inspires emotion and story and creates connections, and the more we connect the more we can collectively grow.
Remi Crist: I got into art when I was really young, about 6-7 years old with painting and drawing, etc. But now that I’m older I do art as more of a way to express myself without words. I think (art) is a great method of non-verbal communication.
What was your inspiration for the piece you submitted?
Khiri Lee: I recently collaborated on a project called “The Good Box” with Turning the Wheel. The project was focused on reclaiming the word good as a positive meditation word and resulted in the creation of 30 affirmation cards all with a phrase about the innate goodness in all of us. My art is featured on the cards, and I played an important hand in the final design. After the completion of the deck of cards I felt activated to create more paintings inspired by the goodness all around us. The “Celestial Beings” Series grew organically from this starting point. The full series is currently on view at Fresh Thymes Eatery on 30th Street in Boulder.
Remi Crist: I was inspired by Colorado- the piece I submitted was actually made right as I was moving to Boulder. My Grandmother also served as inspiration because she paints Colorado landscapes and was inspired by the mountain ridges, fields, and flat lands prevalent here. I was also inspired by adventure in general and the desire to want to explore. The piece I submitted was originally made for my art show last October, it was part of the 16 pieces I displayed in my show.
What did you enjoy most about the Canvas to Cuff contest?
Khiri Lee: Winning was pretty thrilling! But I think the part I enjoyed the most was how much my community showed up to support me and my art. I was completely blown away by the positive feedback. Everyone I talked to about the contest was excited and happy to cast a vote and share the event with their friends. I couldn’t have succeeded without the support from my network.
Remi Crist: The fact that there weren’t many requirements to participate in the contest other than being a student or professional artist, plus it was also a great way to engage the community and combine two different mediums (jewelry and painting). I also loved mingling with the other local artists and community members at the gallery events, especially since I’m fairly new to Boulder!
Remi, you got 2,300 votes! How were you able to get so many?
Remi Crist: Well, I work at the business center at Naropa so I was able to hand out some flyers on campus and also on social media. I also forwarded the flyers to the owner at the SLF studio in Pennsylvania, who then sent it out to clients and parents of artists, who then kept passing it along… it really was a snowball effect! A chain reaction that I’m really grateful for.
**Both beautiful pieces of art are now available on an EVOCATEUR cuff and in our store for admiring and purchase!**