We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Christy Kinard a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Christy, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Do you think your parents have had a meaningful impact on you and your journey?In the magic of my childhood, the seeds of creativity were sown, and I knew from an early age that my destiny lay in the world of arts. My parents, recognizing this spark within me, nourished it with love and opportunities. Piano, dance, and art classes became my haven, and I reveled in the joy of creating.
At the kitchen table, I molded wonders from the homemade play dough my mother carefully prepared. The vibrant colors of tie-dye t-shirts and mesmerizing spin art came to life under my curious hands. I even turned my lemonade stand into an artistic endeavor, experimenting with food coloring to offer unique shades to my neighborhood customers.
One vivid memory stands out – the day of a Miss American pageant, I couldn’t help but dance along, my heart overflowing with creative energy. My mother, beaming with pride, saw the fire in my eyes and whispered, “You are so creative, my dear. You can be anything you set your mind to if you work hard enough.” Her words became the driving force behind my ambitions, echoed throughout my childhood by my supportive parents, who ensured I truly believed in my limitless potential.
Success stories often trace back to one’s formative years, where encouragement and love serve as the cornerstone for greatness. My parents gifted me with the unwavering belief in my abilities, instilling the conviction that I could achieve anything I set my heart on. Though there were moments of rebellion and self-doubt, the foundation they laid remained steadfast, guiding me back to the truth.
Today, I am eternally grateful for the precious gift bestowed upon me – the belief that I could soar to heights beyond my imagination. Such unwavering support becomes the springboard for a captivating and creative journey. Every brushstroke, every dance move, every melodious note, I carry their love in my heart as I embrace the endless possibilities that unfold before me. Their legacy lives on in the art I create, the dreams I chase, and the passion that fuels my life’s purpose.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
In the enchanting tapestry of my life, creativity has always woven its colorful threads. From the tender age when imagination knew no bounds, I discovered my calling as an artist, and my heart danced with joy. Elementary school days whispered to me the dreams of becoming a professional artist, and by the time I turned thirteen, I had already delved deep into the world of serious painting. The art room of my high school became my sanctuary, and with each brushstroke, I brought life to my visions.
In the realm of artistic exploration, my path took a pivotal turn during my senior year when serendipity gifted me a Governor’s honor award, opening doors to the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). However, my heart gravitated toward Atlanta, and my sophomore year saw me in the halls of Atlanta College of Art, which eventually became a part of SCAD. College, however, tugged at my restless spirit, as I yearned to find my niche in the thriving art world outside those walls. A fire blazed within me, fueling my desire to be recognized and acknowledged as an established artist. The eight-hour drawing classes that once held promise of growth now seemed mere distractions. My rebellious teenage spirit may have caused a ruckus, but my unwavering determination carved a path towards my passion.
So, in my sophomore year, I embarked on an artistic journey that took me across the Southeast. Brimming with dreams and armed with canvases, I sought galleries to represent my work, eager to see my visions transcend from easel to exhibition. The Funky Chicken Art Project outside Atlanta bestowed me with the first brushstroke of success when ten of my paintings adorned the walls of IBM. My journey had taken flight at the tender age of eighteen, and I stood proud, my resume bearing the imprints of a rising artist.
Together with my sister Kim Schuessler, I found solace in a rented studio off Howell Mill road in Atlanta. In those sacred walls, creativity ran wild, and our bond as sisters and artists grew stronger. Days turned into nights, and nights into days, as we indulged in a whirlwind of artistry. My college studies sometimes took a backseat as I feverishly painted, trying to unlock the secret formula of painting that eluded others. My brush became a conduit for emotions, colors cascading into intricate patterns, as I pushed the boundaries of artistic expression. Driven by a desire to create something unique, something that would breathe life into the canvas, I lost myself in the enchanting world of art.
As I painted my way through my twenties, life revealed its next chapter. Traveling brought me to Venice, Italy, a city adorned with artistic splendor. Here, amidst the grandeur of the old world, I met Jon Davenport, the love of my life. Fate had conspired to bring us together, and we began writing a new chapter of our lives entwined in each other’s love and shared dreams. London beckoned with its artistic heritage, and I found myself amidst fellow artists in rented studios, painting to my hearts’ content. Europe became our muse, and we embarked on a journey of artistic discovery, absorbing the essence of its vibrant culture.
It was in the heart of London where mixed media art captivated my imagination. A small paper store near Covent Garden became my treasure trove, offering exquisite papers that found their way into my works, lending depth and character to each piece. I layered these artistic gems into my paintings, creating a mesmerizing visual feast that captured the essence of the places I visited and the emotions I felt. Across continents, my art reached new heights, as I shipped my paintings back home to be admired and cherished.
With Jon by my side, my world expanded, and love permeated my art. Our paths converged, and in 2004, we took our vows, beginning a journey of love and creativity. Together, we started a family, and life embraced us with the warm embrace of joy. Atlanta became our creative cocoon, where art blossomed and dreams flourished. My art adorned walls across galleries in Atlanta and Charlotte, leaving an indelible mark on the vibrant art scene of these cities. Private collections cherished my paintings, while prestigious institutions recognized the essence of my work.
But life had more in store for us, and after twenty-three years of calling Atlanta home, we set our sights on a new horizon. Old Village, Mount Pleasant, welcomed us with open arms, and we found solace by the calming waters of the Atlantic Ocean. As we settled into our new haven, The Red Piano Art Gallery in Bluffton, a haven for art enthusiasts, opened its doors to embrace my art. The gallery became a sanctuary, a spiritual home where my creations found their rightful place, resonating with the hearts of art enthusiasts.
The gentle sway of live oaks, kids playing on the streets, and neighbors waving warmly – it was as if a Norman Rockwell painting came alive as we embraced life in the Old Village. The love and support from our new community touched our souls, creating a heartwarming chapter.
Can you tell us about a time you’ve had to pivot?In the face of adversity, I learned that resilience and determination can lead to miraculous recoveries. A harrowing journey began after giving birth to twin boys and enduring a life-threatening surgery. Amidst uncertainty, I embarked on a relentless quest for answers, visiting numerous specialists and seeking treatments that often fell short. Lupus became a probable diagnosis, and I even sought help overseas, hoping for relief.
The struggle was immense, with mounting hospital bills and financial strain. Yet, I clung to my passion for art, finding solace in painting when my health allowed. Balancing work, rest, and countless doctor’s visits, I discovered the strength within to keep moving forward. Saying “no” and admitting vulnerability proved challenging, but I had to prioritize my well-being.
Throughout this arduous journey, my unwavering partner, Jon, stood by my side, supporting me every step of the way. We made the life-changing decision to move to Charleston, where a supportive doctor and a nurturing environment awaited. Slowly but surely, the tide turned, and I began to heal.
Looking back, I’m awestruck by the resilience we demonstrated during those trying years. My artwork became a lifeline, and through it, I found hope and purpose. Today, I stand stronger, forever grateful for the love that saved me and the boundless creativity that kept me moving forward.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?Stepping into my studio, where colors come alive on the canvas, is sheer bliss—the ultimate reward of being an artist. But my passion goes beyond creating; I’m an art enthusiast at heart. From the tender age of 18, I began building a vast collection of artworks, supporting fellow artists and reveling in their talents.
As my art career took flight, so did my mission to give back to the community. Year after year, for nearly three decades, I’ve dedicated myself to donating artwork to charitable causes—making a difference, one brushstroke at a time. The joy of helping others through my creative endeavors eclipses any personal achievement—an immensely fulfilling reward that fuels my artistic journey.
Read the original article at Canvas Rebel
Soaking Up Rays 36×36 – Available at Red Piano Art Gallery