We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristin Brin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristin, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I have to say that art and creativity pursued me. Instincts to create were within me since the beginning of my life. I was allowed to ‘make things’ growing up and I couldn’t stop myself from doing so when I came up with a new idea. I painted objects I would find, pursued inventions and products I have designed, and painted for as long as I can remember. A creative career was meant to be for me. Kind of like water seeking its own level, it always comes down to some form of art for me. So the most difficult part was landing on which form of art and how to make money in the arts.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Painting on a large scale requires a combination of skills. It’s very difficult for me and I do love a challenge. One of the reasons it’s demanding is because I need to work fast. Pigment absorbing into the canvas and quick dry times have me running. I paint with acrylics and recently I have begun to work with Flashé liquid emulsion. It’s much like acrylic paint yet different in wonderful ways. It dilutes well and soaks into canvas beautifully. With my recent particular techniques, I like the paint to not be raised or thick. I like it sleek and matte. My bold and floral paintings however are thick and rich with paint. Flaunting multiple layers creating a large amount of depth and texture. Sometimes when I screw up a sleek piece it gets re-made into a thick and hearty painting.
Another difficulty I face is that I am a small person. Lifting and moving these large pieces is a challenge. I am recovering from a major cervical spine injury. It happened in January 2018 and I am still overcoming this terrible crisis. I have Daniel Alvero, my assistant, and he is the best. His presence in my life helps me to keep it real. Meaning, there is no “Why me?” Daniel is paralyzed from the waist down from a shooting incident, and he is a strong, creative, problem-solving gentleman. He does my canvas stretching, paints, and assists me with my designs. It’s all made in house now because of the scale of my work. Shoutout Daniel, you da man!!!
Subject matter in my art spans from landscapes, shapes and florals, to people and animals. As I am inspired, I create. I am not working within a series in any particular order. A series occurs as paintings are created. It’s not a contrived methodology. In other words, I only focus on one painting at a time, no matter what it’s technique or subject matter may be. I do switch from one style to another, even on the same day, and that’s because of paint drying time.
It’s all about ‘Inner Meaning’ in my work. It’s rare for me to pour my feelings or opinions onto canvas, but it has materialized a few times. My aim is always about painting something beautiful that most people will enjoy the way I do. My meaningful work is usually a dark-to-light thing: sadness and depression, to overcoming and succeeding, in a quest for regained happiness.
We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others?
Style and technique keep all of us in our own ‘space and time.’ There are only so many techniques to employ, so I believe that my color choices and subject matter set me apart from other painters. I have a reputation for painting in the Whites: serene, soothing, gentle, and refreshing white paintings. For example, “The Ritz Carlton” in San Francisco has a particularly special painting of the Golden Gate Bridge. All white with a drift of clouds passing through the cables of the white, not red, bridge. There is also “Lake In The Winter,” all white with a black horizon line. But is it not all white. It is vast with abstract foreground shapes that look and feel like water and ice. In the distance there may be shallow water. Maybe there are darker clouds in sections of the sky. You decide…
Another thing that sets me apart is my confidence and drive to succeed. I have an optimistic and bright personality. Confidence is so closely related to optimism. It is only when we feel good about ourselves, that we can then feel positive about our future prospects. I always push through with all of my might to solve problems and challenges. To believe in success is to regard ourselves as being deserving of, and capable of, attaining success. And why not? We have the ability to reason so that we can decide who to be and what we want for ourselves. I take care to always remember that life is hard, and when it’s going great for a little while, I hold onto that as long as I can before it drifts away. Good times and bad times, pull in and out of our lives, like the tides. Even when the odds are against me, as they so often are, I choose to be happy, and that gives me the optimism and confidence to carry on.
What are you most proud of or excited about?
I am very proud of my transition into a mid-century modern style of painting. I have created some large and bold abstracts that I feel love for. Such as ‘Woman on Top’ and ‘Courage and Celebration.’ Recently, just before Covid, participating in the Beverly Hills artSHOW with a very different theme than the previous shows, made me uneasy. I am proud I had the courage to challenge myself, never knowing how the art will be received. And received it was indeed! The collector who purchased ‘Courage and Celebration’ was not in attendance at the show. He was driving down Santa Monica Blvd. when he saw the show, seeing ‘Courage and Celebration’ from the street. He told me that he turned around and came into the show to purchase the painting. He knew it was going to be his the moment he saw it from Santa Monica Blvd. I’ve felt that way about art before. It is thrilling!
I have some studies that I am so excited to paint. It’s hard to choose which one to paint first. I am excited to be a part of what’s about to happen on my canvas, each and every time. The very most exciting thing in my life right now is that I am finally recovering from the spine injury I mentioned before. It is as recently as this July, that I have been released from a prison of pain and suffering. I was tortured and in great despair for so long and now I am no longer in pain. A Shoutout to Dr. Tatevossian who is the only doctor who helped me through this period in my life. Doctor, thank you so very much!
How did you get to where you are today professionally?
I dared myself to do it. In 2013 I committed to a Fine Art, gallery driven, museum bound painting career. With a decent website and a great painting named ‘Georgia,’ “West Elm” the interior furniture retailer, reached out to me. I was invited to do a ‘Pop-Up’ show at their new store on Melrose in Los Angeles. This was a big boost to my self-confidence, leading me to apply for the Beverly Hills artSHOW. In my opinion it is the best outdoor show in town. The Beverly Gardens Park is a perfect venue for displaying fine art. The grass, cool winds, and big trees make the weekend especially joyful as a place to work. It is a juried show and you must apply via www.JuriedArtServices.com
I won second place for painting at my first BH show. A big confirmation for me, which launched my desire to do it better each time. People noticed me and approached me there. Interior designers, gallery owners, blogs, and magazines are out there looking for talent. So, it’s important to be in the right place at the right time. A big Shoutout to NueLA Magazine for my first magazine cover.
Was any of this easy?
No it was not. But I think that I made it appear to be effortless. Yet another ongoing goal for me.
How did you overcome the challenges?
I needed money for a booth at BH that was better than a rented tent. I ran a Go Fund Me campaign called “Build a Better Booth.” I was able to raise $3000 to buy materials and hire labor to build 10, 8’x4’ flats. My new booth looks like an art gallery. This challenge was met and exceeded my expectations. Setting up and loading in my paintings for shows is an enormous challenge every time. The show is outside so we are dealing with unleveled grass, extras like top and bottom trim, tools, hardware, my mandatory little closet, and MATH! Hanging the art centered and level is tough. But then I met Ron Goodman, owner of ‘Hang It Right,’ a professional art installation company. He makes installing art effortless. Shoutout to Ron Goodman. I appreciate you! The forever challenge is asking for the sale. Oh my gosh this is by far the most vexing part of my business. You spend time with potential collectors talking, sharing stories, and discussing the piece(s) they love. And then it’s time to close the deal. It’s nerve racking to ask for money from anyone, and even more frustrating when they say,”…not right now.” So the challenge is to know and believe that you are worthy of the sale.You are worthy. You deserve to succeed. ‘Will that be credit or bank transfer? Of course I accept cash!’
What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Lesson #1- Do not second-guess yourself Kristin! I can be hesitant to reveal a painting that I feel may not be well received. Guess what? I am usually incorrect. I’m better than I know sometimes.
Lesson #2- Be discerning. Do a lot of listening and choose wisely. (I did a lot of heeding and selectively chose what I believed would amplify my goals. I learned from my mistakes and there have been so many. No problem though. I made mistakes, so what?)
Lesson#3- I’ll share a major lesson I learned with you. I can’t do it alone. There is not enough time nor do I have the physical strength to accomplish my vision in its entirety. I slowly learned not to run myself ragged and select a team to support my ambitions. For art shows and studio building, you get what you pay for. Want to do it twice? I didn’t think so. Hire smart, strong, optimistic workers. Don’t do it alone. There is no prize for foolish pride.
Lesson #4- If you must compete, then compete with yourself only. Looking around constantly to see how other peers are doing can be damaging. Just like yoga, an art career is a practice of discipline and mindfulness. So give yourself a break and focus on what’s within you, not what others are doing.
What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Hello World, my name is Kristin Brin. It’s 2021 already and licensing has entered my business. I have been selling Synograph prints on the ‘Restoration Hardware’ website for three years. Portia de Rossi is my agent and she owns a company named ‘General Public.’ Shoutout to Portia de Rossi! Her brand and story affect mine. She has brought to life her vision and idea that all people should be able to collect ‘real’ art. No flat reproduction prints, but actual paintings with brush strokes and topography. She has a process of scanning original art with a hi-tech 3D scanner that reproduces paintings exactly like the original. The scanner records the art from different directions. Light is cast from above and to each degree. i.e. north, southeast and west. With these angles combined, the scan becomes readable and printable in 3D, with an emulsion medium that looks and feels like paint. This technology is truly amazing, and so is Portia. In case you are wondering, she is fully supportive of all artists and she is one herself. She shares an understanding of what the fine artist life is like. She’s friendly, kind and down-to-earth, accessible, and open to any idea you may want to throw her way. She’s a beauty, inside and out. Her team at GP is as super important as she is. Randi Speaker, her VP, is a pillar of strength and intelligence. ‘General Public’ is growing fast and I am amazed at her ability to keep the momentum going, despite any kind of setback. Hayley Farrer, Shout-Out to you! Hayley is the Art Advisor for GP. She is the woman who discovered me. I am full of gratitude and love for you Hayley. You rock! So, more about me and ‘General Public.’ I am in the top 10 in sales at ‘Restoration Hardware.’ This kind of validation is like none other that I have experienced. You see, with online retailing I am not there to tell my story or ask for the sale. People are deciding for themselves which art to purchase at ‘Restoration Hardware’ and many of them are selecting my art.
Then there is the flying solo aspect of my art career. I am not in a gallery. ‘General Public’ may be opening one in the near future that I will be a part of, and that will be delightful. But meanwhile, I am making it on my own. I have been in a few group shows before, but they were not selling ‘me’. A gallery in Culver City told me they ‘almost’ sold a piece. That’s not what I want to hear. Most of my sales come from the BH artSHOW, interior designers contacting me, and sales from my website. I will do commissions, but I don’t want to. I feel stressed when I’m painting one. The collector voicing an opinion stifles me creatively. I wish it didn’t but it does.
I paint between 8- 20 paintings a year. I don’t crank out art. My gosh darn neck wouldn’t allow it anyway. I want people to know that each painting I create is very thoughtful. I spend hours imagining how I am going to approach the canvas. Mixing colors, choosing brushes or sponges, rags, etc. I am considerate, articulate, and careful. Each piece is made with the utmost care, and the Collector sees and senses the nature of what I am doing. My work is evolving with greater sophistication, style, and technique as I age. I’m humbled and grateful my name and brand gather more acclaim, as I journey through my beloved life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I reside on the eastside of Los Angeles near ‘The Greek Theater,’ an amphitheater located in Griffith Park. My pal and I would start out with dinner at ‘Little Dom’s.’ It’s a tiny Italian place on Hillhurst that is truly amazing and so is the neighborhood. We may walk around looking at the beautiful homes or shop in the village. The next day, we’d fill a backpack with Coors Lite and play the short 9 hole par 3 next to my house. We could even show up to the Greek for a concert at night. Another evening we might dine on BBQ ribs at the “Smoke House.” They don’t have their famous ‘All You Can Eat Sunday Brunch’ any longer. Too bad for that! One day we could drive up the coast to Ventura and attempt to catch a wave. Then, nap on the beach or stray into a pub nearby for happy hour snacks and drinks. We can sit on my veranda for hours. We grill, there’s guitar jammin, wine, and great friends. The area I live in is quiet and full of nature. We may walk down to the stable next door and hand out some carrots and kisses. I love horses very much. There is a ‘nose-to-tail’ trail ride near the Equestrian Center in Burbank. You can ride up into Griffith Park. The view looking west to the ocean is absolutely spectacular. Maybe one night we can dress up and head out for a real Westside L.A. evening: a cool bar, a hot restaurant, and eventually a club. By then, I’m tired, and ready for you to go. Love you, bye. XO
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate this Shoutout to Fred Goldstein, owner of ‘Castelli Art Framing.’ Fred’s company is a premier, museum quality, full service framing company in Los Angeles. Fred introduced himself to me in 2013 at a Beverly Hills artSHOW. He attends most of the top art shows and fairs each season. He is kind, gives me praise, and also gives me sound advice. He told me that if I were to frame my paintings I would be presenting a ‘finished, ready to hang, important piece of art.’ That was great advice, but who is going to pay for all of these beautiful and large frames? The answer: me, at wholesale cost. With Fred’s advice as a mentor, I have been able to navigate the L.A. art world with only a few stumbles. We are great friends now and I am forever grateful to him for his wisdom, kindness, and support.
Linkedin: Kristin Brin
Facebook: Kristin Brin Fine Art
Other: https://rh.com (
Daniel Alvarez- Studio Assistant Miles Schuster Photography- for Nue LA Magazine Richard Kalisher – President/ Publisher of RK Media/ Nue L.A,