We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristina Gauer and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kristina, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk-taking has never felt like a natural thing to me, mostly because I didn’t grow up in an environment that embraced risk. My family had a small business for a number of years and our motto was “slow and steady wins the race.” Let’s just say I would never make it as a world-class poker player or an Adventure Capitalist. Being wary of taking risks in my early life was not a smart approach because it led to me becoming paralyzed when I would have to make more important decisions and actually face risk head on. I found that when I did take a risk and committed to the outcome, no matter what it was, I gained a sense of inner confidence and determination previously never felt. After years of wondering if going back to school to get an MFA would be a big regret, I simply got sick of worrying and decided to apply. After earning my MFA this year, I am now armed with, yes, an expensive diploma, but also an incredible amount of skills, tools and experiences to help guide and propel me forward. I now equate risks with change, and most likely, everyone needs some kind of change in their life. In the last decade, I realize I have turned to risk-taking when an area in my life is stagnating. When I started viewing taking risks as less about succeeding or failing, and more about exploring and experimenting, the whole process seemed less terrifying.

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.
I illustrate anything and everything nature! I find the lines and shapes from the natural world to be the most appealing. My focus for the past year has definitely been insects, which is a surprise to me particularly because I was never into bugs my entire life. I don’t know how it happened really, but one day I began to look at insects differently, more visually and through a graphic microscope. I realized the world of insects is a rich source of pattern, shape and color, also something poetic can be felt when you consider their size, importance, and prevalence compared to humans perspective of them. I got my BFA in Graphic Design, but knew in my heart I was alway more interested in illustration, so eventually my path led me to an awesome illustration graduate program at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. I graduated this May and it was really a wonderful time, even with covid. Currently, I am building up my freelance portfolio as well as teaching illustration at the Myers School of Art, where I get to introduce students to the art of illustration. Some of the main lessons I’ve learned as an Illustrator that help keep my work fresh is to remain open to exploring ideas, draw subjects that spark my curiosity, and don’t wait to make passion projects, just do it now! My illustration is my own interest in life itself, and so it is my goal in every piece I make for it to exude some form of life.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The Last Bookstore for sure! Then RoRo’s Chicken for the hummus and it up Bev in Venice for some canned wine.

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?
My fellow illustration cohort who I learned so much from during our MFA degree program called “Illustration Practice” at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Artists need community, so share and reach out to your fellow artists!

Website: https://www.kristinagauer.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kaygauer/?hl=en

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristina-gauer-2b436b90/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.