We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristine Schomaker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristine, how do you think about risk?
Risk taking has always been a big part of my life. I have always felt that the answer is always no if we don’t ask. If we don’t start a painting or follow up or keep going, we won’t get far. Sometimes just the act of getting out of bed is a brave notion; but once we do, once we get up, take a shower, get on with our day; that is when the magic happens. Most recently, people have called me brave for posing nude for a project on body image and beauty. I am a plus size woman with an eating disorder and use my body in my art to share my struggles. While I was afraid and shy; I also felt that our bodies have been dictated far too long by societal standards set by men and tradition. I want to break those rules and have the freedom to be who I am without judgment or criticism. I understand that won’t happen in my lifetime but I feel that if I don’t share my art, my ideas; if I don’t communicate my message and change minds; what else do I have? I have also been a risk taker as far as careers. I worked in an emergency room and the medical field for most of my life. At 42 I quit the medical field and started a management company supporting artists. While there have been ups and downs and the normal stress of running a business, If I hadn’t of taken that risk, I would still be in a job that made my unhappy, stressed and depressed. My motto: Be Brave. Be Strong.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Being an artist is never easy. I don’t work a regular schedule and sometimes I don’t feel like painting or drawing, so I cut up or shred things to send a message about how beauty is seen in our society. Sometimes I use my body through video or photography to express my discontent. Sometimes I lay in bed and imagine I am an artist who works in the studio 10 hours a day painting brilliant large abstract paintings. Then I have to ask myself, Why am I not doing that now? “Be Brave. Be Strong!” My career is art. I run an artist management company which is a support network helping artists with tools and resources to help them get ahead in their careers. I am immersed in art. Both my own and other artists. I started an online art magazine to be part of the art conversation today and continue to be immersed in art. The line between myself as an artist and mentor is often blurred and I often consider myself a cultural producer whose life, business and art are all one. I have always felt that life is short and we need to live it to the best of our ability. I believe that generosity begets generosity. What we give, we will get back in some way. It is about acts of kindness and support as a way to lead a fulfilling life. My story is one of community and collaboration. I look forward to what I will bring to the rest of my life.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Some of my favorite places to take a friend would include the Huntington Library and Gardens, a visit into selected artist studios, Vista Hermosa Natural Park overlooking DTLA, Zuma Beach, the Norton Simon Museum, Canters Deli, a Dodger Game, Griffith Park, The Getty, taking in Gustav Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl or an opera or ballet at the Ahmanson, Bike Riding at Venice Beach, a walk through the arts district to view the street art and murals and get an ice cream at Salt and Straw, yellow curry at Saladang in Pasadena and maybe a city sight-seeing bus ride through Hollywood.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people I would love to give a shout out too. I am so lucky to have my own support network of mentors and friends who have made me the person I am today. Since I have to choose just one, I would love to collectively thank my therapists. Over the years, since I became aware of my eating disorder, I have met with a few therapists who have helped me get through some rough times. They have helped me to work through bouts of anxiety, depression and stress but also learn to celebrate happiness and joy. (I am still figuring out what that really means) They have helped me be more brave and self-aware and sometimes, love myself. Only sometimes. Like my art, I am a work in progress. My art over the years comes directly from thoughts and ideas, suggestions and revelations I have during therapy. I can not say enough about the importance of having someone to talk to who will listen, offer advice and help you imagine a more fulfilling life beyond the one you are living.
Baha Danesh, Debbie Korbel, Sheli Silverio, Dani Dodge