Meet the Artist: Kristen Abbott

Kristen Abbott surrounded by The Shattering / The Becoming collection; a detail from “The veil is no longer suitable”. Photo by Mber Creative

Here and now

How the Boulder artist finds beauty and meaning through his multimedia works.

Boulder-based multimedia artist Kristen Abbott creates captivating abstract works that reflect her inner life (and possibly yours, too). Here she reveals how she seeks beauty and meaning through her work and what she hopes you will find by looking at it.

5280 Home: Your work is almost sculptural in its appearance. Tell us about your process.
Kristen abbott: I like to work on a large scale because there is so much room on a large canvas or a wooden panel to experiment. I bounce between acrylic and oil, mostly, and use industrial tools like paint rollers, trowels, brooms, and kitchen utensils. I want the materials to be organic and the paint to have this rich surface history.

How has your work evolved over time?
Texture has always been important to me. I want you to want to touch my art. [When I began painting], I used more templates and grids, and my work was less loose and intuitive than it is now. My color palette changes depending on what season of life I’m in and what I’m trying to communicate through my art.

“A Language All Its Own” by Kristen Abbott. Photo by Mber Creative

Your last great work—The Shattering / The Becoming– including the poetry you wrote.
Sharing certain words with visual work was cathartic for me. All of this work was born out of a spiritual direction that I was getting: I was thinking about the deepest and truest parts of ourselves, the parts that are sometimes covered by layers of armor that we put on to protect ourselves. [emotionally and spiritually]- and I visualized those soft, warm skin tones. I’ve incorporated sheer fabrics that partially obscure parts of the paintings and broken plaster, which is the kind of burst that brings you back to the truest part of yourself, the person you were created for.

What are you working on now?
I feel a change taking place in my life and my work. I am surrounded by more nature here in Boulder and enjoy a slower pace of life, and I see greens reappearing in my work, which is probably inspired by nature and a sense of rest and belonging after a tumultuous period. The first piece I created in this new change is called “A Language All Her Own”.

What do you hope we find in your work?
Our lives can seem so noisy that I want my work to feel like a little break, a deep breath; not one more thing on top of the noise, but a reminder to slow down and notice the quieter moments. Beauty may very well be dazzling, but it can also be silent – just a glimpse of what’s to come.

This article appeared in the October / November 2021 issue of 5280 Home.

Hilary Masell Oswald

Hilary Masell Oswald

Hilary Masell Oswald is editor-in-chief of 5280 Home and contributor to 5280.

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