Kristen Margiotta is a Delaware based contemporary oil painter and illustrator. Her passion for art is pervasive throughout her lifestyle. For over thirteen years, she has been exhibiting and selling her work, illustrating books, and actively participating in her local art community. She has been an instructor of art since that time, instructing at a variety of locations including at the college level.
Kristen is a storyteller, and makes that the focus of her work. Her illustration work and fine art work have overlap, because to her, they are one in the same. She is the illustrator of the Gustav Gloom book series published through Penguin Random House, found in countries throughout the world. Her oil paintings are found in the homes of private collectors across the country.
Her work consists of various facets, all an extension of her being. Her fine art and illustration are character driven, featuring ominous gangly shadows to large eyed, sweet characters, inhabiting unsettling and surreal settings. Her recent oil paintings are non-figurative and she has also returned to portrait painting.
Deep rooted fears and relationships amongst people are driving forces behind her work, but there is a sense of strength and determination that comes through. Energy, both within composition and the painting’s aesthetic is a critical component to her paintings. Her current themes will explore the human condition, specifically focussing on death, loss, and the severance of relationships.
Kristen currently resides in Newark, Delaware and instructs private art lessons at Center for the Creative Arts in Yorklyn, DE. She also co-hosts Oddball Art Hall, the longest running monthly art event of it’s kind in the area featuring live open figure drawing/painting in conjunction with an art show.
I am a contemporary oil painter and illustrator, but the two have always been synonymous for me. They both share similar aspects, especially style and execution. Ominous shadows, both real and imagined, are found throughout my work, as are large eyed characters in warped settings. All of my work comes from within, from life experiences. It’s a way to document and unravel life’s questions, using a visual language that is cathartic for myself, and I hope for viewers as well.
My paintings first begin as rough sketches, building the ideas through drawing first and then obtaining references where needed. I am an advocate for working from life, so life references are important, and also referencing artists from the past who have influenced me as a person and as an artist. These artists span the Baroque and Renaissance periods, and beyond. Referencing these artists continues an ongoing dialogue over time.
The stories in my work continue to unfold and expand. It’s almost like a series of knots somewhere in my brain that I’m trying to unwind and organize to make sense of. Each new painting is another piece of the puzzle.
Themes such as fear and loneliness pervade my work. But I hope there is a sense of strength and determination that comes through. I think we can all relate to that. My paintings are usually not how they first appear, that’s what many viewers have told me. They’re not as “cute” or even as “dark” as some people initially think, they’re somewhere in between. I think they continue to challenge people’s perception of labels and boundaries which reflects on me as a person.
In recent years my work is evolving and moving beyond my character driven oil paintings. I’ve also returned to portrait painting, something I’ve greatly missed over the years. The beauty of the evolution of my work is seeing that all of these different facets still feel like me. I have never been a fan of labels, or boundaries. Those are dangerous. I just want to keep painting and growing as an artist and continue making connections with people through my art. That’s what it’s all about for me.