Crystal is currently a full-time painter based out of Pittsburgh, PA. She is represented by BoxHeart Gallery and Studio Director at Radiant Hall Susquehanna. Crystal completed her BFA Slippery Rock University. She then went to receive an MA and MFA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2013 and 2016, respectively.
Crystal's work has been shown extensively in both solo and group exhibitions, including at the Pittsburgh International Airport, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Chautauqua Institution, The Mine Factory, George Washington University, and Framehouse and Jask among others. She has shown her work in Hong Kong, China, as well as participated in a residency at the Joaquin Chaverri Fabrica de Carretas in Sarchi, Costa Rica. Crystal's work has been featured in Local Arts PGH, Art Maze Magazine, Ruminate Magazine, and Fresh Paint Magazine. Her work is included in both public and private collections including those of Indiana State University of Pennsylvania, PNC Corporate, the Benter Foundation, and Wyndham Tryp.
I stood at a Wal-Mart in Escazu, Costa Rica, and felt like I was experiencing that moment in late autumn when you realize that all the fiery reds and oranges had faded and fallen to the ground. My life had been a staccato of visits to my mother’s native Costa Rica and, in that second, I realized that I was witnessing the dilution of the vibrant culture.
My paintings explore the hybridity of Western and Latin American identity. For me, understanding identity, and its existence within a historical context does not assume a position in words, but in shape. Embedded in my compositions is Latin American culture: its intricate folk arts, tropical flora, and warm hues; while graffiti tags, bold mark making, and images of conquest interrupt this patchwork of shape and color. Patterns, both traditional and commercial, are fragmented and pieced together. Colors infused with Latin flavor are diluted by a ubiquitous white. Organic, blooming forms are contrasted by flat or rigid fields. My paintings use the tools of paint and brush to consider the colonization of Latin America, and its continuing role as “colony” in Western society. Without taking a political stance, I aim to draw attention to the visual tapestries and unknown histories of this underrepresented area.