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Introducing Christine Trant

When I met Christine Trant at The Southern C I was drawn to her.  Her vast knowledge of the art world, art history, and her rebuff of every statement I made about my own lack of art knowledge set her apart to me.  I had just "crashed" a conversation she was having with my friend Nicole who is the art buff of the two of us.  Nicole is passionate about art and artists and can always be found chatting up new to her artists.  Christine was lovely and her statements to me intrigued me so, I wanted to know more about her so I requested her business card.  She was knowledgeable and yet so inquisitive about what I was speaking of ... the kind of person I strive to be.  I always want to gain knowledge from others so she was definitely someone I would be connecting with post Summit. 

One of the things she told me that first meeting was that she had painted a piece of art for everyone in attendance.  I found that amazing and exhausting, to be honest.  I was intrigued but the rest of the evening captured my attention when I had dinner with friends and met so many new people as well.  The next morning at the swag market I rounded the corner and there was Christine ... with her stunning art. Not only had she created a piece of original art for every attendee, but they were all so beautiful and unique and, honestly, I wanted to take them all home.  I settled on a green piece which is now having a new life on a shelf in my den along side an antique Staffordshire poodle. The mix of the old and new being so very me. 

And then Christine and I spoke in depth on the phone and I loved her work even more.  One of her first comments to me was that I knew a lot about art, after I told her I didn't, her words exactly ... "you know what you like".  Her statement surprised me in the best way possible.  She was right and as we discussed it further she encouraged me to continue to visit museums, a love of mine, and to continue to hunt out new artists until something connected.  Her final words on the subject, "I can't wait to see what you pick". Funny enough it will most like be something she creates.  We are both transplanted Florida girls who have fallen for the states we know live in.  I loved listening to her talk about her home in Boston, how she was trying to preserve it with paint colors and the pieces she chooses to live there.  Christine is thoughtful, kind, so well versed in the art world, and a lovely addition to my repertoire of artists.  I think you will love diving deep into who she is and connect with her and her art as I have.  

First of all, tell me about Christine Trant. Where did you grow up and how did your childhood influence you today?

I'm a Texas-born, Florida-raised, Philly-educated Bostonian! I have a wonderful collection of aunts and uncles who live all over the US, so I grew up visiting family regularly (I took my first flight at 2 weeks old!); that comfort with travel and exploring new places gave me the confidence to pick a college away from my hometown, study abroad in Florence, and move to Boston on my own. That love of travel is an integral part of my art practice today—my color palettes are inspired by the small moments of travel! 

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

I am a big reader and my love of books led me to start my career as a book editor. When I became an artist, I reflected on my life and saw that a love of art had always been there: art camps as a child, my high school jobs at a local pottery painting studio and Michaels, my art history-heavy minor and art museum internship in college, and hobbyist art practice as an adult. It was always there! 

How did the journey to an artist begin? 

My journey to becoming a professional artist began with failure. In the spring of 2020, I was all set to attend the biggest book publishing conference of the year in New York. When the conference was canceled and my book publishing clients slowly stopped renewing their contracts as their sales dipped, I signed up for an abstract painting class at a local studio thinking it "would just be a few months" before my publishing work picked back up again and I wouldn't have so much time on my hands. I fell head-over-heels for abstract painting. I was deep in what should have been the most stressful period of my life, watching my business fail, but I felt lighter and happier than I had in years. After several months of daily practice in the small apartment my husband and I lived in at the time, I posted a few of my favorite pieces for sale on Instagram to clear out some space. I sold 11 paintings in a single day. I was absolutely flabbergasted in the best way. And I haven't looked back. Instead of digging in my heels and trying to claw back into the publishing business, I went where my heart led and have grown exponentially as a professional artist. 

Share two things that inspire your art? 

The small moments of travel and creative collaboration! Each of my pieces starts with a place. My latest collection, for example, is rooted in my new home: New England. I pulled deep blues from watching water lap over rocky shores, toasted tans from the signature cedar shingles of coastal towns, and bright cerulean from those perfect crisp cloudless fall days! I also thrive on creative collaboration, whether that is creating a custom collection for a shop or challenging myself with a study prompt from a mentor. I can just stare at a blank canvas for hours without making a move, but give me a simple direction like "what if the frame was part of the piece?" or "I only want muted tones but I want contrast" or even "Here's a Monet print. Make it your own." and I am bouncing around my studio like my pup with a new tennis ball. 

We share a history in Central Florida ... you know I love all things Florida, what about Florida inspires your art now?

Absolutely the color and vibrancy of Florida. I have an entire album on my phone of "Florida colors:" snapshots of my mother's azaleas, murals from when my husband and I lived in St. Pete, sunset skies over New Smyrna Beach, EPCOT's Flower & Garden festival topiaries, blooming bougainvillea and honeysuckle, even street style shots of people in my favorite colorful outfits! These colors absolutely influence my vibrant painting style. I grew up going to the Winter Park Art Festival every spring, and I dream of being part of the show one day! 

Let's talk art.  You know I struggle in choosing original art for myself.  What can you share to get me started?

*Rubs hands in excitement* I am so excited for you to start your original art collection! First of all, I know people can be intimidated by choosing or purchasing original art. I think this is a holdover from the old process of buying art: visiting a stark gallery or overwhelming auction. Today, many galleries are warm and inviting places, auctions can be perused online without the pressure to buy, and you can buy art directly from the artists who are thrilled for you to bring it into your home. Art, historically, was created or commissioned to either commemorate a person or event, decorate a space, or portray a message. So take the pressure off yourself to pick pieces that are investments. These pieces will live in your home. The only requirement is that they make you feel something when you see them every day, whether that is joy, peace, interest, you name it. The number one thing to look for in choosing art is simply that you want to keep looking at it. My top tips for buying art are:

Have pictures of your home on your phone. When you're traveling or scrolling Instagram or attending an event (art festival, gallery show, friend's birthday party at a local spot that has available art on the walls), you can easily look at your rooms to see if the piece fits. Having notes of the sizes of your available spaces is helpful, too!

Create a color palette for your home. I love the app "Coolors" to easily play with colors and pick a palette you love. I screenshot my home or room palette to refer to. 

Starting out, select artwork that has at least one of your home palette colors in it. Having one element to look for (a color that is in your palette) helps you eliminate what will not work. You can always look into commissions or become a fan of the artist if you love their style and hold out for a piece that will work, so you will love it forever.

For example, my husband and I are decorating our new home in shades of blue to reflect our love of coastal locales and just painted our living room a dramatic shade of navy blue. I hung one of my favorite pieces—a tiny painting of Monet's home in Giverny I picked up from a local artist when I visited in 2019 matted with a bright magenta velvet in an ornate white and gold frame—in my navy living room because there are several blue flowers and a gray-blue gravel path in the piece. No navy at all, but the blue shades tie in with this very blue room! 

Visit a local art museum or scroll art hashtags on Instagram and take notes! Really look at the pieces that catch your eye and try to articulate what you like about it (this is just for you, it doesn't have to be eloquent!). Do you like the bold colors? Do you love that you can see the brushstrokes? How does it make you feel? Is it by a local artist? Does it depict a place important to you in some way? Is it neutral/dark/light/monochrome/use a bunch of colors? Knowing what you like will give you a checklist of questions to ask yourself when you are considering a piece! These questions are personal and will be different for everyone. 

Remember that art can be easily stored! Materials artists use today ensure that your piece stays true to color for many years to come (varnish and archival framing are our best friends). As long as you have a spot out of direct sunlight to store your pieces, you can buy knowing you don't have to have the perfect spot for it picked out just yet. Buy it because you love it and you'll find the right place for it—or you can change pieces out seasonally! 

Do you have a favorite color to paint?

Oh, Paige! That's like asking where my favorite place to travel is, or what my favorite cocktail is! My favorite definitely depends upon my mood and what is inspiring the piece. I custom blend my palettes but I always come back to blues, greens, and pinks. Classic but bold always excites me! 

What inspires your work, I know you shared with me you work in series based on travel, was that it?

All of my pieces start with a place! Whether that is a place I have visited or a favorite spot of my clients'. I deeply believe we need to get out of our own bubbles from time to time—travel (no matter how far or close you go to explore) get us using different parts of our brains, exposes us to new things, and enables us to interact with people who live differently than we do. It broadens our horizons both literally and figuratively. I hope my work inspires people to take their own journeys. I am inspired by the colors, moods, movements, aesthetics, and motifs of places. Think: water lapping over a rocky coast in Maine, the patterns of Charleston's wrought iron gates, bold colors of Floridian foliage, warm breezes swirling sand on Aruba, pastel pastries in Paris... I am so excited to find these moments all over the world and bring them into your home.

Do you have a time of day you love to create?

I do! I am not a morning person or a night owl. I am solidly an 11am-3pm person. In our new home, I have my own dedicated studio space with windows that afford the best light in the middle of the day. I bring my second cup of coffee up to my studio and try not to stick my brushes in it before coming down for a late lunch. It brings me so much tranquility and delight to break up my day with my art practice right in the middle. It does, however, mean that most of my clothes have a souvenir splatter from whatever I was working on that day! 

What would your perfect Saturday look like?

I very much live seasonally! In the winter, a perfect Saturday might look like snuggling on the couch with my coffee, my husband, and my dog before hitting an estate sale then painting for a bit, tackling a home project, and having a couple friends over for dinner—cozy and comfortable and full of my favorite things to stave off the seasonal depression. In the spring, I want to be on the go and outside as much as possible! A perfect Saturday would find me waking up in a pretty boutique hotel, tucking my guidebook into my bag, strolling for a cute breakfast spot to munch and peruse my book or saved IG posts for what I want to do that day, then going out to explore and take photos (so. many. photos. I capture all sorts of small moments to paint later!) before my meticulously planned local-cuisine dinner reservation and fancy-cocktails evening. Over the summer, the Brimfield antique market is my favorite place to be! There is nothing quite like fall in New England, so the perfect fall Saturday would entail exploring a cute town and picking apples or pumpkins, then coming home to cook with them! 

What is your favorite way to unwind?

I battle with anxiety (and try to be open about it so others can be, too!) so I have an arsenal of tools for finding calm: keeping my painting supplies easily accessible to shut off my brain and just have fun with creating small studies, comfort period piece movies and shows, planning my next travel adventure (whether it comes to fruition or not, I find the research phase relaxing!), and going for a walk with my husband and my dog with a glass of wine to go are my favorites.

Favorite meal. 

I am a charcuterie fiend. Whether at home or traveling, I love to hit up a gourmet grocery, farmers market, or cheese shop and get recommendations for cheeses, meats, and easily snackable produce to make a board or picnic. Add a bottle of wine and good conversation or a great movie, and I am one happy girl!

Five must haves.

Coffee. I do not function before my first cup. If you are in the Central Florida area, please subscribe to Eola Coffee for me. I miss it so much! 

Comfortable-AND-cute shoes. I picked up a pair of Chatelles flats in Paris and they quickly became my favorites. You can customize them and they ship worldwide!

Antiques. My antique collection began with my grandfather giving me his mother's pink Depression Glass set and has grown wildly from there. The hunt makes me giddy and these pieces bring personality into my home.

Time at the beach. I have several favorites, but there is just something special about the ocean and seaside towns.

Art supplies. That can be as simple as my sketchbook and a pencil or as complex as my full studio, but I crave some sort of creative expression daily. 

Favorite quote.

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." -Pablo Picasso 
I think this quote applies to anyone—artist creating or collector selecting for their home, or viewer.

Don't you just adore her?  I love how excited she gets when she responds to my answers about starting a collection of original art.  That is most likely why my collection will expand with one of her pieces.  We have such a love of Florida and how she describes it is so similar to how I do as well.  I think she is fascinating and I love to hear her speak of her work.  Her journey is like so many with the pivot of 2020 but I love how that hard time opened her up to a true joy for her work and her ability to create such beautiful items to live in so many homes. Christine you had me at coffee, Winter Park Art Festival, and Brimfield.  You must be our guide when Nicole and I finally get to come.  💗

To follow along with Christine make sure you check out her website and follow her on Instagram.  And ... spoiler art, keep your eye out here for a follow up post on a collaboration she is working on that will be so fun for me to share and so amazing in itself.  

I. Can't. Wait.  

Happy Tuesday ... 

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