Even after an injury to her dominant hand, Kristin LaRose found a world of artistic possibilities, starting at her husband’s skateboard shop.
Creating is not a choice for Kristin LaRose. Ever since childhood she’s pursued creative opportunities—illustrating, painting, building marionettes, and more. She is a creator at heart, and even though she faced a seemingly insurmountable obstacle after an injury to her dominant hand, she hasn’t stopped pursuing new creative challenges. Kristin shared why she now incorporates recycled skateboards in her artistic vision and what drives her to keep creating no matter what.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist, and how have you developed your skills?
I don’t think there was a time that I actively pursued being an artist. I was always good at art, so that was the title I was given. It wasn’t until I went to a fine arts high school that it occurred to me that it was something that could even be pursued. My skills developed over time. I learn something new and I do it until I’m proficient, and then I learn something new. My art is a collection of a lifetime of learning and practice.
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You practice many art forms, and all your work is stunning! How do you decide which art form to pursue when?
Thank you. That’s a difficult question to answer. Drawing has always been my number-one friend. It calms me when I feel like the world is out of control. Everything else depends on inspiration.
The marionettes are very process driven and have so many different steps. Making puppets was something that I always wanted to do. It’s taken a lifetime of failed attempts before I found the right material, and I am so proud of each one. It’s like making an army of friends.
Wood carving, paper art, and all of the other random things that I’ve done are like doodling. They are what my body does naturally when I’m not engaged in something else.
Your upcycled skateboard art is beautiful! What inspired you to use skateboards, and what’s the hardest part of that process?
My husband works with recycled skateboards. I was injured, and it left me with no use of my dominant hand for months and limited use after. He suggested that I come and hang out at the shop so I wasn’t sitting home alone. I started by pushing around his fall-offs and gluing them to a board. As I gained strength in my hand, I started using more tools, and eventually I pulled out my Dremel. I can’t say that I even do the hardest part. My husband collects, degrips, cleans, processes, and reglues the boards. There are challenges to my pieces, but mostly it’s my job to make sure that none of it goes to waste.
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What are the greatest challenges of your creative life?
I am very connected to my art, and the idea of having it on display and people not appreciating it is terrifying. The details of my work are lost in photos, and I’m so proud of my body of work, but I still struggle to find the strength to put myself out there.
Genuinely, thank you for pushing through that fear so we can enjoy your art. And what are the greatest rewards of your work?
All of my art is very process driven. For me, it’s about the making and less the finished product. Every piece is the physical manifestation of where I’m at in the moment. I think it’s a special thing to have something to hold that carries that energy for me.
Aside from making art, what are your everyday inspirations?
I am inspired by everything! My fifth grade teacher told me to keep my eyes open and be aware of my surroundings so that I don’t miss all of the beauty. I’ve kept that with me ever since.
I live in a beautiful city full of nature and art. It would be a shame to not take the time to appreciate it. I am a pack dog walker, so I see a lot of the city every day. I am an animal lover, so between my dog and cats and my packs, I spend most of my time with animals.
What’s one truth you’ve learned as an artist?
There is no such thing as perfect, but practice definitely makes better.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?
Try things. Anything. Random things. You never know what will inspire you. It never hurts to learn something new.
You can keep up with Kristin’s continuing artistic pursuits on Instagram!