Arts column

Creative energy in giving back to community

By SHEA STANFIELD
ARTS COLUMNIST

Local artist Kris Kollasch sums up herself most eloquently saying, “I am a wondering soul, though I am rooted firmly.  My work is consistently inconsistent, with constant variation in constant repetition. Step by step, through color and texture, deconstruction and rebuilding.”

When one experiences Kris and her work first hand you will find this to be a very accurate description of her creative process.

Kris was born in Gary, Indiana, but moved to Colorado Springs at the age of nine.

“Where I fell in love with the Rocky Mountains and John Denver,” Kris said of Colorado. 

She still considers Colorado her home and where she visits extended family.  Early on teachers recognized a spark of originality in Kris’ expression style.  It’s no wonder, she came from a creative family, her grandmother and mother were both gifted seamstresses, and her dad a photographer turned mason. 

According to Kris, “I came from a family of makers and fixers.”

She attended art classes during junior high at Bemis Art School, which is associated with the Colorado Springs Art Center. By high school she had upped her game in the number of mediums she could work in.  Ever the adventurer she continually experimented with both two and three-dimensional design.

After completing high school Kris attend Adams State College in Alamosa, Colo., on scholarship, graduating with a bachelor’s in art education.  That was 1984, and she and a few friends were ready to go out into the brave new world where “Western tastes” didn’t dominate the landscape and arts.

So she moved to Phoenix. 

Not surprisingly she found Arizona even more of a “Wild West” than Colorado.  No matter she was keeping her eye on her prize of abstracts done with vibrant color and unusual textures. 

By January 1985 she had landed a job building architectural and topographical scale models for a Tempe based design and fabrication firm, Habitat, Inc. 

Over the next 10 years she would worked her way into management. She supervised 15 people in the 3-D department, wrote contracts, managed budgets and acquired a wealth of knowledge in materials and techniques. 

All the while building important long lasting relationships for her future business.

By 1997 Kris was ready to “hike out” into her own business, Fine Art & Creative Environments, LLC.  This business is home to three main categories of work, fine art, murals and themed environments, and public art. 

Now 20 years later Kris has a lot to show for her talent and ingenuity.  Her public art can be seen in several cities in the Phoenix Metropolitan area with murals and themed environments in several States across the U.S. 

Three Rivers, 12×12, Mixed Media by Kristine Kollasch.

Her fine art can be seen on permanent display at First Studio, 631 N. 1st Avenue in Phoenix.  The historic space is the first TV and radio studio in downtown Phoenix, where she also curates the gallery space. 

Kris continues expand her territory with creative energy.

“My paintings explore the relationship between surface and depth, literal and metaphorical,” she said of her work. 

She is always changing and growing, as well as giving back to the community. 

Kris is a Valley Leadership Alumni and has donated countless hours over the last 20 years to work with the youth in the community, and serves on the Board of Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona.  She has been nominated twice for the Governor’s Arts’ Awards and received the Phoenix Mayors Arts Award in 2014 for her public art.

Currently Kris has several paintings in a solo show, “Landscapes at Lola Coffee Arcadia” that runs through November 15.  Places you can meet Kris and see her work this fall will be, The Sunny Slope Studio Tour on October 26 and 27, (growphx.com) and Hidden in the Hills Artist Studio Tour and Sale (Studio 29) in November (sonoranartsleague.org).

For further information on her schedule and work visit ArtandEnvironments.com, or email her at kkollasch@ArtandEnvironments.com.

You can contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield on her email at: flowingquill@yahoo.com.