We are back in motion with another amazing feature on a Valley Creative Artist and Entrepreneur. Her work is amazing and her dedication and consistency is commendable. It's hard enough trying to balance life, but then starting your own business and being an artist can't be easy. It requires focus, discipline, time management, and patience. So shoutout to anybody out there wearing multiple hats in order to manifest their visions.
We are shining a light on Christanie Hunter, a model, painter, and business woman here in the valley who is building her brand and making a name for herself on the scene. She embodies all of the traits needed to be a successful business person. Black women are magic and she is another prime example of that with work ethic, smarts, and beauty. We've even met her mother, who is also a joy to be around. So shout out to both of them for being beacons of light in our community.
Everybody loves art! There are different approaches and techniques that people use to help bring out or even mask a story or an idea. Now, I can't draw or paint at all, but I can appreciate art and the things that it makes me consider (or the emotions they bring out). That's why so many people love buying art or enjoy artsy experiences. Christanie’s art has been awesome to watch. She’s a regular on the First Friday scene (pre-covid19) and always has her tribe with her and loads of people shopping her table. Her inventory is full of things like yoga mats, shower curtains, tapestry, pillow cases, prints, and more. She’s gotten a few looks from the press and media outlets and she’s been on a nice upward trajectory since we first connected.
Christanie has worked with the I Am Root Brand in a number of ways: as an art vendor, art instructor, and collaborator. She’s worked a few of our Rebel Lounge Events, Tempe Center for the Arts Events, and more. She’s always professional, down-to-earth, and reliable. She is a friend of the brand and we are proud of the work she is doing and has done in the community. I definitely recommend that you all connect and build with her.
We also welcome you to connect and build with more local and emerging artists in the community. The people in our communities, who love and support art have more power than they think (motivating power). They are the inspiration for many artist's work. Sometimes a simple "that was awesome" or "i love your work" can go a long way. It may help the artist tap in to more of where the inspiration came from originally. I know a few artists who write poems only when big events are coming up. I know some clothing designers who put out more merch after people hit them up expressing interest. Sometimes it takes the community to light the fire under some of our creatives.
Art is an important part of how we heal, grow, and express. How many times have you stopped and stared at some art, either online or in-person? For some of us we do it all the time. But there’s the few of us that go the extra step of wanting to know more about the artist and creator behind it. It's interesting to learn about the reasons why they create or what approach they take to story-telling. Same goes for almost any creative medium, like why do dancers dance, or what made him sing that verse like that, how did she pick her rap cadence, the list goes on. It really interests the audience to know a little more about the artist. The people want more than a website bio and a couple of selfies, right?
In this feature, we will learn a little bit about one artist's journey, her motivation, and a few obstacles that she has faced coming up in the industry.
Help us celebrate her success, by engaging below.
Christanie Hunter is an expressionist artist currently based in Tempe, Arizona. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota and raised in Chicago, Illinois. With no formal training, her ability to create art is a gift that has existed in her family for several generations. Her subject matter often explores concepts related to fashion, travel and culture. Many of the muses found in her work are African or of African descent.
Christanie started out sketching cartoons at a young age. It wasn't until as recently as 2018 that she moved on to painting in her own contemporary style. Pulling from her earlier experiences seeing art in cities such as Chicago, London, Barcelona and Paris. She draws inspiration from these experiences and applies them to her work using excitingly innovative styles and techniques.
Christanie works with a wide range of mediums such as paint markers, pastels, oil paint, spray paint, acrylic paint, glitter, ink, and gold/silver leaf. She often uses pallet knives to paint impasto styles. Her works are done on a variety of canvases including wood, masonite, cotton and cork board.
In our interview we wanted to center our questions around common things that people would like to know. We wanted to take into consideration the minds of emerging creatives, fans, and other artists. Before you get to the end of this article, be sure to follow and subscribe to Christanie Hunter’s social media and go buy something.
RM: Rooted Minds
CH: Christanie Hunter
RM: Describe yourself in 4 words.
CH: Passionate, friendly, adventurous and creative. RM: What brought you to art? CH: I always appreciated art. Growing up in Illinois, I would go downtown and see murals on the buildings as I was walking through the street and always thought that was the most interesting thing about the city. What made me pursue art professionally was my desire to take my drawing skills to the next level by trying to work with paint.
RM: What's been the most fulfilling thing about your art journey?
CH: The most fulfilling thing about my art journey has been the people who have shown interest and support for what I'm doing with my work. I have met so many people who see my art and tell me that the images I make are a necessity to the world. I have had people look at my work and start crying because they felt a connection with the energy of the paintings. It's also fulfilling when I have people asking me advice on their art journeys. It's nice to feel like I have something valuable to offer people.
RM: What's been the biggest lesson throughout all of this?
CH: The biggest lesson I've learned is that you never know what the market is going to be like so always have multiple things going in order to stay busy and stay relevant. What's been happening to the economy in 2020 has affected many people in several industries and mine was not exempt. I had been relying on festivals and events to generate revenue for my business and this has changed that structure for me at least for now. As a result I've had to shift gears and focus on commission work and online sales.
RM: Much of your work displays the beauty of blackness. Is that something you are looking to build your brand around? -- What messages are you hoping that people take away from your work?
CH: I have put my focus and attention towards making work that portrays the black community in a positive and progressive light. I feel like as a black woman I have to represent for my culture which is so often belittled and oppressed even in today's society. I want people to see a message of empowerment by making the protagonist someone black people can relate to. Hopefully that contributes to the shift in the way people perceive the culture and maybe even the way people in the culture perceive themselves.
RM: How has your entrepreneurship and art impacted your dating or social life?
CH: Being an entrepreneur has led me to many opportunities to network and meet people. When I'm working I have people come up to me all the time just wanting to talk about things not even related to art. Sometimes that does mean talking about my dating life but my business has remained my top priority throughout my relationships.
RM: Describe the emotion you felt after you sold your first painting?
CH: I was ecstatic when I sold my first painting. It was being hung in a coffee shop and before they could put it on the wall someone offered to buy it. I was really proud of myself for stepping out of my shell and getting such quick and positive feedback. It was definitely reassuring that I was on the right track.
RM: What's your biggest fear or challenge as an artist in Phoenix, Arizona?
CH: As a Phoenix based artist my biggest challenge is finding new opportunities to show my work. I do my best to stay in the loop with what's going on in the art scene here but it seems like the city isn't that advanced when it comes to this industry. There are very few avenues to explore outside of the festivals. There aren't a lot of galleries here to target and the events that do occur here are either expensive to participate in or they get very little support from the community. It's become difficult to build my brand for the simple fact that lucrative opportunities are difficult to come by.
RM: You have your own gallery and art space, how did that come about and what was your motivation behind going for your own spot?
CH: My gallery was a solution to an issue that I was experiencing when I went to participate in events. Moving my work around to different venues was a hassle and some of my pieces were being damaged throughout the process. Some of my gold leaf pieces were not easy to repair and my bigger pieces were too large to transport to shows. Having a gallery allowed me to showcase all of my work and keep the pieces protected.
RM: What advice would you give to someone looking to get into art and wanting to build a brand for themselves?
CH: My advice to up and coming artists is to always challenge your skill level by taking on projects that elevate your image. It's also very important to stay connected to what's happening in the industry to get more ideas for what you can do with your brand. Also pay attention to your following, the people that support you will tell you what they like about your work and how you can improve. Finally, stay positive because being an artist is not easy which is why in order to be successful you have to find joy in what you're doing.
Let's send a huge 'thank you' to Christanie for taking our interview. With all that is going on in the world right now, it is important to keep our entrepreneurs and creatives lifted. We wish her nothing but continued success on her journey. We hope to be apart of more success stories in the future. If our brand can do anything to help support your business and art, please let us know.
To our readers, we thank you for checking this out and we hope that you’ve learned something that you can take with you. It’s been an awesome time getting to learn a bit about Christanie and how her mind works, when it comes to her art. It’s important that we continue to support and show love to the different leaders, creatives, and builders in our communities. So share this article with a friend, share it on social media, share it all over.
Hopefully you have been enjoying our content during the quarantine season. Be sure to visit our forum and start a discussion (iamrootco.com/forum). We also have various podcasts for you to check out The Garden (iamrootco.com/thegarden), Diggin in w/ Niamey (iamrootco.com/Niamey), RWRS (iamrootco.com/RWRS), and Let’s Talk Traditions (iamrootco.com/letstalk). Our team has been working hard to keep you uplifted and engaged, hopefully you've had a chance to tap in with the Rooted Minds Blog -- www.iamrootco.com/blog -- Didn't mean to spam you all with links but it is important that you know where all the content is.
Our mission is to keep you engaged, inspired, and creative! So if there is something you want to see or something you want us to cover, don't hesitate to let us know in the comments and I'm sure you'll see the content.
If you know someone that you’d like us to interview, submit their info to www.iamrootco.com/submissions -- and if we like what they have going on we will reach out and set up the interview. We love being connected with new people and hopefully after reading this you feel inspired to send us some names.
Check out the recap of an event we collaborated on with Christanie. "Refresh" was a paint & sip class and live music showcase at Adventurous Stills - http://www.adventstills.com/ (a distillery in Tempe, AZ). We were joined by amazing talent and vendors. Litarian Dogs, Tempura Takeover, Music Producer J Protege, Leewater, Chari' Joy, Kylelashay Draper, Stefani Monet and more. This event was probably our most exclusive night and it was a really awesome way to bring people together. Music, craft whiskey, performances, and paint -- twas' perfect. If you made it out to this event, leave us a comment and let us know your favorite part of that night.
www.iamrootco.com/blog to catch more of our interviews with amazing people.
Follow Christanie @christanie_ | https://instagram.com/christanie__
[Christanie Hunter is a painter best known for her African portraiture. Her unique images explore different aspects of culture, style and individuality. She uses gold and silver leafing techniques in many of her works. Other mediums used in her portraits include acrylic paint, spray paint, oil paint and occasionally wood. Her works can be seen on display every First Friday on Roosevelt Row in Phoenix, Arizona.]
In The Mix Show: Episode 2 | Christanie Hunter
Dru Wes Interviewing Christanie Hunter at her new gallery. 414 S Mill Ave. Tempe, Arizona
Christanie Hunter: Velvet Nostalgia Exhibition July 2018.