Cosmic Flow With Kristin Shattenfield-Rein
Philadelphia based artist, Kristin Schattenfield-Rein fuses creativity and spirituality. Her use of cosmic-like metallics and a palette that includes some of my favorite chakra colors, immediately drew me to her. However, it was our mutual fascination with the universe that solidified my interest. We discussed her views on creation and how it has influenced her work. Take a journey through her “artistic philosophy” and be prepared to jump start your curiosity. Check out our exchange and her work below!
Quaint Revolt: Kristin, I’ve been following you for a while, so I am excited to speak to you. Let’s begin by sharing a little bit of your background.
Kristin Rein: Thank you so much, I love your site and I am thrilled to be a part of it. Well, I am the youngest of 7 children, five brothers and a sister. I grew up in the burbs of DC and I have always had a compulsion to make things, specifically art. I went to college in upstate NY and met my soul mate, who is an amazing musician. We moved to NYC, where for many years I worked for more established artists and made my own work on the side, showing here and there. My now husband and I wanted to start a family and put down some roots. When he got a job in Philadelphia it felt like a great place for us, close to NYC and Washington DC. Now we are in Philly with 2 kids and I have what I am calling my career 2.0. My kids are now 2&4 and I am humbled and grateful to make painting my full time career.
QR: Your interest in the stars is something that resonates with me. I’m very intrigued by the complexities of the universe and theories about creation. Share your thoughts on these subjects and how they became a vital part of what you create.
KR: Although the work (& series) I make all seem very different, there is a through-line to all of them and that it is creation. I have always been a searcher and interested in the spiritual. I was online a little more than a year ago and saw this VIDEO. It completely flipped me out. I then started to delve deeper. At this very time, a friend posted this picture on Facebook:
It felt like the universe was trying to tell me something. It really resonated with me, all of it. It changed the course of my work and how I think about things. I mean ‘We are literally dead stars looking back at the sky’, how is that possible? It still trips me out. My last show was entitled ‘We Are All Made Of Stars’. In the midst of discovering all of this new information [while] preparing for a solo show, my father became very ill. I think these new ideas, facts, & science helped me to prepare for his passing. He passed one week before my solo show opened.
QR: Wow! Aside from the universe, who or what inspire/motivates you?
KR: I am a searcher and I never know what will spark for me. I always try to see things through. I think there is always a connection from one idea to the other, even if it doesn’t seem like it at face value. Currently, I have become fascinated with the Tibetan Book Of The Dead and this idea of the Intermediate State, a period of time between death and rebirth. As for the people who inspire me, it’s a little trite, but it has to be my family. I think after my daughter was born I felt [it was my duty] to show her that a woman can do anything she sets her mind to. I don’t want her to ever feel limited by fear or expectation or that she is ‘other’ because of this mixed up world we live in. If I can, in my own small way, I want show my children that you can pursue your dreams. If you work hard and stick to it, something special will happen.
QR: What message, if any, are you trying to convey through your art and why?
KR: This is such a deep question that I don’t know if I can eloquently put it into words. I think of my work as meditations. I want the viewer to look a little longer. If you look a bit longer, it begins to unfold in different ways because it is so layered that it tends to look a bit different every time you look at the pieces. I think what I am trying to convey and what is being received by the viewer can be two different things. If I make a piece that represents rebirth, but you see it as an object or it reminds you of a beloved grandparent, I love that. I don’t want to put constraints on the viewer, I want them to feel the freedom to find what it means to them, not necessarily what it means to me.
QR: One of my favorite series of yours is “Metamorphia: She Who Shapes the Sacred Land.” The color palette is so interesting, just as the inspiration. Can you elaborate on this and the ways motherhood impacted the series and your work in general?
KR: Absolutely! After I had kids, my work really shifted towards them, the idea of motherhood and creation. In that series my family became color representations. Fuchsia came to represent my daughter, teal my son, I became gold and purple, and my husband silver. I think parenting is human building, it is an art within itself. It is by far the most difficult job I have ever done. I think that not only is it your job to build up these little humans, but there is an element of destroying them a bit too. It sounds so awful, but so much of parenting (toddlers at least) is telling them ‘no’, ‘don’t hit’ ‘don’t be mean’ ‘be kind’ ‘stop trying to strangle your sister’; it’s like they are all instinct, but those instincts are kind of wrong and we have to break them down and rebuild them to live as kind humans in the world.