>> By Heather Lea
Fall 2010, Issue 2010
For many photographers, travelling away from home for inspiration is almost necessary.
New places present new subject matter and opportunities. For photographer Krista Stovel, who has lived in Japan, Paris, Denmark and Australia, coming back home to Revelstoke was what really got her shutter finger tingling.
Krista grew up in Revelstoke. After returning home from living in Australia in 1998 to raise her children, Nii Noi and Tettey, she remembers walking around her parents’ property one day when the skeleton of a disintegrating leaf caught her eye. She took it home to paint but despite her best attempts she could never paint the leaf to her liking.
It sat in hiatus on a shelf until she thought one day about scanning it on her computer.
Amazed at the clarity and detail Krista found a new journey in digital art. Before this Krista had already been exploring her talent for photography through printing images onto greeting cards and selling them around town.
“Making cards was a great way of getting my images out in an affordable way and the risk wasn’t big,” she says. “Whatever sold I could print more of.” But like most artists, Krista wanted to challenge herself. She tried printing and framing larger images. “Larger pieces are a bigger commitment for all artists. I haven’t been as successful in framing photos and selling them so I started searching how to translate photos onto different mediums.”
This searching found her an exciting new avenue transforming photographs onto pieces of wood. After printing off the photo from her computer Krista uses turpentine to adhere the image onto scrap wood people have discarded. The effect is something that looks lovingly reincarnated, like a memory of the photo.
Although Krista’s work is modern in its presentation her photographs like to suggest something from an era of simplicity. Sometimes using an antique prop or a single pink mattress in a pale blue room is all she needs to express a story through the image.
Simplicity is what Krista is all about. She uses a very basic point-and-shoot digital camera, a tiny 4-by-6-foot home studio, an inexpensive computer imaging program and all the inspiration she needs is under her own roof, not in far away places. She is perhaps one of the most cost-effective photographers out there.
“I’ve created a world around me [at home] that gives me pleasure through creating beauty and I’m very drawn to beauty. I need my house to have the colours and space and energy I can work in. It’s extremely important. [My home] needs to be visually pleasing and inspiring.”
Krista’s children also give her plenty of ideas.
“When we moved into this house [the boys] made sentences out of these fridge magnets. Tettey’s was I Am Essential. I had some old wall paint left over and a fabulous picture of him with his big eyes.”
Krista printed off the photo of her son and transformed it into a 3-by-6 piece of wood with the words I Am Essential. For Nii Noi’s magnet sentence, whch read I Am Enormous, Krista had to wrack her brain a little. “I thought that was trickier so I put [a photo of] him into a tiny television and had someone with wizened-looking hands hold the TV tenderly.”
This kind of creativity is exactly what best defines Krista as an artist. She takes her images past simply being a photograph. “What I have is the ability for good composition and an eye for a story in a photograph. “It’s my art for now but over time it will become less interesting.
I can only speak for myself but artists like to push themselves. The medium will only last until I run out of wood or I run out of interest”
But Krista is full of ideas about where to go to keep her artistic endeavours alive.
“I would like to take more pictures of people and capture their soul so people can see themselves in a different light and body and movement. That would be exciting. [This is] a technical skill to develop. I know nothing about lighting or aperture.”
Watching the world go by is not what Krista Stovel does. She finds a moment along the way and asks, ‘Hey what’s here for me that I can create from?’ Indicative to an adventurous, reflective personality Krista’s bio on her web site says: “ arrived in Ottawa for a short holiday and ended up staying two years…” and, ‘a three-day stopover in Paris turned into almost a year.” Krista’s willingness to stop and stay where others might keep moving on in their quest for a destination has likely given her the skills she now shows through art.
Some of her past areas of work and travel have also helped her budding interests. “From singing in the Melbourne Women’s Bulgarian Choir, to hosting a radio show and editing a cultural magazine, I worked with artists, musicians and dancers from Papua New Guinea, Greece, Africa, South America. Eastern Europe and Asia.”
Working in radio and as a music agent in the past Krista has now settled in Revelstoke as an employment facilitator at the Revelstoke Employment Centre (WorkBC).
“I’ve had people ask me to sell my piece in New York and I say no, I can’t imagine my stuff ‘selling in New York. I don’t want to go in that direction. I know my market here.
To contact Krista Stovel or to view more of her work, visit kristastovel.com.
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