A monthly column that keeps its finger on the pulse of Forsyth’s artists and their inspiring stories
BY TARYN JEREZ
This month’s featured artist, Kris Fulk, creates a whimsical world within her illustrations that gives a delightful nod to the fantastical! From fashion and fantasy to artwork and photography she has spent her career making space for the stories that beg to be told.
Kris Fulk | Artist and Illustrator
How would you describe your work?
I use watercolors, colored pencil and oil pastels, and I have a very whimsical style. The other day on Facebook a friend said she loved seeing my art on her feed because my art looks happy – and I absolutely loved that description.
What experiences in your life have influenced your art most?
Hearing folktales and stories about mythical creatures from when I was a young child growing up in the Philippines had helped shape my love for the “fantastic” early. And those stories I retell now to my children and encourage them to ask for more stories from their Lolo (or “grandfather”). It’s just so beautiful seeing their eyes light up with wonder, their imaginations churning.
How have you evolved, personally, as an artist?
I went through a variety of art styles. When I was in elementary and middle school, I was known for recreating Marvel superheroes. The very first artwork my dad had framed of mine was a color pencil of Rogue from the X-Men that I copied from her trading card in 1994. I had a whole book of trading cards that I actively collected and traded until I became a freshman in high school – I may actually still have it! Once I was in high school, I experimented with manga style of illustration, but I just knew I wanted to be a fashion designer so all of my drawings evolved into fashion illustrations – a far cry from the style of comic book superheroes. It’s funny reflecting on it now, because when I got accepted to my dream college (the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC) one of the main critiques from my fashion illustration professors was that my drawings of the fashion form were too muscular when they’re supposed to be long and super lean. I finished my bachelors with an art degree in Maryland many years later, at St. Mary’s College of Southern Maryland, where I focused on photography and children’s illustration.
Being a multi passionate artist, how do you carve out time for both sides of your work?
It’s actually very hard. Most of my time is dedicated to my photography business and it uses a different part of my brain. More of the analytical side, which is, apparently, not conducive to painting whimsy. Sometimes it will be a year before I paint again, and I always feel not quite whole until I do. This pandemic has given me a lot more time to focus on painting and illustrating, though, so hopefully I can keep it up from here on out. One of my dreams now is to write and illustrate my own children’s book.
What are you working on that excites you right now?
I’ve been working on portrait commissions. A lot of pets and house portraits. Most of my commission requests for these are because the pets have passed or the houses are about to be sold or have just sold. It’s bittersweet but I feel like I’m helping people have memories. It’s very different from my photography, where I help businesses and brands with their advertising or promotional images.
What is something you appreciate about the local art scene?
I love the local art scene here in Winston-Salem! Everyone pretty much knows everyone else, and I didn’t realize how nice that was until I started living here. You get a lot of support from the community.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with fellow artists?
Just one? Gosh, I have a bunch but let me say this most important one for those who want to be a working artist and not a hobbyist: being an artist is wonderful for the soul, but you need to learn how to price your work properly so that you can grow. Learn about business and how to protect your intellectual property through copyright and licensing. It’s very common to be discouraged from this profession, but when you are armed with all this knowledge, you set your art for success.
If you are interested in learning more about Kris Fulk you can follow her on Instagram @krisfulkart and email her at email@example.com.