Kristin Farr : Artist You Should Know
The “Artist You Should Know” series highlights Bay Area artists before they exhibit their work somewhere awesome, it’s our way of supporting the creative community and helping to keep San Francisco a strange and wonderful place. Meet artist, curator and journalist Kristin Farr, and see her work at First Amendment Gallery on 4/20/18. Free admission and free diamonds!
If you’ve lived in San Francisco for a minute, chances are you’ve seen Farr’s work on a street corner somewhere, or on a soundstage, or on TV, or even covering someone’s butt. Yeah, her colors are seen far and wide, she’s famous for her bright palette in the art world, her careful insights in the writing world, and now she’s famous for her wit and sarcasm at Broke-Ass Stuart.com…which, of course, is the most important one of those three things. So meet Kristin Farr, an artist you should know.
NAME: Kristin Rae Farr Meadows, esq.
Mediums: Paint, wood, magic.
(Broke-Ass) What was your first job in San Francisco?
(Kristin) Flower delivery person.
I’m a sophisticated graduate with a BFA or FUCK art school!
I’m unsophisticated and I have a BA in fine art, not even a legit BFA.
When you’re choosing what colors to use in a mural, do you think about the surrounding area, or how the colors may affect people’s moods? Like at the learning center, did you think, I want to choose colors that will inspire ‘learning’, or did you think, ‘I want to choose colors so intense that honey bees will fly into them.’
Color choice is really about trying to force myself NOT to make a rainbow. My natural tendency is to use all the colors. ALL OF THEM.
It’s funny you mention the bees, because bugs often land on my paintings, and I have to yell at them, “It’s not candy!” The Learning Center actually had a ton of roaches underfoot, and I once painted a colony of roly-poly bugs pink by accident because I didn’t know they were living between the bricks.
Sometimes, yes, I do create a custom color palette for commissioned projects, but I prefer to use as many colors as possible. 15 minimum.
Overall, I want to provide a bright and happy moment for visual delight in the concrete jungle, so the brightest colors are my favorite. I recently heard the fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi say ,“People crave color and they don’t even know it,” and I agree.
How do you keep your lines so straight on such a big surface?
Steady hand, lots of practice, expensive paint brushes, and I draw the patterns with a pencil and yardstick or a chalk line, which is an old-timey tool that is fun to use. If you look up close and scrutinize the lines, they’re hella wavy. But don’t scrutinize! Just go on thinking I paint like a super-human.
You put your art on pants. How does an artist do that?
Some start-up company will reach out to exploit the hell out of you. They even have the nerve to make you actually pay for your own pair of the pants with your art on it. They promise you “20% of sales,” but they rarely pay up. I have spent way more money than I ever made on apparel projects just trying to get a handful of these items for gifts for my family.
This has happened to me a few times (backpacks! watches! dresses sold all over the world!) and then the companies go under, and the pants become super limited edition. However, I’d rather have the rainbow pants and no money, than no pants at all.
You’ve written about art for the New York Times, does that mean you’re a coastal elitist now?
You can write for the NYT from your couch in California, so that’s what I did. I’m much too soft to be a real East Coaster but I did live there as a kid. West Coast = Best Coast.
What was your last great night out in San Francisco?
Seeing Bob the Drag Queen and Kendra McKinley at my friend’s live podcast taping at the Chapel last week.
(BAS Sidenote: Bob The Drag Queen is pretty fucking amazing)
This is the best thing I've done. Get your body ready. #yetanotherdig
Posted by Bob The Drag Queen on Monday, September 25, 2017
If you can only paint with one color for the rest of your life, what color do you choose?
We were dead sober watching your Emmy Award Winning KQED Art School series and it made us feel like we had accidentally eaten some drugs. Any comment?
HOW DARE YOU! Did you even listen to the interview? I specifically said in that video that my work does not aim to be psychedelic! My paintings look crazy under blacklight but I try to keep that info a secret from raver hippies like you. No comment.
How to Look at Public Art by Kristin Farr, Jon Brown & Annelise Wunderlich:
What’s the coolest gallery right now?
Any SF artists you think are outstanding right now?
Favorite Street art right now?
The stuff written on walls by non-artists. Someone once tagged NEVERMIND THE GUMBO in 10-foot letters over on one of my murals. Words to live by.
What does it take to make it as an artist in SF these days?
A relocation to the East Bay and a day job or two (or seven)?
You write for Juxtapoz Magazine (which we love) so you interview artists all day, any favorite interview(s) to mention?
Working with my friends to make Juxtapoz is a dream. It’s a real privilege to ask famous artists whatever I want, and the magazine means something special to many artists.
Some of my favorite hits are only in print, and only for the eyes of legit subscribers! My all-time fave interviews were probably Daniel Clowes and David Shrigley, who were in the same issue with Clowes on the cover, and that was my home-run of 2012. My new fave artist is Caroline Wells Chandler, who I just interviewed on our site (juxtapoz.com)
What’s coming up for you?
I have a two-person painting exhibit called “Bad at Math” at First Amendment Gallery opening on 4/20, bro! I’m showing with Jose di Gregorio, and we are painting murals outside the gallery, and I will be giving away free diamonds at the opening.
Then I am going to paint every available surface at a music festival in Tennessee, and a couple murals in Sacramento and one in LA on an ice cream shop.
Also I’m a curator and journalist for my day jobs, so I have a lot of emails coming up for sure.
After that, my dream is to change my style entirely and just paint beautiful scenes from my favorite movies in a really crappy way.
See Kristin’s work at First Amendment in the SOMA this Spring:
Bad At Math
A Duo Exhibition By
Jose Di Gregorio
Opening Reception | Thursday, April 19th
Showing Through | May 17th 2018
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