Klee Larsen Crawford is a Vancouver-based visual artist, inspired by horizon lines in nature.
Klee loves to combine old and new technologies by using film and then digitalizing the image. Working with film gives Klee her favorite end result of grain from high-speed film and being able to work with a large negative. Painting has become a part of her practice and you can find her in her studio at 1000 Parker Street.
Her current practice of mixed media art combines her love of photography and painting to create a cohesive, dreamy, and moody end result. Klee uses a medium format film camera and prints the image on transparent paper. She then layers the image over top of paint, silver, and gold leaf to create depth and texture. The finished piece is then sealed with resin and cold wax. Each end result is original and because of her process, no two will ever be the same.
Klee is motivated by creating images that intrigue her audience through their mysterious process. She feels a sense of success when her viewer questions if the work is a photograph or a painting. People’s reaction to these pieces motivates her to come up with original and unique work while using classic technique and subject matter. Klee feels complete as an artist when her audience can relive a memory or experience.
Can you tell us a little about how you got to where you are now?
Klee: I grew up in a family full of artists on a small Gulf Island called Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, Canada. I went to photography school in 2002 and wanted to become a fashion photographer. I did work in that industry for a little bit but discovered that I like to make art for myself and if people want to buy it then there is nothing better than that.
Are you currently exploring your art career full-time or part-time? If full-time, what did you leave behind to pursue your art career? If part-time, what do you do in your “day job”?
Klee: Yes! Art is currently my full-time job. I have dabbled in lots of things, tree planter, barista, and lastly, I was working in the film industry as a buyer for sets, which also helped me start an art rental company for the film. I also work occasionally for my sister Janaki Larsen who is an incredible ceramic artist. I have never been very good at a 9-5 job.
How would you define your visual style?
Klee: Constructive playful. I love super clean design with some corkiness added throughout.
What are the main tools that make up your current workflow?
Klee: I use a lot of paint from hardware stores and love mixing my own colors using mis-tints. Silver leaf is great to work with. I love my sander and heat gun. My current practice involves film photography printed on mylar and adhered over many layers of paint and silver leaf. I then seal my pieces using resin and cold wax to give it a matte finish.
What are you inspired by? Where do you go for inspiration? Color, geographic regions, art movements, and so on?
Klee: The ocean! I love that it is always changing throughout the day and season. I’m a West Coast kid at heart. I am also inspired by my husband Sean Evans beautiful dreamy ambient music. Music to me is the most foreign language and it blows my mind.
Would life be different if you didn’t act on your creativity? How?
Klee: I’m sure it would be, I don’t know what I would do. Creativity has always been part of my life at such a young age. It’s how I connect with my family. I really have no idea what I would do if I wasn’t working in a creative field.
Can you take us through a little of your typical day?
Klee: I think people that aren’t full-time artists think it’s very glamorous. You get visions of an artist in their giant white studio painting and drinking wine and having art shows. For me, it’s a very small part of it. There are lots of driving around, picking up materials, emails, Instagram, promotion, photographing potential new scenes for art, editing scanned negatives, updating websites, photographing finished work, putting wires on work, and then the best part of being in the studio and making messes while drinking wine.
What has been your most favorite project so far, and why?
Klee: I think one of my more favorite projects was a piece I completed last year for VanCity credit union in Vancouver. It was a 6.5 ft circle that I used found objects and more than 20 Gal of resin to create a nest. It was a great piece for me because I am known more for my photography and this project was made using found objects. I have a stop motion of creating it on my website.
What’s happening now at your studio? What new projects are on the horizon?
Klee: I have a few things going on at the moment. I have my mixed media photo-based work that I make for my site. I just completed a commission for someone just using silver leaf and 10 layers of resin to create a mirror-like piece. Also starting some more silver leaf pieces that I will be putting photos on and not using paint.
How can people follow your news?
Klee: Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/
Website – https://kleelarsen.com/