If you’ve ever strolled through the University Village, you’ve probably seen Kirsten McElfresh’s work. Since 2009, Kirsten has decked out dress forms and display windows for the bustling center’s Anthroplogie location. A departure from her day-to-day work, Kirsten chooses a different creative outlet in her free time: Painting. Currently on display in our SODO café, Kirsten’s work highlights nature’s organic beauty.
Take us through your creative process.
My latest work has been paintings and drawings of plants that have inspired me from my ventures in gardening and foraging. I like to play with the paint color in my backgrounds and will often paint multiple layers and even sand it down again and again before it feels right.
Was there a moment when you knew you wanted to be an artist?
Art has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I used to draw still lifes of my stuffed animals when I was a kid, and I loved doing crafts with my grandmother. It was never a decision I had to make; it’s just who I am.
Where do you find inspiration?
I spend a lot of my free time working in my garden. Otherwise I am out hiking the woods with my husband and dog, foraging for mushrooms or other choice edibles. I find inspiration in the unique individuality and subtle flaws of each plant, and I try to highlight that in my work.
If you could enjoy a meal with three artists, who would you choose?
In college I had three friends [who] majored in studio art with me. We were the ones that would stick around the art building all hours of the night just making work and debating about art. We were art nerds. I would definitely want to have a meal with them; having a community to discuss and debate art really helps you grow and improve.
How did you decide to show your work at Macrina?
I feel that the subject matter of my art works well with a restaurant. It’s so nice that art is not restricted to galleries alone and that many businesses help the arts. By showing in alternative spaces, we are exposing people to artwork that would otherwise not have seen it.
Look for Kirsten’s pieces in our SODO café through the end of September and then at our Belltown café for the month of October.