The Heroine’s Journey of Kristen Ulla

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

Last year I quit my day job and became a full time artist. I love the whole creative process and as for the business end I love coming up with ideas and implementing those ideas into action. I love being my own boss.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?  

Wow. Good question. I don’t believe happiness exists 100% of the time. My perfect idea of happiness is having my friends and family around me with all of them being healthy and me working at art in my own studio and being hugely successfull at my art so I can make enough money to live very comfortably.

What is my greatest fear?  

My greatest fear is having someone I love get sick or pass away. I do not do well with the pain of losing a loved one.  I wish I had a better attitude about death.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

I beat myself up quite a bit. I deplore my self loathing which in itself is funny. It’s those feelings of reaching for perfection but never being able to attain perfection that I get down on myself for.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

The first artist that comes to mind is Wyland. He is a finacially successful artist and when I watched an interview with him his advice to other artists was “just be nice.” I liked that simple advice. Here is a successful artist who treats others with kindness. I like that. Wyland also gives back by donating to environmental causes. I like that too.

What is my greatest extravagance?

I discovered sable bristle brushes. I love them! I had not realized what a difference an expensive brush could make in my painting. The paint goes on the canvas like butter with sable brushes. I still use my cheap brushes for much of what I do but when I need those details there is nothing quite like an expensive sable brush.

On what occasion would I lie?

I would lie to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

The creative process can be quite solitary. I don’t like some of the emotions that come up when I am painting. I have said that painting is my therapy and it really is. Not all of the therapy is warm and fuzzy though. Sometimes some dark emotions raise up to the surface and I have learned to deal with them in a creative way. I don’t like those emotions though. I like being happy and positive much better.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?  

I am happiest now. I took a chance and quit my job and now it’s on me only to succeed or fail. I like being responsible for my own destiny. This has been a challenging year but I believe I will look back one day as this was one of the best years of my life.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

I would like to have more energy like when I was in my 20’s. I would not want to go back there physically but I would like to have that energy again.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

I think I’m achieving it right now. I have taken the risk and the chance to be able to achieve my dream of living and being an artist. My dad was an artist and my grandfather was an artist and I want to make them proud of me. I want to honor our shared ancestry and last name, Grunewald.

Where would I most like to live? 

I want to live in Hawaii for awhile. I love the water and the ocean. I love the way Hawaii smells. It has the scent of rich soil and plumerias and salty air. I want to swim and snorkel every day and watch the sun set over the ocean nightly.

What is my most treasured possession?

My friends.

What is my most marked characteristic?

My wicked sense of humor.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

My own studio.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

Los Angeles has so many restaurants and clubs. I do like the independently owned establishments. We have great taquerias and Mexican food here in L.A. We also have awesome food trucks with gourmet food. I don’t think there is any one place that is my favorite. Any place that has a cozy atmosphere and where the help is friendly I am a fan of.

What books influenced my life and how?

Illusions by Richard Bach. This book changed my life. It taught me that we create our own realities and are responsible for our own lives and everything in it. I highly recommend this book.

Who are my favorite writers?

I read such a variety of books and periodicals. I can not think of any one favorite writer. I read mainly educational and infomative books these days. I was a voracious reader of fiction when I was a kid.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen to on my last day?

Music from the 70’s. Maybe the Beach Boys. I would want to die with a smile on my face and the Beach Boys would definitely make me smile.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? 

Nancy Drew. I read all of those mystery books when I was a kid. Nancy Drew could solve any case!

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

My mom. My dad. My sister, Mona, who has such a genuine heart. My partner, Gary, who supports me in everything I do.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? 

Forrest Gump.

What role does art play in my life and work?

A huge part! I have committed to making art my career. This is who I am. You always get a clue of who you truly are by looking back at what you did as a kid. I was always drawing and painting as a youngster. I think finding out who you really are is like peeling an onion. You take away the parts that are NOT you. I keep peeling away daily. There is no turning back now.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

I am blessed to have some amazing, beautiful and authentic friends who support me in everything I do. I am also blessed to have my man, Gary Lyn, who is my partner in crime for sure!  If I were to get arrested for something this man would not be bailing me out but would be in handcuffs right beside me.

Whom would I like to work with in 2018?

The Dali Lama.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2018?

There are some amazingly talented artists out there. I wish I could meet some of those artists that are no longer with us. I think Picasso would have been interesting to meet. I would have loved to have known Thomas Hart Benton.  I would have been thrilled to talk to Monet.

What project, in 2018, am I looking forward to working on?

I am excited about recycling and refurbishing some old, used canvases that I got from an estate sale. I have a thing for turning something drab into something interesting and beautiful. I look forward to creating some unique pieces with these used canvases and frames. It’s like Christmas! Whatever turns out will be a surprise even to me!

Where can you see me or my work in 2018?

I am active on Facebook where I post and sell my work. I am also on Instagram and Twitter. I have a website where my paintings are available for purchase. If you travel to Hawaii and visit the island of Kauai you can see my art at Aspire Design Center in Lihue.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

To me it means that if you are passionate about what you do then you live that way for the rest of your life. If you are an artist then that is what you are. You can never not be an artist. You can never quit or retire. It is who you are.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

I have many wonderful artist friends on Facebook. Many of the female artists that I follow have a wonderful story to tell!

How can you contact me?


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