Upon visiting Creative Coworking, people are often struck by our impressive collection of local art. Surrealist dreamscapes, whimsical collages, hyper-realistic portraits, and more have all found a temporary home here, making our office space a key player in the Evanston art scene. In this blog feature, we highlight artists whose work is currently on display. Today’s featured artist is Kristen Neveu.

What sparked your initial interest in creating art?

I began creating artwork after I graduated from college. I was working at Getty Images/Tony Stone Images as a photo researcher. (I majored in Communications in college with a minor in Anthropology.) I needed a creative outlet in the evenings. I started by painting salvaged wood that I picked up in the alleys near my apartment in Chicago.

How would you describe your style?

In my work there are upward patterns of growth and movement that are rooted in the past but examine what may happen in the future. I create layered collages that have a lot of texture and tell a story. I’m an artist and cultural anthropologist.

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What are your opinions on the Evanston/Chicago arts community? How do you see your work in relation to this community?

I love that the Evanston art community has the Evanston Made event (formerly called Open Studios Evanston). It’s very welcoming. Chicago is the same way. I’m friends with a lot of artists in the area, and I’m thankful for that. My work is appreciated by them and there’s dialogue of supporting each other.

Is there a particular piece of yours that is currently on display that you feel really represents your style/means something personal to you?

I’ve been photographing ceramic figurines that were my mother’s, which she passed down to me when I was a kid. They are featured in a few pieces – “Roseland,” “Bluebell,” “Dreamwood.”

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Do you have any upcoming exhibitions/plans/projects?

Creative Coworking’s Art & Wine Night on July 16, Ravenswood Art Walk in the fall, Evanston Public Library in March 2017. I’m currently working on a few commissions as well.

How did you discover Creative Coworking as a venue for displaying your work?

I work at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and several of my colleagues there referred me to Angela, who is great!

Are there particular motifs/themes/symbols that you are fond of using in your work?  

In my collages, I have a recurring theme of classic cars, blooming flowers, TV sets, clocks, watches, rings, and ceramic figurines. To me, these are symbols of fleeting time, but they also endure. I tend to use a lot of my own photos of these items mixed with images from product manuals from the 1950s and 1960s.

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How do you see your art evolving in the next few years?

I see myself using more of my own photography in my collages to recycle images. Recently I’ve been purchasing more ceramic figures at thrift stores and garage sales to photograph and use in my work. In addition, I’ve also lately been printing out photos of my collages and cutting them up and then reusing them in new work. I’m really into recreating new patterns out of things from the past.