MRC x Kirsten Stackhouse

We sat down with Kirsten, the artist behind our latest #MRCArtists Collection 
to talk about her art and what "the spirit of the East Coast" means to her. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Kirsten Stackhouse, I was born and raised in rural New Brunswick,
and I am based in Fredericton now. I started exploring digital art at a very young
age, creating illustrations and tutorials, and expressing myself through digital
painting. I went on to study Graphic Design and Theatre, and I’ve worked as a
designer and illustrator both in the agency world and as a freelancer. I now work
full time as an instructor at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, and
do freelancing and fun projects for myself on the side. Outside of working, I love
exploring the East Coast by car, bike, and boat, taking photographs, and I have a
weird obsession with finding off-the-path rural gas stations and convenience
stores - they have so much personality!

When did you first find a passion for art and what inspires your work?

I started creating drawings in Microsoft Paint as soon as I was able to use a
computer, which developed into experimenting with better programs and tools by
the time I was a teenager. That was in the mid 2000s, and there were a lot of
resources and communities online I latched on to, both to learn from and share
my work with. Present day, I do a lot of character-based and abstract illustrations
for clients, but when I do work truly for myself it’s very split stylistically - half of
that work is very clean and line-based or geometric, often incorporating icons or
text. This more graphic style really suits stickers and apparel, but at the core the
work usually links back to trying to express a place or theme. The other half of me
is more painterly, usually inspired by atmosphere and mood. I feel something or
want to explore a feeling, and I will try to create a digital painting that
communicates that energy.

Who is your favourite artist? 

Growing up I was a huge fan of Lois van Baarle, Emmy Cicierega, and Alice
Zhang, I taught myself to draw by watching those digital artists. I’m a big fan of
photographers Franco Fontana and Michael Kenna, and I love the minimal
landscape work by Newfoundland based photographer Ned Pratt. With regards to
designers, I’m a fan of Kate Moross, Aaron Draplin, Marta Veludo, Morag
Myerscough, and Saul Bass (just to name a few haha).

You chose to donate a portion of the proceeds from sales of your collection
to the John Howard Society of Fredericton. What does this charity mean to

During the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic the number of homeless people
just in Fredericton alone exploded. The John Howard Society assists inmates, ex-
offenders, and those considered “at risk” to offend (due to their economic,
emotional, social, or other factors). A major commitment of theirs is to end
homelessness. They provide shelter and support to homeless people, regardless
of their past, and it’s a charity and cause I really feel passionately about

What does "the spirit of the East Coast" mean to you?

There is a unique kindness and a special kind of beauty here. But I think the spirit
of the East Coast really lives in small moments: bonfires with friends, kayaking
with your toes touching the water, road trips to the ocean, making a run to the gas
station just for Polar Pops, five friends pushing another friend’s car up an icy hill,
floating in lakes, hazy sunsets, and all of that stuff.. I think it’s all of those little
moments you really miss when you are somewhere that is not here that actually
make the East Coast so special to me.

Shop Kirsten's collection here:

Follow Kirsten on Instagram here:

Check out more of Kirsten's work here:

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