Artist Kristen Neufelder officially began her life as an artist back in elementary school, perfecting how to draw cats with pupil-less eyes and horses with backs so elongated that 20 people could fit comfortably on their backs. Equipped with her Ranger Rick magazines and How To Draw Horses books, she began to develop her animal drawing skills. Throughout middle and high school, she began to further broaden her skills and grew her subject base to include human figures and landscapes. By the end of high school, she had discovered a love of oil painting, committing herself to pursue that passion in college.
After two years in art school working towards a Bachelors in painting, she began to get burnt out and craved using the non-creative side of her brain. Eventually, Kristen changed her major to psychology and took a break from all artistic pursuits. After a two year “artistic drought,” she began to refocus on painting as a hobby. She experimented with subjects and styles that had real meaning to her, and it was then that her artistic style emerged.
Today, Kristen has expanded her painting business to include design, photography and videography. She owns a business called enCompass Studio doing everything from wedding photography to senior videos to website design along with oil painting. She is also currently in graduate school pursuing a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. “I enjoy the balance of pursuing my creative passions along with my passion for helping others,” she said.
Kristen’s oil paintings are comprised of layers and layers of paint that have been splattered and dripped onto canvas utilizing a variety of techniques. The background is then filled with animal images, her favorites being wolves and lions. These more detailed animal images are painted in a transparent manner, allowing the background paint layers to still show through. Some paintings are finished off with a mountainous or forested landscape painted in this same transparent manner.
You can tell from looking at Kristen’s work that she is inspired by western motifs and color schemes, finding inspiration in wild animals and Native American culture. “I’ve grown up fascinated with Native American culture and spirituality, and it’s always guided me along in the creative process. A lot of my symbolism and themes relate back to Native American influence. Along with finding inspiration in wild animals and Native American culture, I love horoscopes, zodiac signs, constellations and star charts. Cave art, in all its simplicity and beauty, has always spoken to me on an artistic level. I love stories, storytelling, symbolism and finding meaning in the mundane, and that’s the direction the inspiration for my paintings have been taking me in lately.”
ORANJE will be a new experience for Kristen, who has been involved in two RAW: Natural Born Artists showcases here in Indianapolis as well as various First Fridays at the Historic Irving Theater on Indy’s eastside. ”This is my first year at ORANJE and I’m honored to have been given this opportunity! I’m most excited to get to show off all my hard work to individuals who haven’t yet had a chance to check out my paintings. ORANJE is such an amazing opportunity to check out what local artists and musicians have been up to, that people should definitely come check it out.”
Make sure to check out Kristen’s booth, where she will have an interactive piece that will allow attendees a hands-on chance to get involved in what she does. “I would love for as many people to get to participate with it as possible!”