The US painter Christine Rasmussen about femininity and boundaries

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Please introduce yourself to us!

I’m a professional artist living and working in Los Angeles, after having been raised all over the world by a family of creative global nomads. I’m passionate about creativity, connection and collaboration.

In your work you explore femininity, boundaries and urban scenes – how do you do this and what ideas do you want to share?

My exploration of femininity arises from my upbringing in three different countries with entirely different cultures. I’m interested in traditional women’s roles and challenging them, exploring femininity as a force of nature—fearless, unfettered and unapologetic. My symbol for femininity is the discarded garment, which often floats freely through the urban scenes. There’s a lot of content in cloth – it references both decorating and covering the human body, while weaving, sewing and washing have been traditionally “women’s” work. The straight lines of the architecture can suggest boundaries, especially with the walls and fences that create barriers. Sometimes they offer glimmers of opportunity, with doors and windows hinting at something beyond. The contrast of the almost cinematic, in-motion cloth against the static urban scene suggests a story that is still unfolding. I’m always curious to hear what the audience sees happening.

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Yes She Can, 2017, oil painting on canvas, 30×30 cm

Has your approach, your ideas and process changed throughout your artistic career?

Absolutely! I’m constantly learning and honing my technical skills. I actually started off making abstract paintings, but as I developed my painting skills and found my voice, I moved towards representational painting that uses symbols to hint at narratives. My color palette has become brighter, with more yellows and oranges, since I moved to Los Angeles, probably because the light here is so golden. I’ve always used photo references for my paintings, but as I’ve gotten better at photography, I’m able to do more. For example, I can now paint cloth in motion from photos I’ve taken.

My ideas have also changed and evolved. When I began painting architecture and urban scenes, they were more personal, about memory and loss, and trying to find roots or grounding since I had a very nomadic lifestyle and moved every 1-2 years (I am now trying to stay put!). Then I started exploring femininity, and created a series called “Flawless” about refusing to apologize for femininity, recognizing that pretty isn’t weak. About a year and a half ago I realized that I want to explore femininity and boundaries in a more positive, empowering way. Rather than simply looking at the inequity, stereotypes and cultural norms that have traditionally held women back, my newest series, “Fenomenal” is all about owning femininity. Finding inspiration from women – and men – who are taking action around gender parity and working towards a brighter future, I hope that my bold and fearless representations will be a platform to shine light on and start conversations around creating a more equitable world for all.

How would you describe the recent artistic scene in Los Angeles?

It’s a really exciting time to be in the LA art scene. LA has been a capital for the film and fashion industries, and now it is becoming a leader in the art world too. It’s energizing to be in such a creative city that values the arts. Since I moved here two and half years ago, I’ve had so many opportunities, met dozens of talented artists, and been thrilled with the world-class shows and programming. I love that these happen both in galleries and museums, but also in alternative spaces and as public art that make the arts more accessible to all. I think the usually sunny weather and the gorgeous southern California light contribute to the ardor of the artists I’ve met here, and certainly to the bright colors that appear in a lot of contemporary work.

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Swarm Around Me, 2018, oil painting on canvas, 61×61 cm

What are the contemporary artists that inspire your work and that you admire?

I actually have very eclectic tastes in terms of style and what inspires me – sometimes it’s the concept and not the execution, or visa versa, that catches my attention and makes me think about my own work in a new way. Recently, I’ve been inspired by contemporary painters Jessica Hess, Sharon Feder, Albert Guasch and Amir H. Fallah; photographer Sinziana Velicescu; and writers Sandra Cisneros and Neil Gaiman. Although their work is very different from mine, other contemporary artists I admire include Masakatsu Sashie, Ellen Jewett and Kara Maria.

What have been the highlights of your artistic career so far?

Highlights include getting paintings into two public collections – the Hilbert Museum of California Art and Imagery Estate Winery; being awarded a Chalk Hill Artist Residency; curating a show of five fantastic artists called “Memories on Location;” and having my first solo show here in Los Angeles at Launch LA.

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Here Today, Gone, oil painting on canvas, 61×61 cm

Christine Rasmussen on Singulart: https://www.singulart.com/en/artist/christine-rasmussen-1083

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