As a child, artist Kristina Supernova was hooked on fairy tales—today, she creates her own fictional characters.
To describe her work—which has readily appeared on tables, walls, and trucks—as mere illustrations and paintings, wouldn’t do it justice. The Frankfurt-based visual artist, recreates animals, cats, beetles, rabbits, and perhaps most frequently, dogs—her style being characterized by a mix of “human absurdity” and “animal coolness.” Case in point: Dogs wearing sunglasses and a beaming smile while sipping champagne with their ears sailing in the wind.
In addition to portraying these amusing characters, Kristina illustrates human bodies, mostly female, and faces with multiple eyes reminiscent of ancient Egyptian drawings. Sometimes her work includes onomatopoeic words such as “Blah Blah Blah.”
Kristina has also teamed up with many brands, such as Adidas, Jost, and Ikea, and often collaborated with magazines. Her work, however, isn’t limited to computer-generated images or canvas work. With an interest in three-dimensional objects, Kristina also covers cupboards, walls, T-shirts, human bodies, trucks, and even elevators with characters.
We spoke with Kristina about her role models, inspirations and ever-evolving relationship with Frankfurt.
Kristina, what brought you to Frankfurt?
My education; I studied digital media in Darmstadt. Prior to that, I completed a foundation degree in Denmark at the Højskole in Aarhus, where, for six months, I tapped into ceramics, philosophy, politics, outdoor activities, medicine, art, and project management.
How has your relationship with the city evolved since you first moved?
It definitely became my home and my city. Frankfurt grew on my heart, because many important life moments happened here. I see how Frankfurt is developing and Frankfurt sees me developing.
You are originally from Lithuania. What motivated you to leave?
I had wanted to leave Lithuania since I was a little kid. Not because it was bad there, but because I was very curious. My grandmother told me about different countries and cultures. And I thought: ‘Where? I want to see it all, I want to go there. I want to see how locals live.’ That was important to me from the start, to have this global view of things.
When did you start drawing and painting?
I worked in agencies for a while, but that didn’t suit me. When jobs are monotonous for too long, I feel uncomfortable. It gets boring, and there is a lack of challenges. Two years ago, I realized that if I wanted to take my work seriously, I would have to put all my energy into it, 150 percent. Of course, the art and illustration work has been going on for some time now, about 15 years.
How do you come up with the characters in your work?
The animals are part of an imaginary world, but they always have a human trait. That’s how I make it funny, with this absurdity of humankind.
What is your relationship with these characters?
Once they are finished, my characters become individual living beings to me. They start to live their own lives, and with all of them I have a very special connection. When I look at them, I even can feel their thoughts and feelings.
Did you have role models growing up?
My grandmother owned a bookshop and had a room full of books. I grew up with fairy tales and always read a lot. I thought of my everyday life as a story and assigned specific roles to every tree, every object, animal, or even to people.
What are some of the things you do to nurture your imagination?
I try constantly to learn new things. Feed my curiosity about this world. Time with myself alone is very important. And also the process of creating and painting is a source of inspiration and ideas in itself.
What is the last thing that you learned about yourself as an artist?
That sometimes things take time and that is good, and that I need to learn to better accept that.
Kristina Supernova is an artist based in Frankfurt and partly Berlin. Apart of canvases and paper, her work has appeared on buildings, walls, elevators, trucks and human bodies. Including collaborations with the likes of Adidas, Monosuit and LaMarzocco. To see more of her work visit her website or head over to her Instagram.