Kristen Moore’s Bold and Colorful Art
The Denver artist brings loads of color, memory, and joy to her canvas
Kristen Moore is a giant in exuberance, which may explain why this diminutive artist seems larger than her 5 feet, high tops not withstanding.
The Pittsburgh-born Colorado mom has much art-world experience: She opened and ran two Colorado galleries, now works as a country club designer, and, as often as life allows, paints in her basement studio in the company of girl-heavy Spotify mixes.
Her work is a happy accumulation of figurative forms, feisty humor, folk art elements, bits of Picasso, and lots of bold color. Pink ponytails, yellow horses, a well-dressed blue doll that has “How you doin’ doll?” written in the background—these are trademarks of the Moore vernacular.
Not at all a shock, then, that she vividly remembers her first infatuation with color. “Someone had dumped the stones from a fish tank in the alley behind my grandmother’s apartment on Race Street … blues, greens, pinks, oranges, and yellows … I sat mesmerized and picked through them, drawn as if by a magnet.”
Moore often spent weekends drawing with her Nana, who had been an art major at Carnegie Mellon. Expressing herself on paper provided a conduit to confidence for the painfully shy, studious young Moore.
“I did a super-detailed boat drawing in my art class with Mr. P, and my father loved it and paid to have it framed. It still hangs in my mother’s house,” she says. “I think that’s when I realized the amazing value of art. It felt so good to have my father love it.”
Moore earned her BFA in painting and photography at CU in Boulder and spent time studying in Florence during her 20s. “That is where I fell in love with art itself,” she says, “along with bucatini carbonara, fine leather shoes, and an Italian waiter named Roman.”
Eventually she packed her fine shoes, said ciao to Roman, and returned stateside to settle in Colorado. “Under that huge expanse of blue sky, I found that I was free, and my creative side emerged full force.”
This super-sized spirit is felt in her work. Moore’s pieces almost always elicit first a smile and then a long stare, necessary to absorb the more complex ideas that the seemingly simple forms evoke. They also often impart a winking bit of humor, which comes as a great relief—as if Moore’s acknowledging the attention, but wants to say “yeah, it’s interesting, but don’t take it too seriously.”
“I paint how I remember something, how it felt to be there.” — Kristen Moore
“I think that overall, my art is expressive,” she says. “I love to simplify the subjects in non-traditional proportions. Symbols and writing play a large role, as do texture and layering. I’m not interested in realism—I love color and how perceptions can be influenced by different hues … how memories surface … times and places are remembered.”
Moore’s closet, a spin art of color gone mad and badass shoes with everything from sequin-covered heels to faux-fur pink hiking boots, informs the framing of her pieces.
“It’s the jewelry of art,” she explains of her unexpected Baroque-like “gold” and faux snakeskin choices, all somehow elevating her work rather than detracting from it.
“Some have a said my work has a folk-like quality, and I think that emerges from the simplification of subject and the intentional uses of unexpected colors. Plus, a childlike view always keeps the work more fun than work, and I never take myself too seriously … unless I’m hungry.”