Unfortunately due to the COVID-19 social distancing regulations, we’ve had to cancel our first two Artist Lodge events of the year. We’re heartbroken to have to make this decision but we think it’s for the best. As an artist that vends at large conventions and pop-ups, I’ve experienced the after-effects of con-crud first hand, and I can’t imagine how much worse it would be if you lumped in COVID-19 with it. Because COVID has officially been classified as a pandemic, The Artist Lodge does not want to risk anybody – attendee or artist – getting sick and possibly catching something that could harm themselves or their loved ones.

We are currently holding out until the end of May to see how the progressive reopening of our communities develops before we decide whether or not to cancel our Halloween event in August or our Holiday event in December. We’re hoping that everything happening in the world will calm down and take a turn for the positive.

In the meantime, we’d still love to share artwork with you and promote artists. That’s why we’ve decided to take our WITH LOVE: A Jim Henson Tribute Gallery and put it online for everybody to enjoy! Each week we will feature two artists with a blog and Instagram posts so you can get to know the creators and their work.

This will be a smaller gallery, but filled with a lot of talent! We can’t wait for you to see what they’ve created!

And now without further ado, please say hello to our first featured artist: KAITLIN RELIFORD, also known as NUSURA KNIGHT!

You may recognize Kaitlin from some of our previous Artist Lodge Galleries. She participated in our Mega Mini Monster Mash in 2018 and most recently our Tim Burton/LAIKA Tribute Gallery in 2019.

How old are you?

What is the primary medium you work in?
I primarily use Procreate for my art pieces.

What is your favorite medium to work in?
Ink and paper. I am obsessed with my Pentel Brush pen.

What is your favorite subject matter?
I really like to draw curvy brown girls with curly hair. I am learning to also love drawing plants and am really getting into background design. With everything I draw I try to put my heart into it. I aim to gain an emotional response from my audience. I want the viewer to have my heart.

What art tools do you use, and do you have any tools or brands that you recommend?
I love using my red and colbalt blue prismacolor pencils for my initial sketches and to rough out ideas quickly on paper. It is very forgiving. I use Proart for my sketch books. They are affordable and last me a long time and have pretty good quality paper. I recommend the iPad Pro and Apple pencil to anyone that can afford it. Its expensive but worth the cost!

What sources would you recommend for artists that are interested in pursuing your art medium?
Depending on your interest I highly recommend the Art of Zootopia for character designs and world building. The Illusion of Life by Frank and Ollie is always great for those that was an overview into the history of animation, especially Disney animation. A classical anatomy book is a must and using channels like Croqius Cafe to practice figure drawing. For an in person experience you cannot beat Fullerton College’s Entertainment Design program. This is only my first full semester being in the program but I have learned so much from my teachers! The professor Phil Dimitriadis is so kind and patient with his students and is always willing to help us improve and succeed in the art world! There are others like him in the program that I have yet to meet. Everyone is so kind at Fullerton it’s great!

How and when did you start creating artwork?
I have been creating art since I was 3 but I didn’t start taking it seriously until I was 16. I decided animation was something I wanted to get into after watching Miyazaki’s Spirited Away at the age of 10. After that I knew this was the career for me. After graduating high school, however I was strongly encouraged to go into engineering. After going through an intense engineering program, I realized that art is where I am meant to be and I can’t imagine doing anything else. Engineering has never been my calling and I missed it all throughout college, to the point where I was unhappy. So I abandoned engineering as a career path after I got my engineering degree, and am again taking it seriously, with so much more motivation and focus than I have before! I’ve been creating on a regular basis again as of this year and am excited to see where I end up.

Did you go to school for art?
I am currently attending classes at Fullerton College in their Entertainment Art program. I am thinking of possibly pursuing an undergraduate degree in Art to be able to teach at the university level.

If you could create anything in the world, what would you create?
I would finally create my comic book. I have the idea of a comic centered around a group of magical girls who are all African American women. I have drawn these characters for years and to finally have the time to focus on their and creating their world for all to see would be a dream come true.

What is your ultimate goal as an artist?
My ultimate goal is to give girls of color more attention. I would love to create a television series where a girl of color is the main protagonist. It’s a very distant dream of mine, but I would love it even better if it was produced under a studio that I created. That and to just complete a comic series.

Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on for this show? 
Yes! It a Muppet piece but also an homage to Jim Henson. I wanted this piece to express the love between a creator and their creation. A moment in time where for a while it is just you and your creation, and enjoying the privacy and comfort of just enjoying what you create.

WIP for the WITH LOVE Gallery

What is your favorite Jim Henson film/project/book/etc? 
Anyone who knows me knows its the Muppets haha! I have loved them as a kid and was able to see Kermit and Miss Piggy performing live sometime last year! Needless to say I was a happy girl! I also used to like watching Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and have recently started watching The Dark Crystal.

If you could live in any Jim Henson universe, what would it be? 
The Muppet Universe. Or Fraggle Rock.

Who is your favorite Jim Henson character? Why? 
For me it has to be Kermit. I sometimes feel like Kermit, being surround but an interesting and sometimes whacky group of friends and having to be the person of reason and logic in the group. I feel like I keep the sanity levels to a minimum at times. I relate to Kermit a lot. Especially when he loses his temper haha!

Who would win in a battle, Jareth and his Goblin Army or The Muppets?
That’s actually not an easy answer. I would think Jareth due to the strength of his army. But the Muppets are so goofy and nonsensical that they would probably just play pranks on Jareth’s army! Tough decision really haha.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you all for you support of the gallery and enjoy the show!


*Please note that all artwork is reposted with permission from the artists. Please do not use, alter, or repost the artwork without direct permission from the artists. Each artist may have a different Creative Commons license on their work/images and you will need to contact them directly in order to obtain permission for your uses.

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