Having great artists is what makes each Wine & Design location special. Every instructor comes from a different artistic background – mixing in their personality and expertise in each class. To shed light on the puzzle pieces that make this company not only successful, but a unique experience for our customers, we’ve decided to start featuring them on a monthly basis! For the month of April, we’re spotlighting Kristin Lozoya, an artist from our Cary, NC studio.
Kristin Lozoya is a mother, activist, artist and an important piece to the Wine & Design Franchise. Currently, she is one of our top producing artists. You’ve might have seen her work, such as Slayed, Show Stopper and Girl Beauty. With her use of bold colors and strong female characters, Kristin’s paintings embody a sense of empowerment.
Kristin’s inspiration and muse outside of W&D is her curious 6 year old daughter Sophie, who is not defined by, but lives with Autism. Sophie, and her therapy bird, is often a topic that Kristin highlights in her work (see below). Being diagnosed at 18 months, the journey has been a difficult one for Kristin and her family, but she has always kept her eye on the light at the end of the tunnel. Kristin has used those difficulties as motivation and inspiration for her work and activism for Autism Awareness. Being that April is Autism Awareness month, the timing could have not have been more perfect to tell some of Kristin’s story with Sophie, and how she has managed to continue to be an incredible artist at the Cary, NC studio. Read Kristin’s journey with Wine & Design!
When did you become a Wine & Design artist and why?
"I joined Wine & Design in July of 2010. I was put in touch with Harriet Mills, our CEO, through a contact at my previous employer Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County. I was the art program coordinator at Wake BGCA for 3 years and was looking for a job with flexible hours so my husband and I could start a family."
What’s your favorite part about hosting a Wine & Design event?
“I love the challenge of teaching a group of adults with zero painting experience. It has made me a better artist! I have to articulate things I haven't thought of in years. As a working artist, certain things become muscle memory and being in an environment where you have to speak plainly about the process of painting is an amazing experience. I also love teaching children. It is my roots – where I began! Teaching children is like riding a tornado and trying to direct it where to go. It is the biggest thrill when you take command of the kiddie tornado!”
Out of our five divisions, which is your favorite?
“Tough question! I love the Paint It Forward events. I have organized a few for Autism Speaks and my daughter's special needs school. It's a great opportunity to use my skills acquired during my time working with non-profit. I also love learning about new causes and meeting all the generous people that are drawn to such an event.”
Besides Wine & Design, do you do anything else?
"When I am fortunate enough, I paint and illustrate commissions for clients. Along with working as a freelance artist, I am working on writing a book about my experiences as an Autism Mom and the special relationship we have with her therapy birds. Working at Wine & Design has been an amazing fit as a special needs mom. With therapy appointments and working on her therapy program at home, I am incredibly thankful for such a flexible schedule. I have written a lot about my early experiences as an autism mom on my blog www.bububabble.blogspot.com."
Describe your artwork in 5 words or less
Colorful. Well-drawn. Whimsical. Narrative. Mine. 😉
What/who inspires you to create?
“I am inspired by love. When I fell in love with my husband, Ozzy, I became much more prolific as an artist. And when I worked with at-risk youth at the BGCA I took so many of those kids in my heart and it inspired a large series of portrait paintings. And of course, my beautiful daughter has been an amazing muse. She inspires me everyday to look at the world in a new way. She is truly a unique person and I hope to be more like her. She pushes me to be better. This journey with her has required my husband and I to rise to the occasion. Our daughter has made us a better couple, better parents and it has made me a better artist.“
What do you wish you could tell the world about autism?
“When someone tells you their child has autism, don't say "oh, I'm sorry." or "bless his/her heart." Simply ask "how is she/he doing?" The spectrum is quite diverse, don't assume you are talking about "Rain Man." I always tell people that I have learned the autism brain is incredibly complex and unique on a cellular level. Almost everything about my child, neurologically and metabolically is atypical. The autism brain is amazing – it's just the side effects that, for lack of a better word, suck. How's that for eloquence!”
If you’d like to experience the beauty of Kristin’s paintings in person and support her cause at the same time, then join her at the Google Fiber building during Raleigh’s First Friday events on April 7th from 6-9pm! The collection is a series of paintings and drawings related to her daughter with Autism and their family therapy bird.
If you’d like to contribute to the cause and raise awareness, donate to The Autism Society of NC.