How did you get into making art?
I’ve loved to draw for as long as I can remember. I started painting with oil in high school and fell completely in love with the medium.
What are you currently working on?
I just started a series on healthcare workers.
What inspired you to get started on this body of work?
In the past couple weeks I’ve seen several of my friends who work in hospitals posting selfies from work, often wearing masks and other protective equipment. Artists aren’t especially useful in a pandemic but I thought maybe I could paint their portraits to highlight the individuality of the people who are confronting Covid-19 directly.
Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?
Generally I don’t have a project in mind, I jump from one piece to the next pretty spontaneously.
What’s a typical day like in your studio?
I work from home so I walk the dog and try to get straight to work. I prefer to listen to podcasts or documentaries rather than music.
Who are your favorite artists?
There are so many! Dead artists, Da Vinci, Manet, Bacon, Rauschenberg, Kippenberger are just a few. Living artists, Adrien Ghenie, Jules Balincourt, Kerry James Marshall, Karim Hamid, Kenichi Hoshine, William Kentridge, Yue Minjun, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Florence Hutchings, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, I could go on and on.
Where do you go to discover new artists?
Mostly Instagram, there are many excellent art magazines, and I do discover artists through those but mostly Instagram.
Kirsten Valentine is an artist based in Chicago who was recently shortlisted for The Hopper Prize. To learn more about the artist: