Works by Two Successful Armijo Artists

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Most Armijo seniors are still trying to make a name for themselves, planning to walk across the stage on June 6 and then change the world, but Juan Rios and Kristen Knot have already had an impact by creating outstanding art.

“I love all different forms of art, but as of now my main focus is on creating large abstract paintings of the people and places I have learned from,” said Rios. “My art started out as random fun crafts like embroidery patches, fake neon lights and wooden furniture I made for my house.”

“The art that I do varies,” said Knott. “I fashion design, I create realistic paintings, I also sew clothing pieces.”

Rios started exploring his creativity about a year ago. “After I lost my brother, I needed an outlet to express all that I was feeling,” he said. “Art definitely took my pain and confusion that I felt about the world and turned it into something that brought me happiness and satisfaction.” The small creative projects he did two years ago helped him discover the healing of art that he would need later. He said, “My favorite piece is almost always my most recent work.”

“Of course, I’ve rejected paintings I’ve worked on. I think it’s a part of finding what you like and what just does not work,” said Rios. “With that said, I don’t ever waste supplies. I always try and make it into something that I could learn from, experiment with.”

Knott has been practicing her art much longer. “My first introduction into art was when I was five years old and my Uncle George taught me how to draw animals,” she said. “He made it such a fun experience that I’ve loved it ever since.” Her more recent works have been displayed at The Academy of Art University, Napa Valley Museum, Joyce Gordon Gallery and, as of this year, the Congressional Art Ceremony. Her favorite piece was a portrait of her sister, Courtney Knott. “I do art because it makes me happy. I consider this as both a hobby and a career goal,” Knott said. “The most difficult part of being an artist is being broke. Rejection is also a difficult part of being an artist.”

Being an artist takes a perception that most people don’t have. “Something I am really good at is staying motivated and focused on my paintings. I know how to use lighting and composition in my paintings,probably due to the fact that I have terrible eyesight,” said Rios. “When I am without my glasses, all I see is lighting and shapes, which has had a positive impact on my work.”

“I feel that seeing things in a different perspective is what I do well,” said Knott. “I feel that I am a good artist because I put a lot of love and passion into my work.”

“The best advice I can offer people interested in [creating] art is to make stuff for yourself,” said Rios. “Don’t make something because you think it will sell, but most important, just have fun being creative.” While art takes up a lot of their time, both Rios and Knott find ways to build their experiences away from art. Knott outside interests continue to develop the senses. She said that she loves sitting outside, burning incense, drinking tea and listening to music.

“When I’m not creating, I am out with friends, making more memories and experiences I can later use in my art,” said Rios.

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