To You, Strange, To Her, Normal: An Interview With Christina Uptergrove

Who is Christina Uptergrove?

I did most of my growing up in a part of Las Vegas. Some of it was in a part of town known as “Naked City”. It was a pretty bad part of town, so I spent a lot of my free time having movie marathons with my 2 little brothers. My favorite movie of all time is Fight Club, but as a kid, I loved Death Becomes Her, Aliens and Nightmare on Elm Street. I connected with their strong female characters. I have been travelling for most of my adult life I’ve lived at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Puerto Rico, Lake Tahoe, Los Angeles and now Portland. I’ve just grown accustomed to trying new things.

Why art?

I think it was my love of art that really drove my need to create it.

Have you always been into art?

YES!  I was usually one of the lasts to be picked for sports, and I wasn’t the most popular kid, but at 8 years old I started playing the violin. I fit in with the creative kids. I wound up attending the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts where I was surrounded by like minded open minded kids that just wanted to be themselves.

Was there anything else you wanted to do besides art when you “grew up”?

As a kid I always wanted to be a Parapsychologist. Like the X-Files, I wanted to solve the mysteries of the truly unknown.

Is making art your only occupation?

No, I wish it was, my day job is bartending, but it pays the bills and the term Starving Artist is a very real reality for living artists.

Did you have immediate friend and family support when you decided you wanted to fully pursue art? 

YES I did, my family knew exactly who I was and probably had an Ah Ha moment when I started sculpting and painting bloody and gory art. Even though I am a huge wuss and I hate the sight of real blood, I have always been fascinated by the macabre.

How would you describe your art?

Well I love all things horror and strange. So I like to think that’s exactly what I create with a little touch of whimsy girlish charm.

Is there a process to determining how much to charge for each art piece?

My process for pricing is parallel to my creating process. The longer it takes, usually the more I charge.

How does an artist get their work on gallery walls? Does the artist pursue the gallery or vice versa?

I have done almost all the pursuing whether it’s promoting myself and my art on social media or sending galleries images of my work for shows. It’s something I stay very active at to continue to book shows.

How has your artwork evolved since you first started?

My work definitely has grown with me and my fans. I listen a lot to what people like and just don’t really respond to. If something I create becomes popular usually that drives me to evolve that type of art into different forms and variations.

Would you ever collaborate with another artist? Or a group of artists?

I love working with fellow artists. I actively work with other artists on a daily basis whether it is for advice or inspiration. I think collaboration is really inevitable when creating art. We all are inspired from something.

Do you think art can be “taught” or it has to be something that’s already in you?

I believe that practice makes perfect and anything can be achieved with hard work.

Have you ever thought about teaching art or doing art tutorials (YouTube)?

Being in front of the camera doesn’t really appeal to me. I would rather let my art speak for itself and not have to say anything at all.

Do you create art everyday or do you have a process?

It is an everyday thing for me.

Do you have any advice for up and coming artists or anyone who wants to start pursuing art?

Create art, that’s all you need to do to be an artist. It helps to do it every day to improve and perfect what you make.

Is there anyone you want to give thanks to that has supported you since the beginning and still continues to support you?

My husband Josh is my partner in crime and has been there to support me with everything creepy that I want to do and create.