FEATURED ARTIST OF THE MONTH
Reach of Sacred Heart by Krystie Rose Millich
My heart has been heavy with the passing of Laurel Skye this month. To me, Laurel exemplified, the so often used saying of “dance like no-one is watching”. Laurel was a trail blazer in the world of mosaics, and brought all the color, sparkle, and intricacy of her personality to her work. More importantly, she shared it with others, and in so doing gave the world the gift of herself. Our Featured Artist for this month could not be a more perfect example of “living out loud”, and rather than stay in a state of tears and sorrow, I chose Krystie Rose Millich to be the featured artist this month, to keep the spirit of servant leadership and positive mojo at the forefront of our community.
If you have had the pleasure of experiencing Krystie Rose in person, you will know immediately what I am talking about when I say she is a pure positivity! Although I am a bit of a self-confessed introvert, Krystie Rose took no notice of that, whatsoever, when I met her for the first time. She came and introduced herself to me at the SAMA Vendor Marketplace in Chicago years ago, and I have felt like we had known each other our entire lives! She has an absolutely contagious energy and does not hesitate to share it with others.
We chatted for an all too short period of time on the phone before I began this article, and our conversation became quite serious before we were done. We spoke about grieving Laurel’s passing, about living your dreams, and sharing our experiences with others that they may help another without us even knowing it. It is not easy to be vulnerable in our society, but there are times, which I look at as enormous opportunities, to share with another person, something I have been through or learned in life. It never fails to surprise me how that person is going through the exact same thing in their life. And the reverse is true as well! When I am struggling with something, a person shows up that has gone through the exact same situation or conundrum and shares their experience with me right when I need it most. Sometimes they do not even know how much they have impacted my life with their willingness to become vulnerable for just a moment and share their experience.
To create art is a sharing of one’s self at a level even deeper than words and can touch people in ways we will never be aware of. For me, creativity comes from many places, and the intuitive creativity, I choose to believe comes from a source much greater than myself. I believe that source can also be filtered through others and brings us all closer together and connected at an indescribable level. For me, and I KNOW many others, Krystie Rose has been a channel of a most positive influence and energy, and continues to be a gift!
Krystie Rose Millich and Buster Brown
LMA: How long have you been creating mosaics and how did you get started in mosaics?
Krystie Rose: I have been creating mosaics full time since 2009, but had made a few mosaics before then as well as some as a child artist. I got started in 2009 when I was "in between opportunities" (in other words, freaking out because I was at the first time in my life, after almost 30 years of working, with no idea what I wanted to do, no job, and lots of education) and I took a local mosaic class and felt immediately "hooked". I was wanting to continue teaching and training and felt that mosaics were something that I could teach while honing my craft.
LMA: What is your favorite part of the mosaic process?
Krystie Rose: Oh boy! That is a tough question! My first response might be to say when I'm grouting a completed piece and I get that first look of what the whole thing will look like in its pulled together, finished state. But, I also really like when I come up with what I think is a great, fun or new design idea that I'm going to pursue or just the day to day of getting to "cut and glue".
LMA: What is it you want viewers to receive from your work?
Krystie Rose: I guess I usually strive to spread joy, bright color, and creative interpretations. I am very drawn to bright colors and feel that we can really use more of them in the world; I have been trying to color the world since I was a child! I tend to focus on positive and inspirational themes because I like the effect they have on me as an individual and others who view or experience the art. I have dealt with depression and anxiety most of my life and seen firsthand the difficult and/or tragic realities of this world both in my own life and in my years in Social Work and activism. It helps me and I believe others to focus on the positive and optimistic because it's something we can choose to do which has a great effect on our lives; I hope my art can play a role in that.
LMA: Who would you say is your biggest influence in your creations?
Krystie Rose: I think there are so many that influence my creations; it's hard to narrow down! I would say they include: Dr. Seuss, Niki de Saint Phalle, Antoni Gaudi, Josep Maria Jujol, Laurel True, Flair Robinson, Tim Burton, Peter Max, Anado McLauchlin, Pamela Irving, Staci Sterenberg, Carrie Reichardt, Sherri Warner Hunter, and Michelle Legler, among others.
A Tale of Two Colorados (one side) by Krystie Rose Millich
A Tale of Two Colorados (other side) by Krystie Rose Millich
LMA: What is your least favorite thing about mosaics and why?
Krystie Rose: How long they take!!! Why, oh why, did I not choose to focus on a speedier art form?! They test all my patience and Type A-ness and perfectionistic tendencies, but as I explain to students (and myself), I think that is probably the spiritual lesson of mosaics; to slow us down, find beauty in the broken, piece it all back together, and realize that "perfect" isn't always perfect.
LMA: Do you support any charitable causes?
Krystie Rose: I’ve supported a variety of charitable causes over time; Doctors Without Borders, SAMA, and a SAMA scholarship fund I helped set up for a few years. I almost always support my fellow artists and others in their charitable endeavors and projects; I love to see people taking on projects for the greater good. I also support a large list of charitable and political organizations; Girls, Inc., local mental health, suicide prevention, GLBTQ, and healthcare organizations, Planned Parenthood, Emerge Colorado, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU.
EZ Rider by Krystie Rose Millich
ButterflyTiers by Krystie Rose Millich
LMA: What is one of your favorite quotes or sayings?
Krystie Rose: Again; I have so many that it is hard to choose! I guess one favorite is, “Life does not have to be Perfect to be Wonderful.”
LMA: If you could give readers one single piece of advice, what would it be?
Krystie Rose: Do it now. Don’t wait. If you have a yearning to create, to make art, to make mosaics, to lead community projects, whatever it is, do it now! Find a way, because you don’t have forever! Fit it in whenever and wherever you can and it will enrich your life more than you can even imagine. Sonia King talks about how making mosaics is slow and life is short, so we can only make so many; she’s right!
Frida Cat-Lo by Krystie Rose Millich
Change Grow Evolve by Krystie Rose Millich
Good Day by Krystie Rose Millich
LMA: Where do you see yourself in the mosaic field in 5-10 years?
Krystie Rose: I see myself continuing to create public and commercial art mosaics, as well as community impact mosaic projects, and teaching mosaics and leading tours for classes and mosaic sites internationally with my Husband, Terry. He has been an amazing ‘assistant’ and burgeoning artist for several years now and we are really looking forward to continuing to share our love of creativity, mosaic art, and travel with others through public, commercial, and community art projects and mosaic tours.
Friends Gather Here by Krystie Rose Millich
Snooze Del Mar by Krystie Rose Millich
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