Kinya Christian is everywhere, inspired by everything

Kinya Christian is everywhere, inspired by everything


“I firmly believe art is for everyone, and as artists we should look for ways to encourage one another,” says Kinya Christian.

Christian is like a butterfly that lands in varied — and sometimes surprising — places around Northwest Arkansas and leaves her signature behind. It might be her art, which is on show this month at Studio 300 in Rogers. It might be her graphic designs and marketing efforts, created for her business, 4209 Creative, based in Springdale. It might be her helping hand in her husband’s new restaurant, Torchy’s Tacos in Fayetteville. Or it might be in her expertise in wine: She just completed the entry level with the Court of Master Sommeliers this summer.

“Art has always been a part of my life — my father, uncles, aunts, sister and niece all have artistic abilities,” she says. “I started in graphic design nearly 20 years ago.”

Christian grew up in Independence, Mo. — a suburb of Kansas City just a few minutes from the baseball and football stadiums — and was a “band geek,” active in glee club and on the yearbook staff. When she married a man from Springdale in 1999, “the culture shock and living outside of my comfort zone of family and friends changed me. I needed a way to express myself without losing my identity here.” She started 4209 Creative in her home and also had an art studio there — until she remarried and gained a bonus son who needed a room.

“Once that happened, everything changed,” she says, smiling. “I tried to make it work. But when I saw a post about Studio 300 on Facebook, I knew it was a fit. My business was formed because I love working with nonprofits. [A portion of] Studio 300 proceeds go to support Meals on Wheels in Northwest Arkansas.”

Studio 300, located at 300 N. Second St. in Rogers, was founded almost a year ago by Jim Mangold. Retiring as an architect, “I just wanted something to do that would occupy my time,” he says. “I’d always been a lover of the arts, so I decided to turn my office into an art gallery. And I might as well make it for a good cause, so I donate the proceeds of my artwork to Meals on Wheels and other [resident] artists donate 30 percent.”

Mangold’s own work is unique: He loves to paint in the style of the Old Masters and right now is focused on Rembrandt.

“I think I’m going to start giving classes in how to paint like Rembrandt,” he muses.

But he’s also trying his hand at abstract — and says he finds it much more difficult. On that topic, he might get some coaching from Phillip Price, who is joining Christian in her November exhibition.

“At this show, I’ll feature two pieces that I collaborated on with Phillip, as well as a couple of his other paintings,” Christian says. “Phillip is also a craftsman of cocktails, so he’ll be featuring a special one,” along with wine selected by Christian and some tasting plates from Torchy’s.

“I’ve been at Studio 300 since Aug. 1, and I realized I needed a solo showing,” Christian says. “Only I’m not one to toot my horn alone!”

Christian says she paints because she has to.

“It’s a need,” she says simply. “It’s a necessary way to express myself, to cope with my anxieties, to challenge myself. When I see something beautiful, I want to see how my brush and my emotions will reflect it.

“I’m all over the place with what inspires me, what I find beautiful and what I choose for subject matter, so [interpretation is] really up to the viewer. I am often inspired by my own blackness and femininity. In the pieces I have of women, they’re all black, and I hope I was able to show black women aren’t the stereotypes placed on us. We can be soft, vulnerable, we are beautiful and strong, we can do whatever we set our minds to and be successful despite the racist tropes.”



The Kinya Christian Collection

WHEN — Opening reception, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 9

WHERE — Studio 300, 300 N. Second St. in Rogers

COST — Free

INFO — Email

BONUS — Works by Phillip Price will also be shown, and two collaborative canvases by Christian and Price will be auctioned off with Meals on Wheels receiving a portion of the proceeds.

Categories: Galleries