COTTONWOOD - Krystl Louwagie of Cottonwood describes herself as an "eclectic" artist.
She does elaborate facepainting, likes to draw with a certain kind of marker, uses chalk and work with a couple methods of printmaking.
Louwagie graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in studio art, with a focus on Intaglio printmaking and a minor in art history from Hamline University. She most recently had some of her artwork at the open class exhibit at the Lyon County Fair and a solo show at the Daily Grind.
Photo by Cindy Votruba
Krystl Louwagie said she likes to draw with a Sharpie marker and pictured is one of those examples.
Louwagie said her interest in art came from illustrated fairy tale books and animation when she was younger. Eventually, she got into comic books, graphic novels and tattoos. Her favorite comic book growing up was the X-Men and her tastes grew to include Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" and the "Preacher" series.
As she got older, Louwagie said she learned that art would look better from "real life." She would have her friends pose for some of her artwork.
Louwagie said she tends to do a lot of self-portraits in her work, especially when friends didn't have time.
"I'm a model that's always available to myself," Louwagie said.
While at Hamline, Louwagie had her art published six times in the "Fulcrum," the university's art and literary journal. One of her prints, "No Sight"?was selected for the exhibition "Intaglio Archives: Selected Student Prints, 1972-2007"?in the Drew Fine Arts Gallery at Hamline.
As an art student, Louwagie concentrated on Intaglio printmaking, which uses copper sheets.
"I fell in love with it," Louwagie said about the Intaglio medium. "It was the coolest thing I've ever seen."
When she was a junior, she received the Genevieve Rust Ehlers Scholarship to study abroad in Europe.
"I wanted to hit the important cities in Europe," Louwagie said. She went to museums in Belgium, France and Spain.
She got a second scholarship last May and went back to Europe in November. During her second trip , Louwagie wanted to study woodcut prints, going to museums in Germany that featured that art form.
She said Intaglio is similar to woodblock printing, just a little more low-maintenance.
She got all the tools and instructional books and ideas to do woodblock printing, but she just needs the time, Louwagie said.
"I still really want to get into it," Louwagie said.
Louwagie said she likes to draw images like she's seen in the comic books she reads. Sometimes she may take on that method.
"I really like drawing with a Sharpie marker," Louwagie said. "The marker looks like messy ink from the comics."
Since she graduated, Louwagie likes to stay involved with art. One of Louwagie's recent projects was creating a coloring book to go along with her sister Jessica Kesteloot's business, Jessica's Little Ponies.
"I spent a lot of time on that, there's about 47 pages," Louwagie said.
Last fall, Louwagie, who also works with Kesteloot, started doing facepainting for the kids.
"I offer more elaborate things,' Louwagie said. "I would've loved to have gotten that (kind of facepainting) when I was little."
Boys like superhero designs, like Iron Man, she said. Girls go for other designs, which include Mardi Gras masks, she added.
"There's a lot of butterflies and cat-like things," Louwagie said about her facepainting designs.
And when she goes to a job at a town festival, Louwagie said she'll paint her face.
After her solo show in Marshall, Louwagie said she's gotten a lot of feedback.
"I heard a lot of people say it was nice to see something different," Louwagie said. "People were always talking about it."
As for the latest Lyon County Fair, Louwagie entered pieces from several different mediums, including chalk drawings.
"I wanted to enter 14 pieces, but I?ended up entering 12,"?Louwagie said.
Louwagie said it's tough to find art jobs, especially in southwest Minnesota, but she's hopeful that she will land one someday. She added she would like to work with printmaking.
"One of my biggest dream careers is drawing for comic books,"?Louwagie said.