Featured Artist Christine Wagner

Artist Christine Wagner draws from her personal experience with domestic violence to create her most recent work –  found books that have been altered through cutting, burning, painting and stitching. See more by visiting her website.

 

“All That Remains” Altered Book with Beeswax, Ink and Thread, 11” x 11” x 8” by artist Christine Wagner. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“All That Remains” Altered Book with Beeswax, Ink and Thread, 11” x 11” x 8”

 

Growing up in a rural community in Eastern Oregon, I developed a love for nature and a fascination with the textures and natural forms that are present everywhere.

 

“Hidden Histories” Altered Book with Oil Paint, 22” x 15” x 8” by artist Christine Wagner. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Hidden Histories” Altered Book with Oil Paint, 22” x 15” x 8”

 

My artwork represents, in abstract form, the organic textures and elements that exist in nature, through a variety of materials including paper, found books, thread, beeswax, oils and eggshells, to name a few.

 

“If I Am Missing Or Dead” Altered Book with Paper, Wax and Thread, 12” x 8” x 2” by artist Christine Wagner. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“If I Am Missing Or Dead” Altered Book with Paper, Wax and Thread, 12” x 8” x 2”

 

More recent work translates my personal experience with domestic violence through altered books, calligraphy and painting.

 

“All The Girls” Altered Book with Buttons and Thread, 18” x 8” x 4” by artist Christine Wagner. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“All The Girls” Altered Book with Buttons and Thread, 18” x 8” x 4”

 

I’m constantly searching for materials to incorporate into my artwork, whether it’s an interesting piece of paper discovered on the ground or a leaf that catches my eye. Through my exploration of bookstores, thrift shops and my obsession with yard sales, I’ve amassed a large collection of paper, thread, books and many other interesting objects.

 

“My Not So Ordinary Life” Altered Book with Vellum, Wax, Ink and Thread, 12” x 8” x 2” by artist Christine Wagner. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“My Not So Ordinary Life” Altered Book with Vellum, Wax, Ink and Thread, 12” x 8” x 2”

 

A project isn’t finished until I’ve photographed the end result. During the process of creating, there’s always a consideration for how the texture and transparency will translate through photography. I find focusing in on a small portion of the book and how the photo begins to resemble something entirely different from the piece as a whole intriguing. The process of photographing the finished book is almost as important as making the book itself.

 

“Bonsai Box” (Front) Box with Parchment, Book Board, Beeswax and Marker, 25” x 15” x 10” by artist Christine Wagner. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Bonsai Box” (Front) Box with Parchment, Book Board, Beeswax and Marker, 25” x 15” x 10”

 

In the beginning stages of creating an altered book, there’s a preconceived idea for the project, but the finished piece is always completely different than what I envisioned. While working on a project I inevitably cut something unintentionally or spill ink, but have found that those mistakes have led me to discover techniques and ways of working with materials that otherwise would have remained unknown.

 

“Bonsai Box” (Top) Box with Parchment, Book Board, Beeswax and Marker, 25” x 15” x 10” by artist Christine Wagner. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Bonsai Box” (Top) Box with Parchment, Book Board, Beeswax and Marker, 25” x 15” x 10”

 

My life has evolved over time in a similar fashion. Some mistakes have been made along the way, but they have changed the course of my life and my artwork. After divorcing in 2000, I moved away with my daughters and started a new life.

 

“Bonsai Box” (Detail) Box with Parchment, Book Board, Beeswax and Marker, 25” x 15” x 10” “Bonsai Box” (Detail) Box with Parchment, Book Board, Beeswax and Marker, 25” x 15” x 10”

“Bonsai Box” (Detail) Box with Parchment, Book Board, Beeswax and Marker, 25” x 15” x 10”

 

One of those mistakes was an abusive relationship that lasted for only a year, but had a dramatic effect on how I approach each and every day. Although the experience was traumatic, the wonderful people I’ve met and positive experiences I’ve had since would never have occurred had I not gone through the experience. The course of my artwork has changed and has deeper meaning for me and hopefully for those who see my work.

 

“No Visible Wounds” Altered Book with Beeswax and Thread, 12” x 9” x 2” by artist Christine Wagner. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“No Visible Wounds” Altered Book with Beeswax and Thread, 12” x 9” x 2”

 

Eventually I relocated to Portland, Oregon where I attended Portland State University and graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. I’ve continued to develop my style as an artist and show work. I’m currently working as a Graphic Designer, but someday hope to use those skills along with my artistic ability to make my living doing what I love—being an artist.

 

“Forbidden City” Wax, Paper, Ink and Thread, 12” x 8” x 2” by artist Christine Wagner. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Forbidden City” Wax, Paper, Ink and Thread, 12” x 8” x 2”

 

I’m happiest when making art or contemplating what to create next. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve looked up from a project to see the sun coming up, only to realize, I’ve worked all night and into the morning.

 

Artist Christine Wagner invites you to follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Etsy.

 

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