Christa Schoenbrodt is a soft-spoken visual artist creating work that is fresh, colorful, fun, and often enlightening. Her work as an artist, graphic designer, and illustrator attracts almost any genre in need of something creatively unique, handcrafted, and organic in appeal. Often incorporating leaves, florals, birds, and butterflies, her connection with nature is noticeable within her whimsical artwork.
Christa knew from a young age she wanted to be an artist, she loved art, crafts, and drawing pictures of animals. Her favorite high school art teacher, sculptor Debra Fritts helped nurture her interest by teaching her multiple creative mediums and techniques which still inspire her creative process.
With the desire to study art and design she attended Louisiana State University which eventually led to an internship at a local design studio. While waitressing to put herself through college, she took part in a work-study program at LSU publications. This allowed her to gain vital business knowledge which would later help in starting her own business. She even won her first Addy Award (now called the American Advertising Awards) for a cover she and a fellow student designed and illustrated for LSU’s School of Law. Her college degree gave her the foundation to work with ad agencies and design studios in Louisiana and Tennessee upon graduation.
After leaving her job at a Nashville ad agency in 1996, she felt it was the prime time to start her own business, Studio Haus, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this fall. Her youthful spirit has made for a perfect fit with design and illustrations for festivals, branding, books, non-profit outreach, and the music industry. Christa’s design work is uniquely customized and created for each client she works with—many of whom she has worked with for years. Her illustration work is often enchanting using vibrant repetitive swirls and florals with hand-lettered text.
Today with more than 30 years of experience, Christa is a seasoned pro in graphic design, lettering, and illustration. She generates work for events, companies, and individuals including brand development, websites, books, signage, and product packaging.
“Running a business presents so many creative opportunities and Covid was a big one for most. While it has definitely been challenging, I’ve welcomed the chance to learn new business skills and spend more time in my studio learning new mediums and techniques. I recognize my unique and surprising good fortune to be able to say that the experience has been a mixed blessing.”
Christa admits that COVID-19 changed her workload after most of the live events and festivals she worked on were canceled in 2020 and early 2021, causing her to lose a substantial amount of work. The downtime has allowed her to innovate and try new things, as most small business owners needed to do. She began teaching private online yoga classes. She also applied and was accepted as one of three awarded to learn traditional and contemporary craft skills from master craft artists in the Tennessee Craft Master Artists (MAAP) Apprenticeship Program.
“There are many times when I am going through a difficult phase where I have to say to myself, joyful effort, and that helps me to move through those times when I am stuck or unsure of what lies ahead.” -Christa Schoenbrodt
Through the program, Christa is currently learning how to handprint repeat patterns on natural textiles. Using carved linoleum blocks and silkscreen techniques through the tutelage of textile master artist Jeanne Brady, she is discovering design principles for printmaking, what kinds of ink to use, techniques for aligning a pattern’s motifs, and even how to control the pressure of the carved blocks (for linoleum block printing) and a squeegee (for silkscreening) in the printing process. She is creating custom designs and experimenting with ink tones and transparencies on fabrics such as rayon, cotton, and silk chiffon. Christa has found so much joy with this opportunity and feels the program has enhanced her creativity, making her a better artist, and is exploring how this new knowledge can be incorporated into future work.
“I love the creative process in all its forms. Almost always influenced by nature, I feel the possibilities are endless, whether inspiration strikes in the studio, on the trails, or after a beautiful snow.”
Christa’s playful personality and curiosity shine through in her work. Moving forward she hopes to find ways to travel more and even occasionally work from the road so she can spend more time outdoors, another of her great loves.
“A well-rounded life experience feeds the creative process so I don’t limit my perspectives to strictly visual arts. In addition, to travel and seeking outdoor adventures like hiking, kayaking, and cycling, I have practiced yoga for well over 25 years and taught it to others for over a decade. These interactions not only keep my mind fresh but they also inform my thought processes while helping to keep me in shape physically to offset the often sedentary experience of design and art-making.”
Christa’s playful personality and curiosity shine through in her work. Moving forward she hopes to find ways to travel more and even occasionally work from the road so she can spend more time outdoors, another of her great loves. Her graphic design business is primarily done on a computer using design applications, an internet connection, and meeting with clients through zoom calls so she feels it might be a perfect fit to work remotely.
Outside of these assignments, she plans to eventually have an online store where she can sell her illustrations and artwork. She created the super cool Learn and Create logo and also designed and illustrated Nashville Guitar Guru, Dave Isaacs’s book cover that he shared in episode 3 of The Creative Push.
Here is my interview with Christa for The Creative Push!
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