April Artist – Kristen Powell

This month we present Kristen Powell with a series of recent works exploring the theme of sound. Kristen is interested in the effect that music and sound have on her own experiences. She uses digital sound wave designs and alcohol ink to make her abstract pieces.


Her newest series of paintings represent the seven chakras. “Chakras are energetic centers in the body,” she tells us. “I have used sound waves from meditation music set at a specific frequency for each chakra. The colour pattern is based on cymatics experiments using sound to generate geometric patterns on a flat surface.”


The inspiration for this collection comes from her connection to the frequencies she gathers from life. Inspired by music and sound, emotional experiences, the senses, the beauty of nature, vibrant colour, new materials, and connecting with her spirituality.


“Artists that have used their senses, spirituality and science to create their art inspire me.” Wassily Kandinsky is one of the first artists Kristen was influenced by, for using music to inspire his art. He used symbolic colours, shapes and patterns to represent what he heard. She also expresses her love for the works of Frida Khalo, Emily Carr, Salvador Dali, Gustav Kilmt and so many more.


Fascinated by science and how it applies to art, Kristen is interested in the science of music and healing. Music is a coping mechanism she admits she uses to soothe and calm her. “Music has become a way of marking significant events in my life.” Growing up, she learned to play piano and guitar. “Learning how to play instruments brought me closer to exploring the idea of sound. However, as a more talented artist than musician I sought out a way to express my love of music in a visual way. I discovered that I could represent sound using waveforms.”




“I knew I wanted to be an artist in grade 7. I had a great art teacher who showed me I had natural talent. I remember the first artwork I did that I was really proud of. It was a pastel drawing of a bird on a branch with a poem I wrote to go with it. I also decided at this time to become a teacher so I could inspire others to find their passion like I did.”


Kristin Powell graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Calgary in 2013, and continues taking courses to learn new artistic skills at ACAD.

Her major in university was sculpture. She expresses her enjoyment for sculpture processes such as ceramics, woodworking, metalworking, and plaster casting, and took a ceramics course at ACAD last year to get back into using clay. “It was so much fun!” She tells us, but at this time her home studio does not support this kind of work.


“Just over a year ago I was looking for inspiration to create art again. I had taken a break after graduating from art school. I went to the art store and picked up a new material they had just got in stock. It was alcohol ink. I took it home and played and experimented with it all night. I fell in love with the material. It is so addictive they way the colours blend and mix. I use the ink with masking fluid to create the sound wave patterns. I have also been working with wood burning processes in some of my pieces.”


Kristen’s process starts with listening to music or researching ideas. For her conceptual work, she enjoys reading and synthesizing ideas to come up with new designs. Her music based pieces are created digitally using sound waves and the design is then transferred onto wood panels. Covering the sound waves with masking fluid she then applies the alcohol ink and finishes her pieces with a coat of resin.


“When I make art I go into a pure flow state. I lose track of space and time. Sometimes I even forget to eat. It brings me pure joy. I am able to express myself in ways I can’t with words.”


Kristen is currently interested in a deeper understanding of how sound can create conditions for healing in the body, and is working on pieces that reflect this theme of healing through sound. She also hopes to get back into silkscreen printmaking this year.

You can see more of Kristen’s art on her website www.resonanceartstudio.com for custom sound wave art, and details and pricing, as well as her Facebook page www.facebook.com/resonanceartstudio and Instagram @resonanceartstudio. And this month you can personally view selected piece in her April display at Motion Gallery.