Monthly Archives: September 2016

Heather Theurer: Understood By All

Heather Theurer is a formidible artist with paintings of ‘religious symbolism, fantasy realism, equine, and wildlife’. Her unique style includes up to 20 multitude layers of paint and glazes. Theurer is, remarkably,  a self-taught artist. Her work has been recognized by the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. She lives with her family–including five kids–near Portland, Oregon. She was profiled previously on The Krakens for her Disney artwork.


You speak about your faith and the inspiration in your work. Although your work is not overtly religious, it feels spiritual in nature. How does your faith play into your art? My faith absolutely plays a role in the creation of my artwork. Like anyone, I have personal battles, experiences that I try to understand, and I am also affected by the struggles that tear at the world around us. My faith is what determines my attitude and inevitably what I create as a response to these things. Early on in my career, I would paint for the sake of painting. If I saw something I perceived as beautiful (which could range anywhere from a majestic horse to a lumpy toad), I would paint it. As my art matured, however, it took on a new purpose. It became a way to connect. And surprisingly, even though my faith differed from that of many of my viewers, I was able to connect with them through my art, in part because of its allegorical nature. I feel my faith is very clearly expressed in my work, but now that I think about it, my paintings are a little bit like the parables in the New Testament–meant to be understood by all, by some more than others, according to their own experience and willingness, but with no judgment attached to that understanding.

What’s your approach to juggling kids, travel to shows, and time in your studio? My approach is one of daily introspection. With all of that going on, and especially with children, I never know (entirely) from day to day what is going to be required of me. I have to be flexible. There are times, of course, when deadlines are looming and I have to get something done so I have to put my foot down, so to speak, but I strive to let the Lord guide. If it works out, I’ll paint for ten hours straight. If I see that my family needs me to spend time with them, then I do my best to be there for them. Throwing the shows in there is actually a good thing. They can be super stressful, but they also offer preset goal-lines that help to keep me moving in a steady forward motion creatively.

Visit Heather Theurer’s website.

Visit Heather Theurer on Facebook.

Heather Portrait 2015

Jorge Cocco Santangelo: Arte Contemporaneo

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Jorge Cocco Santangelo is an Argentinian painter who also works in sculpture, lithograph, etching, ceramics, and washi zokey (art with handmade paper). He has worked in a number of styles during his career with a particular strength for contemporary artwork. His work has been acquired and exhibited at museums in Argentina, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Uruguay, and the United States. He has lived and worked in both Spain and Mexico. He maintains studios in both the United States and Argentina. He’s also now on Instagram @sacrocubismHe was profiled previously on The Krakens for his religious artwork.

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You are well-known for your religious art. Talk about your non-religious art. In my case, I cannot fully separate modern or contemporary art from religious art. In religious art, the elements purely artistic such as rhythm, composition, color, etc., are unavoidable, but obviously they are there to facilitate the interpretation of the scene depicted. As for my own style, I use those same elements to try to reach for the metaphysics; I try to move the observer into the realm of the transcendent, the spiritual, and its connection with the subconscious. Other series of works that I have created are more symbolic, bringing to mind sacred places with enigmatic constructions for worship. Even in my abstract paintings I include signs seemingly esoteric, marks utilized by ancient cultures during their rituals. In a subtle way I am trying to tell the viewer that there are truths out there to be unveiled, hidden in plain sight.

What’s next for your career? Currently I am working on a commission by the Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City, UT. It is series of paintings about the ministry of Christ. The unusual about this project is that I am depicting the already known scenes in Christian art with a new interpretation, from the perspective offered by modern art schools such as cubism and constructivism. On the other hand, I continue experimenting with materials and techniques such as handmade paper, etching, collages, and what I call “sculpto-painting”, a combination of sculpture and painting, to name a few. One of my permanent purposes is to teach and make art accessible, as a means to refine the human spirit and expose more people to the art world.

Visit Jorge Orlando Cocco Santangelo’s website.

Follow Jorge Cocco Santangelo on Instagram.


Special thanks to Jorge’s art manager,  Amiel Cocco-Verbauwen, for the translation.

Veronica Olson: Photography


Veronica Olson is a talented photographer and prop stylist. She graduated from BYU and has a sumptuous Instagram feed. Olson lives in New York City. She was profiled previously on The Krakens for her work as a prop stylist.

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Tell us about your journey growing up and becoming a photographer. As a child, I was always into art: drawing, coloring, sewing, crafts. Anything visual and creative. Relatives and teachers complimented me from a young age, and my love for art was reinforced. Later, in high school, as I started thinking about college majors and a future career, I was starting to lose interest in drawing and painting. I had lost its joy, and I could no longer execute what I envisioned. I continued with the advanced classes, because I had for so long identified myself as an artist, but remember feeling like a fraud surrounded by the other students.

I credit my initial interest in photography to my dad. Always a supportive parent, if my brother, sister or I had interest in a hobby, he would not only encourage us, but participate as well. So, looking for another artistic field I may enjoy, he signed us up for a extracurricular photography course, and bought a DSLR. I loved those weekly night classes together, and found a new way to express creativity. Instead of rendering from a blank page, I discovered how to work with what was already there, adding, reducing and changing perspective to determine the content of my frame and tell a story.

When I went to Brigham Young University, I was accepted into the photo program, and over those four years, learned more about technique, process, the industry, and art direction. I created a large portfolio of still life work, planning and styling with exactness. My teachers gave me a hard time for being too narrow in my work, pushing me to branch out of still life, but I’d determined my direction, and I think it helped me get a head start in the industry. (Although I definitely admit I should have been more humble in listening to their critiques and trying new things!) But the industry in New York requires some specialization, and still life is where I thrive.

You once wrote, ‘When I want to make something happen, I determinedly do, with discipline and faith.’ Explain how this applies to your craft. I believe we are all creative, being children of God, the ultimate Creator. Being creative, and especially being creative for a living, requires immense faith. And faith requires action. As a photographer, I want to have faith in Him, trust the worthwhile process of creativity (even with setbacks), and be open to His will. I have a tiny perspective of where I’m at in my career, satisfaction with my work, my ability to create the beauty I want to create – and without hope in Him and surrendering my own will, stubbornness and discouragement really get in the way. I want to be constantly progressing and hopefully becoming more like Christ, and that applies to creativity and career as well.

I must have faith, that with discipline and His grace, I can achieve anything. I’ve seen it many times: when I’ve doubted my own ability to move to New York, take on a big job, work freelance, finish a stalled project, ask for help. The path isn’t always clear, but I determinedly move forward and it works out, and I’m reminded every time to have more faith and confidence. I’m also a big believer in visualization as a form of prayer. I am very grateful for the opportunities in my short career so far, and while I’ve worked hard to meet goals, I totally attribute any success to blessings from Him.

Visit Veronica Olson’s website.

Follow Veronica Olson on Instagram.