A Brush with Art: Swiss-born painter and designer influenced by exotic cultures

The culmination of the 2015 Arts Alive banner season is fast approaching with the annual auction festivities scheduled for June 7.

Outstanding among the 99 original artworks in this year’s Arts Alive exhibit is Encinitas artist Christina Zeller’s banner titled “Me Ke Aloha Pumehana” (With the Warmth of My Love) depicting a graceful wahine surrounded by lush seaside tropical vegetation.

Christina Zeller’s Arts Alive banner titled “Me Ke Aloha Pumehana”  (With the Warmth of My Love), at 30 x 84 inches is one of 99 original banners in the Arts Alive 2015 auction June 7. Image courtesy of Stephen Whalen Photography

Christina Zeller’s Arts Alive banner titled “Me Ke Aloha Pumehana” (With the Warmth of My Love), at 30 x 84 inches is one of 99 original banners in the Arts Alive 2015 auction June 7. Image courtesy of Stephen Whalen Photography

Zeller attributes her painting style largely to having lived on the Indonesian island of Bali as well as Sanibel Island, Florida, along with months sailing in the Bahamas.

Having grown up in the German part of Switzerland with a great deal of international experience, Zeller’s artwork is infused with a strong sense of exotic cultures, while also strongly influenced by her extensive career working with fabric design.

Zeller earned her bachelor’s degree in arts from Kunstschule Basel/Switzerland with a major in textile and fashion design. Prior to relocating to the U.S. with her husband in 1985, she ran her own company in Switzerland specializing in couture designs.

Currently as creative director of Vivacity Sportswear, Zeller is in charge of all designs and product development, including designing original fabric prints. She also consults with start up fashion companies to help them gain familiarity with the industry, especially manufacturing and product development.

She says of what she considers her dream career, “I’ve always loved to paint, but made my career in textile and fashion design. I love my job as much as painting; its all about shape, form, composition, proportion and colors. Being creative and having a trained eye to see what works and what does not helps in my career as well as my paintings. I love to be challenged but experienced enough to do the job very well.”

When painting in acrylics, Zeller uses multiple overlays to create vivid color. She characteristically begins with black outline to lay out the composition and proportions. She says, “I am not afraid of large white canvases. I love to take the fat brush with black paint and just go for it, and it’s amazing how the blank area becomes alive.”

She describes her artwork: “It’s uplifting and makes people happy, including me. People recognize my work because they remember the fun, stress-free style and use of color.”

She continues, “I paint for fun and truly enjoy the process. I’m happy for people to say they love my paintings and my use of color and I think my paintings grab people’s attention mostly because they are colorful. It’s not serious art, it’s Fun Art.”

As an active member of the San Dieguito Art Guild, Zeller exhibits regularly at the Off Track Gallery in Encinitas. For more about the artist and her art visit christinazellerart.com.

Don’t miss the Arts Alive 2015 festivities in the Cardiff Center courtyard June 7. The public is invited to a closing reception at 1:30 p.m., followed by the live auction at 2 p.m. Visit artsaliveencinitas.com to view the complete 2015 auction guide.

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