12 min read

digitizing physical, spiritual, and cosmic creation

christine craft (aka chrisdangertine) introduces us to her colorful background and spirituality surrounding her creativity and digital art practice
digitizing physical, spiritual, and cosmic creation

meet christine craft, designer, illustrator, adventurer, and all around creative spirit. throughout our conversation the worldly artist teaches us that “everyone is creative, if you tap into that spirit and allow it to flow through you.”

interview by: @sydneyia

art and imagery by: @chrisdangertine

what’s your story?

my name's christine craft. i am originally from southern california but my family moved to the south when i was very young. i started becoming an artist as soon as i could pick up a crayon and graduated to ms paint at the age of 3— i grew up outside in the woods and streams and was a strangely spiritual child. my true artistic self always existed in various forms including, building intricate cardboard box space stations, shooting short films with the neighborhood kids, making “pocket pals” i could circumnavigate the dresscodes with, designing my own clothes, as well as wild knickknacks i’d sell on the playground. i didn’t realize until college that these were actually my first business ventures.

as a young adult i chose to study graphic design and branding with a minor in illustration, though i enjoyed all of my art electives and have been dabbling in sculpture, printmaking, clay and resin lately. i also chose to attend school right outside of nashville so i could participate in the design and production of the recording and film industry. the long term goal of all the projects, on which i continuously pushed the limits, was to acquire the skills that would equip me to own my own agency ethically, sustainably and in a way that benefited the community and the culture around it. my objective is to do “good work for good people” with the plan to found companies with a “give back model” and eventually establish my own non-profits.

"Layers of Identity"

my adventure story really starts after college when i drove with friends from nashville to the pacific northwest. i had been out of the country and to native reservations on labor and compassion projects before but visiting the most nw rainforests and coasts in the us and witnessing a sunset at the very tip of the nation was one of the most magical experiences of my life!it was there i knew i wasn’t meant to live a settled life, i had to go, whatever that meant, i had to go do things differently and change as much of the world i could touch for the better so more people could have exhilarating epiphany moments like that. returning to the south afterwards and sitting at a desk, was mind numbing so after less than a year, i took off to europe for three months. i spent my first week or so working with a charitable organization my friend’s parents founded. i ended up leading brilliant high schoolers who attended international schools on inner city work projects. i was humbled by these high school kids, whose parents mostly worked for the un and eu, and were well aware and concerned with the violence and crime rates around them, who volunteered to help upkeep locations like new preschools for their neighbors. i then hopped around staying with social workers, translators, and people who helped refugees attain citizenship in dream countries like switzerland. after making my way around w europe and a quick stop at an indie music and surfing festival i eventually made it to iceland and that first step out of the airport just felt like returning home. i have some very close sweedish heritage and there's just something about that environment, the brisk moist air, rolling volcanic mountains that met the sea at its banks, hour long sunsets, and the natural hot springs, that took a decent hike through the freezing rain to get to, that made me feel like it is what i was made for. when i am traveling, exploring and bonding with people of significantly different walks of life while making connections across cultures, it just makes me feel alive like no other experience ever has. after i returned from europe i moved to denver and opened my own full service branding & design agency and was privileged to work for startups, family owned businesses, non-profits,international clients, as well as within the hemp and cannabis industries. years later, my 2020 story landed me back in chattanooga, tennessee where i’ve freelanced, had time to start my passion projects again, and i’ve gotten to get out from behind the computer to work with amazing kids of all ages at an outdoors-focused school in the tennessee mountain.

getting back into your art, how did you start doing more digital art?

my digital art is a culmination of my illustration, photography, and editing but with a lot more thought and introspection guiding me. my art tends to flow out of my state of mind or journaling and i continually want there to be a purpose or message with each piece i produce even if it just makes the consumer pause in thought or giggle temporarily

i generally start with an illustration. those may be inspired by a song, profound or nonsensical quote. i always like to play with typography as well in my sketchbooks so a large portion of content might come from one of my poems, dreams, or epiphanies on a hike. i eventually really solidified that path and my style later on in college. i’d already become very experimental in the design world but always enjoyed doing everything by hand long before i ever touched a computer for something other than research. because i have lyme disease, my extremities get quite shaky often. i had to find a way to continue to work with my tremor, even though most professors would mark me down for “craft” regularly. it wasn’t til my last year in college that i finally had a wonderfully brilliant professor named bob who saw in me what others hadn't. despite the fact that he was a hyper realistic oil painter, he encouraged me to embrace my uniqueness in terms of what had previously been called a messy tremor and disregard for using references properly for my imaginatively proportioned creatures.he finally gave me freedom to explore in his class as well as the confidence to create my own flare because it gave me permission to be proud of my originality and wacky point of view. most of my illustrations have a lot of fine, shaky lines til i later solidify them to ink before painting or digitizing.. my wonky, big-eyed ethereal style ends up looking kind of silly and lighthearted even if it has a heavier content that takes longer to consume.

i want my to transmit a message that we are all creatives because we have been created and we are creating every day.

i find that people can be so serious or repetitive when it comes to “making real traditional art” of landscapes and flowers and figure studies(which is a class i almost failed bc of my line work and tendency to turn ppl into silly fawns when my imagination ran wild and i “saw them incorrectly and messily”, and i like to challenge that concept with my artwork. unfiltered illustration and anything i am creating for myself or anyone that is not a branding design client is also the unbridled free flowing alternative to my more professional design work — that is honestly more about psychology, research, and statistics or data that dictate my creative choices.

the most important thing i am constantly reminding the kids preschool through high school is that we are all creatives. you may think that you haven’t found your medium yet, but outdoor forest preschool camp forced me to recall that we are all artists. it doesn’t matter if you’d state you can’t draw a stick figure, which i’m betting you can, every human being on this planet is a maker. - whether we’re building forts, making mud pies, collecting flowers and leaves for your nature crown, stacking stones, dressing yourself in the morning, applying makeup to a fresh palette, singing along with the radio on the way to work, baking, performing any form of electrical, mechanical, or engineering work, taking a photo with your phone, successfully making a play on the pitch, writing an email, or even playing make believe with a child with warrior chalk and mud on your face as you take on the intruders with a mighty staff (stick) and your trusty dragon by your side. just meditating under a tree you briefly take a moment to rest against, or daydreaming about your summer vacation is a form of imagination and creation. it’s funny how much easier it is to remind a 6yo of that fact than a highschooler. i feel like my realm of possibilities just got bigger with the tools and materials i gained access to with age, but it actually seems most adults have boxed themselves into smaller and smaller capacity and willingness-to-fail boxes. in all reality, a lot of my last minute unplanned failures have just lead to better ideas that ended up making crucial decisions at the boardroom table. so go paint your nails! or bake some cookies! or go build a campfire and make some s’mores and rest easy that you are also producing and contributing to this world.


is anything currently inspiring you?

well let's just go ahead and get weird. i've been meditating and growing a lot spiritually these days. i go on long night hikes and practice moving meditation which resembles a ritualistic dance. to put your body into a meditative state by the repetitive motions of walking, focusing on your breathing and the sights and sensations around you while slightly swinging your arms,(or if you’re me, holding the leash of my precious wolfdog ragnar) you can put your body and mind into a state of flow. and somehow all that negative energy is able to be released, calmed, and replaced by peaceful , still energy that allows me to sense the positive loving vibrations of creation and become more present. then, i can clear my mind of worries and receive more content for my illustration, poems, or photography.

i think of this all as a “cosmic energy.” i’d define cosmic energy as a type of energy that brings vitality to the spirit and most importantly is exponential : meaning, the more energy you take in from the universe, the increasing amount of energy there is for us all to access. therefore, i’m not just taking from the universe, i’m a multiplier of the life giving energy available around me. i am not the creator but as i ground myself in this metaphysical world full of infinite love just waiting to be accessed, i'm creating space for my creative energy to flow freely, heightening my senses and allowing inspirational energy to course into and through me. and somehow all of that negative energy is able to be released and replaced, and replaced by calm, still energy that allows me to take in the positive loving vibrations of creation.

my favorite book: the naked now by richard rohr + the music video slowly by skuff micksun is hugely inspiring(especially because of his simple choice to use children as his backup vocals and i very much identify with his role as the favorite “too fun” substitute, and the album ultraviolet by myepic i ritualistically listen to on my hikes, as well as the song saturn by sleeping at last + things reminiscent of my scandinavian heritage like the colors of the fjords and knot tying / fiber weaving + the neon colors of the 90s harkening back to my childhood fly sweatsuit colors but in a translucent, shimmery way in the form of resin art i’ve been dabbling in.

before this, you said you were listening to what kind of music to hype you up?

…anything that makes me feel like a viking rowing to shore or marching over a mountain to go raiding that's what i've been listening to all morning long and in the shower. ie: wardruna, aurora, skáld,danheim

i feel like it ties into this spiritual, nature driven mindset?

it definitely does. it's somewhat recent. i really love this one nordic viking funeral song that i saw a video of performed in a cave, it just blows my mind and gave me chills and makes me tear up for that longing to be closer to your ancestors and fellow warriors and gods (or creator) but serves as a reminder of the fact that despite my health, i am also still a viking warrior . i feel like it was like a calling home in some way that i've never felt before. i'm very closely tied to music, it’s one of my biggest inspirations and will tend to dictate what and for whom i create.

what do you hope people see or feel through your work?

i like to take the mundane and challenge people to see it for something that it could be; beyond the facade or find something else deeper within the details.. i also want my work to really make people question “the spaces in between”. that's just an overall theme, like the space in between light and dark, the space in between the here and there, between the physical and spiritual or this realm and beyond, the veil. that also rolls into how i edit my photos too. i’ll tend to take photos of things that go unnoticed like abandoned buildings, gigantic cliffs that create the caves i hike past, spray painting splatters, or blurry long exposures of the city lights from atop the mountain when the sunset is just ending or long over. then i’ll edit experimentally until i’ve created abstract subject matter that is up to the viewer to define. not everyone sees the creatures or faces or buildings that i think i’ve composed- or even knows which way is up for that matter- but everyone has a different lens through which they are encountering art within their individual lives that is completely valid. but just to challenge the idea of “what is art” or “who is allowed to make and show it” and “who entitled those great deciders to define those answers, is enough for me.

what is the point of making and creating to you?

i have a very old facebook post that i wrote long ago in the days in which we kept up with status reports that repeatedly pops up to remind me, that at some late night point in college i felt the need to state that “i was created. therefore, i create”. so in essence, i think i was put here to create. create physically as well as relationally to help people find their identities, whether it be with my art, or within my everyday life interactions, and even my work. my work helps to define the brand identity of a business as if it were a living breathing personality with a perspective, personality, tone of voice and reputation, so it takes a lot of digging and is sometimes very difficult to separate those qualities from the personal identity of an owner. on top of that my art is questioning where are you in relation to these “in between” places? who are you in relation to these positive affirmations i endeavor to include? where are you in relation to these spiritual or imaginary creatures that i'm drawing? and what does that mean for you if this physical world is not all that there is? so i create to encourage others to question something, anything, within themselves more than just accepting the physical realm for what it is at face value. and hopefully that will bring more introspection: thus, love and light and overflowing cups which is art in and of itself in its purest form.

christine's network:




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