Over on Instagram, I started seeing local artist and Capitol Hill resident Christine Vineyard’s takes on local façades back in early April. It was her take on Austin Graff‘s photo of Capital Fringe– its bold, orange THIS IS NOT NORMAL, set against the royal blue– that caught my eye most. I liked Austin’s photo very much, but there was something simple yet emotionally powerful about Christine’s take on it. Incidentally, if you want a walking tour of DC complete with history and profiles, Austin’s Instagram account is an absolute must-follow.
The way Christine’s digital drawings focus on structure in an emotional way connects with my inner core. It stops being “just” a drawing, and it becomes a sensory experience. Clearly, I am not alone in the way Christine’s drawings elicit strong emotions: Christine’s version of Gordon Lau’s The Anthem photo was the first illustration to strike a chord with a larger audience.
An art teacher at McKinley Middle School, Christine found a way make art feed the need for human connection. She has also been donating her efforts to collect money for a very worthy cause: She’s attempting to collect $2500 to DC Central Kitchen, and I want to help her exceed that goal!
How did you get inspired by turning façades into shareable art? How did you develop your style– is that something you were doing already or is it something that kind of occurred, spur of the moment, for you?
I’ve been illustrating in this style for a while now (portraits, buildings, etc.), but just for fun or for a commission-nothing in this capacity. I am really a traditional artist at heart, but once I got the hang of Procreate and drawing with my iPad, I really loved the aesthetic and options that came along with it. That technique lends itself to well to my donation project because there is low cost involved as far as materials and the illustrations can be reproduced in large quantities since they are digital. I also wanted to stick to one medium for the “local” collection so everything would be unified-using Procreate was a great way to do this as far as unifying with style and colors.
What made you pick DC Central Kitchen as a charity? Do you have a special link to it?
I originally planned to give the profits back to these businesses represented, but quickly realized split 60+ ways would not be helpful. I am a middle school teacher at a DCPS Title 1 school, meaning my students are 100% food insecure and the majority are in unstable housing. They directly access places like DCCK, which is taking a hard hit right now with the increase in mouths to feed. This was a great opportunity for me to help them and my students (and families like theirs), while also giving exposure and attention to small, local businesses that need our support.
What do you miss most about your regular life and teaching?
Honestly, I miss going to all of these places! And the more I drew, the more nostalgic I got-this whole thing has been kind of therapeutic for me. To “revisit” my favorite spots as I illustrate them has been very special. I also miss traveling–– normally any break I get, I am exploring on a plane somewhere, so this is weird! As far as teaching–– I miss the kids. I love my kids! We spend so much time together and form bonds beyond the classroom so the simple things like morning hugs or lunch bunch art club are missed greatly. Hoping to be back sooner than later!
Which illustration or illustrations hold the most special place in your heart?
The Anthem always sticks out because it’s the first one I did and was so well received so I kept going ––the marquee message is also so powerful. From there I did all my favorite CH spots, starting with CH Books and the Hill Center. The Hill Center has been my family for about 7-8 years now as I also teach there, so that was a special one to draw. My mom also loves to visit DC, and of course can’t now with the virus, so places like Kramer’s and Zorba’s were very special because they are spots where she always liked to stop. Really, all of them are special in one way or another-either because of a personal connection I have, or a sweet story someone told about why they chose to purchase their illustration. It’s been so neat to hear everyone’s reasons!
Ready to help Christine EXCEED her goal? Go shop! I’m adding Christine’s “Flutterized” version of our The Hill is Home logo to my cart because she made it extra special by adding all the wards and because, hello? Branding is important! But I also love the 202 with the DC map because, LOOK! THE HILL IS HOME, right there with Ben’s Chili Bowl and Rock Creek Park! And seriously, I’m blubbering a little now. Okay. Go shop, everyone. Let’s feed some people!