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Art & Life with Kristen Janes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristen Janes.

Kristen, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I am an artist, floral designer, business owner, wife and mother living and working in the western Chicago suburbs. I recently have gotten into creating organic balloon displays too. I have been doing floral design since I was 7 or 8 years old and was taught by my mom who used to be a floral designer as well. My first job at 14 was at a local floral shop that I walked to after school each day. I always have had art (drawing) and floral design battling as my dueling passions, and after getting a BFA in Illustration from NIU in 2004, I chose art (product/graphic design as my career and designed flowers on the side (which was when I started my business, Kio Kreations). Four years later, I was getting so overly-booked with weddings and burnt out on working in a corporate environment that I ended up leaving the corporate world and committing to turning my floral side-business into my ONLY business. I’ve now been in business 15 years as Kio Kreations and still going strong. In that 15-year time frame, I married my best friend from college, had three kids, did flowers for over 1,000 weddings, built a talented group of freelance staff, had a large floral design studio located in Naperville for seven years and just moved my business back home a year ago to get more of a work-life balance. It has been a long, wild, challenging, creative and rewarding ride over the years and I am happy to be doing what I love, surrounded by people I love, every day.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I have always considered myself a “Jill of all trades” when it comes to all things creative. I create floral designs, balloon installations, watercolor illustrations and graphic designs for my clients on a weekly basis. I also teach art lessons and floral design classes locally to both kids and adults. I love to plan parties for clients (and my own kids) as well. I am happiest when I am working on creative projects–and my art takes many forms!

I love making people happy with my art. Having a bride hug me with excitement because she is in love with her bridal bouquet warms my heart. Having a child’s eyes light up when they walk into their birthday party that I’ve designed is so rewarding. Hearing kids and parents say they are attending the “best party ever” makes me so happy. Seeing a student I’ve taught get passionate about the art project or floral design we are creating is the best. I just find joy in creating art/designs and love when that art brings others joy. Along these same lines my next goal is a big one: illustrate, write and publish a children’s book!

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
I have mixed feelings about this question! I sometimes feel like having another creative (or two) designing alongside me motivates me and makes the process go faster. There are also times when I find working on a project all by myself to be extremely cathartic and therapeutic. I am lucky to have a lot of creatives around me to bounce ideas off of, work with and admire so I would suggest to anyone who feels alone living their artist life to connect to other artists by way of social media or in person at art festivals, exhibitions or by joining art leagues, art clubs or other artist organizations.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?

Two of my fabulous parties (both include my floral, balloon and graphic design work) are featured in the current issue of Celebration Society Chicago Parties magazine. Additionally, I am always sharing our latest floral designs for weddings and events on our Kio Kreations Instagram and Facebook pages so pretty flowers and cool balloon installation eye candy can be at your fingertips in seconds. Please like and follow us on those platforms!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jennifer Kaye Photography took 5 of the photos–the party ones–the Moana party ones (green balloons and blue balloons) and the travel theme party (white balloons, suitcases and large hot air balloons)

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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