WASHINGTON – When Krissy LaPlante is asked to explain where her artistic talent comes from, she struggles to find the words. But, fortunately, her work speaks for itself.
“I’ve always done artsy stuff. I took all the art classes in school,” says LaPlante. “I’ve been dreaming for awhile about being an artist, and I just started one day.”
Two years ago, LaPlante launched her career as an artist. It was just about the same time she joined All-Star Transportation as a school bus driver at the Washington terminal. She paints, creates jewelry and makes a variety of other art objects, including items for American Girl dolls.
The American Girl pieces include a variety of drink cups, such as a Starbucks Frappuccino, that she first saw online and then made her own versions. For the Frappuccino she mixes silicone and then pours it into small communion cups that look like the clear cups available at Starbucks. To create tops for the cups, she purchased small Christmas ornaments that she cut in half. She also makes and paints wood cake pops for American Girl dolls. LaPlante’s five-year-old daughter, who has a doll collection, is one of her biggest fans.
The Internet is perhaps the biggest source of inspiration for LaPlante. If she sees something she likes online, she’s not afraid to experiment and add her own artistic twist. For instance, she makes Lego men out of resin and uses acrylic paint to create colorful popsockets..
She also uses acrylics for her paintings, which she calls fluid art. To create a fluid art piece, she pours paint onto a clean surface and then moves the paint about to create unique designs.
“Last year, I saw a video online about acrylic painting, and I said, ‘I need to try painting,’” she says.
She typically does her painting and her other projects in her kitchen, although she notes that she will soon move to a new home where she will have a art studio that she will share with her daughter as a playroom. When mixing and pouring the paints in her kitchen, she collects the droppings in a tub. Those droppings, after they dried, inspired another project.
When looking at the dried paint, she realized “that’s a lot of wasted paint. Then I saw people making jewelry from it, and I said, ‘I can do that.’” And so she did, creating bracelets and necklaces from the acrylic, string and wire.
LaPlante would love to become a full-time artist, but notes that “it’s really hard to make a living.” So, she has a Facebook page, an Etsy page and an Instagram page where she posts her items for sale. She’s also put some of her stuff in local store, selling her items in a price range from $5 to $10 an item. She also will display her work at a crafts fair in Morris on June 2 and at the Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival in Bethlehem on Oct. 6-7 (the festival is run by her co-worker and fellow bus driver David Harkness).
Looking to the immediate future, LaPlante is planning to expand her artistry by taking a course in sculpture at the Washington Art Association.
“I want to see what I can do with that,” she says.