Ingrid R. Kostron
Where I am
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from
I’m a Canadian of Austrian decent. Horses became a factor in my life the day I first saw one on television while in the hospital as a small child with mobility issues.
I wasn’t able to walk at the time and when I saw my first horse on a broadcast of a parade I was struck hard and fast. My logic was simple; if I couldn’t walk, I wanted to ride.
A lot of time has gone by between now and then, I now walk but prefer to ride and these days practice dressage as a discipline. Over the years have ridden western, hunter and have taken a small foray into driving.
When did you first start drawing horses?
Drawing came quite naturally to me and I can’t remember not drawing. After my first remembered exposure to horses I started drawing them. School and art classes brought new topics to my drawing board and eventually my creativity turned into a career in graphic arts, commercial illustration and communications consulting.
My favourite commercial projects have always involved either equestrian topics, those that deal with the outdoors or projects for clients who want a classic, understated look to their promotional materials and publications.
Throughout my career I never lost my connection with horses and never stopped drawing or painting them. But it was for my pleasure. That changed in the mid 90’s I decided to work on art for the equestrian community.
Equi-Art was created, paintings completed, commissions accepted and out of it developed a line of note cards, limited edition prints, stationery products and giftware which are sold through a number of tack stores in the US and Canada.
What is your favorite breed?
I don’t have a preference for breed and have lost count of the different types of horses I have ridden in my lifetime. Every breed has its strengths and weaknesses and I appreciate all the differences.
My current horse (Buff) is an Appenix Quarter Horse but is conformed more like a Thoroughbred, he’s (laughably) scared of cows and doesn’t have a lick of cow sense that I have seen. Instead Buff is a want-to-be prince and a show off; in his younger days; could tempi, pirouette, passage and piaffe under saddle. He is a ham and likes being the centre of attention for doing things one wouldn’t usually expect from a horse.
A couple years ago I worked with him to go up and down stairs. Were I to breed it would most likely be for sport horses where the goal is usability in a beautiful package.
Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
Art allows me to share my journey through life in such a way that others also find meaning. My muses are those horses around me at any given point in time. I collect memories in the here and now or photographic references for future projects.
With those references I travel on through life and very often find myself looking back and picking moments in time about horses that are relevant to my current experiences and journey through life. Through those collected images I express my journey through life. I am very flattered when something I create has meaning or can elicit a response in people.
Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
I think in visually, it is a blessing in front of the easel, all I ever need to do is focus on the visual in my head or if the project is a commission; the reference in front of me.
When I can’t concentrate it’s time to get to the barn, have a ride and clear out the cobwebs.
Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
I could possibly make a happy hobo, I can find inspiration just about anywhere. For me it’s not so much where you are at or what you are doing, it’s about living in the moment. People invest far too heavily in the past or the future and sometimes don’t pay attention to the here and now and miss what’s in front of them.
I would like to look back on my life one day in the distant future and conclude that like a good dressage test my life was a series of good, happy moments that made up a whole experience.
What effect do you think the Internet will have on art in general?
The internet is the best thing that has ever happened to the artistic community. Historically speaking artists were forced to work with and through galleries and patrons to survive, if they were able to survive at all.
We still have that framework, but it is changing and evolving, artists are no longer required to break into that circle to succeed.
The internet overlooks time space and physical limitations. It reaches many when prior only a few could be reached.
Has it had an effect on yours?
I do have a distinct advantage in that regard; I create web sites as part of my graphic design/commercial art products and services. This has allowed me to accomplish two careers (as a commercial artist and fine artist) in one lifetime.
Which one is your personal favorite piece?
Anything I create that I put forth to the public eye are pieces I feel are successful and express something worth sharing. There are far more of my paintings in flat files and portfolios than seen by the public… ideas waiting for a better moment or a the twist I feel they need to become successful.
Those pieces you see in my product lines or on my web site are “my collection of favourites”.
But there is one painting I cannot seem to part with and that is; “Mares at the Source”, which depicts a group of mares drinking on what feels like a warm summer’s day. The painting is about a good moment. I think I hang onto it to remind myself that life is about attaining what you need to be fulfilled and it can be about things as simple as water.
Would you ever sell it?
If you asked me on a day where I didn’t feel the need to be reminded about what life is all about… possibly. I’m not sure that will ever happen, every time I walk by it and pause for a good long look I find another reason why I need to be looking at it on that day.
What else are you passionate about?
I like to find passion around me. I can find passion in a good bowl of soup if it was made by someone who truly wanted to make a good bowl of soup and put their soul into the making of it. Everything about living a life, regardless of whether or not it is of your creation has the opportunity to create or share passion and life should be lived that way.
Working on anything new?
Right now I’m working on a few projects. One project focuses on producing a graphite drawing and then a watercolour image of from 12-15 head and neck reference images I’ve photographed over the years. Right now I’m just referring to it as; “The Faces Project” as all the images I am working from are head and neck shots.
The other project I am working on resulted from a pet peeve that of mine in regards to information tracking about horses. It uses all my skill sets from writing and design to illustration. The project comprises products that allow for better tracking of health records for individual horses with accompanying information about horse care and horse keeping that no horse owner should be without.
More to Come
Thanks to Ingrid for answering the interview and sharing her art. Be sure to check out her art website periodically for updates about her latest works.
Also stay tuned for more interviews with horse artists and photographers.
Are you a horse artist or do you know an equine artist you’d like to see featured? Add your name and website in the comments below or drop me a note to get involved.