Skip to content
Artist Kristin Moore Embraces Wide-Open Wanderlust

In Kristin Moore's hands, wanderlust has become an endless source of inspiration. The Richardson-based artist first grew enamored of America's vistas from Los Angeles to Texas while attending Otis College of Art and Design. But her obsession has grown into a body of work that effortlessly evokes the nostalgia we feel when pinning destinations for future travel.

From her portraits of broken-down Las Vegas casino signage collected by the city's Neon Museum to sunsets stretching over desolate West Texan plains, every painting by Moore makes the viewer feel a tinge of longing for a different place and time.

"I think it stems from trying to recapture locations through painting," Moore says of her inspiration. “It's that feeling you have in the atmosphere, which you can achieve from just seeing an image of a location. I'm fascinated with architecture and art history, and when I travel and visit a place, the first thing I notice is the architecture and landscape. It's the way I like to speak to the world."

The Houston native says she was drawn to art at an early age. "I was always creative starting in elementary school," she says. "My mom actually took me to play hooky to go the art museum in Houston, and that was the best day. The Houston art scene is pretty rocking, and I realize now I'm lucky to have had access to that culture."

A high school visit to the Parsons School of Design in New York helped her realize the path to becoming a professional artist might not be as farfetched as it once seemed.

"Insta wasn't even around back then, so the idea of being an artist was still so foreign and new," she says.

So, when it came time for college, Moore attended St. Edward's University in Austin, initially intending to study history or archeology. But after taking an art class as an elective, she was all in.

"I'm pretty impulsive sometimes," she says with a laugh. "It's the Scorpio side of me. I also follow my gut often and go with my intuition. So I said, 'I'm going to make this happen — maybe I'll be a curator or work for a gallery or museum.'"

Post-graduation in 2013, she took a year off and started working at the now-defunct bistro Seersucker in Austin, where she met her husband, Kyle. Ultimately, she decided to get her master's in fine arts at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. Her drives back and forth from school to home led to an enduring enchantment with the landscapes of our country. Moore also found herself trying to adapt the juxtaposed buildings and cramped corners of her new city into something a little more palatable to the eye, giving rise to what she initially called a series of "smog paintings."

"When I'd go to Griffith Observatory or Mulholland Drive, I felt like I could take in the city from a safe distance that didn't give me anxiety," she says of the Los Angeles landmarks. "There was an Agnes Martin retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art she painted on squares, and something about the balance of her work resonated, so I bought these little 8x8 wood panels."

The work of Ed Ruscha and films by Hitchcock and Kubrick further opened her eyes to the possibilities within landscape painting. Through classic photos and the city's overlooks, Moore devised a senior thesis based on the film Rear Window.

Post-graduation, she returned to Austin, taking on the role of program director at the nonprofit arts organization Women & Their Work. There, she learned how to curate an exhibition, create press releases and assist with educational programming — all the intricacies of the art world that weren't typically taught in school.


The New School

After watching other artists make a go of it, she was inspired to exhibit her own work. Then, a former St. Edwards professor asked her to have a solo show, and she jumped at the chance. At her first solo show at the institution in 2017, all of her paintings sold.

"I was in shock!" she says. "I just wanted to show my work; I didn't really think about selling it. I made a good amount of money that night, so I thought, 'How can I keep this going?" I started participating in the East Austin studio tour and applying to group exhibitions, and I did some commissions and pop-ups."

Soon, she was consistently participating in exhibitions around Austin. Moore applied to the Other Art Fair's Dallas edition in 2019 and was accepted. This experience also introduced her to local collectors, and when her husband's company wanted to bring him to Dallas, she knew she was ready to tackle a bigger market. After the couple moved, the pandemic paused Moore's service industry side hustle, making it the ideal time for her to devote herself to her artistic practice.

"I operate on a business model where if I have a commission coming up, I know how to look at the next few months to cover my bills and pay for my supplies," she says. "Before the pandemic broke, I had a commission for Google to make three paintings in their headquarters in Austin. I had some money coming in, so I wasn't totally panicking. I was also selling on Saatchi Art and directly through my website. People were online buying art because they were stuck at home."

The inability to travel at the time made Moore's atmospheric landscapes much more covetable. If you couldn't go there in real life, you could at least hang your preferred destination on the wall. Social media was also a tool she used to her advantage. Saatchi Art named her among the "20 Artists to Watch," and the contemporary art website The Jealous Curator featured her work. With curators and collectors tagging her pieces, she soon rose above the 10k follower mark on the social platform, which helped her build a healthy email list.

It also landed her All Those Who Wander, her first solo show for the Ferrara Showman Gallery in New Orleans. Named after a Lana Del Rey song, the exhibition was successful enough for Moore to build a relationship with the gallery, which is showing her current exhibition, Through the Bayou, Into the Garden.

On view through May 25, the "Garden" expands the artist's eye beyond her wide-reaching landscapes to include the marshy wetlands, Uptown mansions, and hauntingly beautiful cemeteries of the Big Easy. Now exploring larger sizes (4-by-6 feet is not uncommon) and higher prices (the work sells from $6,000 to over $18,000), her "love story to New Orleans" is another successful chapter in her growing career.


Indie Film Muses
Moore plans to portray areas that she feels "a kind of connection to," as she participates in shows from California to Singapore.

"I've been thinking about how to make work of countries I've visited," she says. "I think I'm teaching myself how to frame painting outside the United States with my NOLA series."

She continually keeps an archive of photographs she's taken to capture various atmospheres and lighting while relying on films by Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson and Hoyte van Hoytema for further inspiration. But, throughout each painting, she leaves space for viewers to have their own dialogue with the panorama on which they gaze.

"One of my favorite things about having a show is the conversation that stems from someone seeing my work and the memories it brings," Moore says. The work leaves the studio, goes to the gallery, and then goes into their home. They have to feel a connection to it. I'm leaving some void for you to fill if you want it."

Although she has yet to retain local representation in Dallas, Moore isn't bothered. For her, the world remains wide open in the spaces she shows, where her collectors live, and in the vistas she portrays.