dialogue with treehouse artists

I’m Kristen Silva. I’m an artist. I paint with coffee like it’s a watercolor on paper.

It was a total accident. I accidentally got coffee on paper I needed. It was an important piece of paper. I stuck it up and it was on a wall in my workspace so I stared at it for weeks. I wrote a note in my phone “coffee like a watercolor” and it sat in my phone for two years.

So, this is my second year painting with coffee. I’ve used other mediums before but this is my first endeavor with that.

What have you been working on recently?

I’ve been prepping for more art shows I’ve been studying on how to approach on a bigger canvas. When people look at my smaller pieces, as much as they’re fun to explore, bigger pieces are much more interactive.

Have you tried painting on a big canvas?

I’ve been trying to troubleshoot an organic material. Like coffee. You don’t want mold or anything. It’s a whole different art project. It’s kind of hazardous and edgy. [laughs]

What self-resistance do you run into as an artist?

A lot of artists run into doubt. I, of course, run into doubt. It was heavier when I started. But it’s less severe now but it does come back around.

What kind of doubt?

It has ranged. It gets really broad and then very specific.

When you first start out, there are so many artists so you wonder what makes you worth looking at.

The smaller, day-to-day, doubts are like “you’re not creating today.” “Do you still have it?” “Is it still there?” I can be heavy on myself.


Why do you make art? What’s the point?

Oh, that’s a good one. 

The reason why I, personally, make art is to not shut the world out. Without it, I would be a totally different person. Of course, it’s a creative outlet but it opens people up to you. You’re opening up to people but it really invites to open up to you. It invites people in.

At least you have it out there, out of your body, out of your head and it’s not creating that doubt anymore. 

I’m just trying to not shut people out.

It’s so easy to be in your head and feel like nobody gets it.

What role does art have in society?

How do I put this?

There’s a billion reasons why - it’s all trying to bottle neck out.

One more time.

What role does art have in society?

Art allows discussion. It allows a platform. When we observe things, we share that with people. Visual art prompts someone next to you to actually talk about it. They share that emotion with you.

It’s about sharing things with others and not going through things alone.

It’s like a cool flag that says that it’s okay to feel these things. To discuss these things. Art opens you up to everybody. It opens you up to people.


Art allows discussion. It allows a platform. When we observe things, we share that with people. Visual art prompts someone next to you to actually talk about it. They share that emotion with you.

What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you and did you use it drive your art?

Absolutely. Oh my god.

I feel like a lot of people can relate to this. I found out I had anxiety from experiencing my first panic attack. It affected me in two ways. One, I had to step away from coffee which is hilarious. So, eventually, I came back into it and I had a different appreciation for it. Secondly, it affected me with art because I had to emote things a little bit differently. Different methods. Loosening up was huge. I used to be one of those artists who had a plan, was very tight with all her work and if it wasn’t just like that, it wasn’t good. After anxiety, it had a face, a name and after that, I was able to loosen up a bit and not ignore it and work with it. I could work around it. It didn’t control me like before, it just became a person with a seat at the table but it wasn’t running the meeting anymore.

What about the best thing?

This is going to be so corny but art. Actually allowing myself to do it. You hear people say that “anyone can do it” but actually, truly letting myself to do it without any of that noise, not criticizing myself, opening up myself to that entire environment totally changed the game.

Currently showing at: BLVD Cafecito in Burbank