Written by The Vault’s reporter Gretchen (A.k.a. BittenByBill)
Once you get to know Kristin Bauer, it’s hard to imagine she portrays a vicious, vampire bar-owning, human child-hating, and blood sucking termagant in True Blood. I can’t even imagine her doing odd things that some celebrities are caught doing: like pouncing on talk-show hosts’ couches, selling baby photos to tabloids or doing ‘ridamndiculous’ poses for the paparazzi. Oh no, that is simply not Kristin nor will it ever be.
This stunning and statuesque Racine native from Wisconsin is not only a talented actress; she’s a concerned animal activist, a blushing new bride and an extremely gifted artist. I had the great fortune and pleasure of meeting Kristin at her Art show at Anthony’s Framing & Gallery in San Marino CA last September 26. Dressed in a lovely floral printed mini-dress, I found her inside the gallery giving her avid guests a tour of her exquisite work. I also started walking around and saw that she is quite adept in capturing the pure essence of her subjects. Her paintings somehow find a way to ensnare your attention by finding deeper meaning in simple yet beautiful objects. She is somewhat of a symbolic realist.
To me her magnum opus is her “Mother and Child” painting it’s a clear depiction of love and undeniable tenderness between parent and offspring. She even shares with me that it reminds her of Sting’s thought provoking song about the Cold War, “…Russians love their children too”.
As with all my encounters with the True Blood actors, I found myself with looming worries and nervousness but that quickly subsided when I sat down with Kristin and the love of her life, Abri Van Straten (lead singer and guitarist for the band, “The Lemmings”. His solo recording is set to be released later this year as well as the band’s next cd).
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me Kristin. I know you are extremely busy. I would also like to take the opportunity to congratulate you and Abri on your recent nuptials. I especially adore your love story…
KB: [looks at Abri] “Ah yes, you’ve heard of the stalker story.” [laughs]
On her website Kristin tells the story of how she met Abri. She discovered his music by sitting accidentally on his CD in her nutritionist’s waiting room. She bought the CD on Itunes and fell in love with his voice. After several emails to Abri’s manager she managed to set up a date, a second date followed a few days later and they haven’t been apart since. Kristin jokes how she hunted down a man, chained him to her radiator until the Stockholm effect started kicking in.
Did you end up chaining him to your radiator?
AVS: [chuckles and gives Kristin a tight squeeze] “It was hard for me the first month…” [Kristin laughs].
Congratulations too on your art show. It’s such a pleasure to finally see your work. They are all so amazing. You are like the female version of Viggo Mortensen…
KB: “That is such a great compliment. I love his work and I think he’s amazing.”
When did your passion for painting start?
KB: ” Painting was kind of forced on me because I would always draw. I think I was around twelve when I started drawing. My sister went to fine arts school and she was older and I just idolized her. So anything she did, wore, ate, listened to I wanted to do. I thought I drew pretty well and I really did work on it a lot. The first drawing was enough to keep me going and it’s a fun thing to do. And so I went to art school but I would always draw. I didn’t paint at all but 10 years ago at one of the schools I attended, one of the guys suggested I should try a painting class next. At first I was hesitant; I really wasn’t into it at all. I could see it was messy and I just said, “No”. And finally he convinced me and that was it. I immediately started painting after that…it’s everything I loved about drawing and more and I haven’t drawn ever since.”
Where do you do your work? Do you own a studio?
KB: ” I have it in my house. There is a storage space at the back of my garage that is separate from the house and so I turned it into a studio. That is also Abri’s studio so he’ll play classical guitar and I’ll be there painting. It’s really lovely and it’s close to the yard and the dogs have fun running in and out.”
Where do you get your inspiration for you art?
KB: “There are a few things. One is that sometimes I just need to unwind and sort of recuperate and do something because acting is this huge group production. And you try to, you know, get as much of yourself into the role as much as you can and bring that character to life. But then again, somebody wrote it, someone dressed you, someone built the set and someone did your hair and make-up and it’s just this enormous collaboration. You just see the actor but you can’t believe how many people have worked to bring Pam end up in your living room…but painting is just ME. It’s just the polar opposite and somehow it balances the craziness of acting. Then I think, “I need to paint…but what the hell am I going to paint?” And I started doing the flower paintings because of the flowers in my yard and I just started painting the magnolia on the tree. It just starts with, “I want to paint” and then I start looking around…and I’ll paint anything. A house, a car, a tree …my flower paintings are my current passion and it just started when I found these two roses that were particularly pretty in my yard and so I threw them on the table and painted them. It came out so well and it made me so happy that I started looking around for more flowers. So it just sort of happens and starts from needing to do it and then walking around…”
There’s a visceral approach to it…
Do you have a favorite model you like to paint?
KB: ” In class you have all sorts of nude models that come and you just paint whoever comes in. It’s just a challenge to paint a person from life that you’re not even noticing the person in front of you as far as, you know, “are they inspiring me? Do I like how they look?” you’ve only got four hours to get this thing on the canvas and its fight, it’s a battle. Some days go well and some don’t. But when I was doing a couple pieces where I had to hire a model you really do start look for the connection…the feeling…When I did the painting of Mother and Child for example. I called it “Mother and Child” by the way, ‘coz I’m not very inventive with names. [laughs]“
Do you have particular medium you favor and did you ever think about venturing into sculpting?
KB: “I like oil…and I did some sculpting back in college and it’s really fun to make something three dimensional. To build something into 3d is really incredible and I certainly would love to do it in the future.”
At this point in the conversation, Abri comes swooping in to give Kristin a hug and calls her, “my little linebacker”. Kristin must have noticed the confusion in my face because she starts explaining to me:
KB: “He calls me that because I always pose a certain way [she then rests her hands on her hips]. Do I really look like a linebacker Abri?”
AVS: [grins from ear to ear]. Yes. [runs off]
Have you been to South Africa with him?
KB: “Not yet. And we’re waiting until we have about three weeks and it’s such a long flight and he’s like, “I’m not doing it” [laughs] and we’re both waiting because he’s still finishing recording and I’ll probably go back to doing True Blood. So maybe next year…I’m just dying to go though.”
I know you had your wedding at your hometown and so I’m wondering if you plan on doing the same thing when you go back to South Africa with him. You know, get married everywhere.
KB: “That’s what I want to do! I had so much fun and I had never thought I’d be the type of person who’d even dream of their wedding day and then once we got married I felt high on weddings. Just the glow that happens and everyone was nice to us, took care of us, and my family was in love with the entire thing so I said, “let’s go to South Africa and get married again!”.”
Thank you so much Kristin for sharing your time with me and I look forward to seeing you in True Blood and I can’t wait to see more of your art pieces in the future.
KB: “Thank you so much and I appreciate you coming all this way to see me.”
And to show our love for our favorite vampire shrew, I brought with me a gift, courtesy of The Vault and the Stephen Moyer Webring.
She was tickled pink to see her custom made t-shirt and showed it off to Abri and her friends.
The Vampire Vixen t-shirt was made specially for Kristin, but it is now available in the Billsbabe’s Shoppe.
I remember her telling one of her colleagues, “Can you believe I’m already married?” and her friend just replied, “What I CAN believe is why he married YOU”. Hell yeah that’s true. She is the perfect package and she’s right, there is no reason why you can’t fall in love with her.
Kristin Bauer also works on commission, check out her website for more info.
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