The blended languages and earliest pictographs of all ancient
cultures and roofs that rust inspire Skaggs’ transcultural
paintings. Her current wave of inspiration comes from the most
primitive masters of Oceanic art and is reflected in her uniquely
personal artistic representations of petroglyphs, tapas, Polynesian
tattoos, Maori carvings, voyaging canoes, mythical animals and
sacred botanicals. It is this interplay of extremes, the juxtaposition
of the primitive and the ultra modern, that infuse Skaggs’
art. The paintings are as much about shape and texture, the
traditional preoccupation of sculpture, as they are about color.
The textures are crowned with precious metals that suggest the
patina of age and reflect Skaggs’ intimacy with metals
from her years in jewelry design.
A life long artist, Skaggs’ moved to Hawaii in 1990 and
designed jewelry for island galleries, basking in the harmony
induced by imposing order, but painting called her back. “These
ancient images are embedded in our DNA and this is why we see
them as evocative and beautiful” Skaggs says. “They
are a silent prayer to the interconnectedness of all things.
I have carried all of this in many different suitcases for many
years and I am grateful for this moment to unpack it all, in
this one place and time.”
Often asked how she creates her multi-layered works of art,
Skaggs said: “I use a renegade process of my own creation
mixing glazes that are composed of oils, acrylics and metallic
leafs. “I often use beer or even champagne in my glazes
as the bubbles give it a nice lift. I create a beloved neutral
order reminiscent of typography and yet I strive for a dimension
of mystery as well.”
The painter’s journey gathered momentum, when, following
years of window design on Rodeo Drive and art direction for
film, television and special events, Skaggs had the opportunity
to study privately with master painter Mr.Gilbert Batty. Batty
first arrived in the United States in the 1940’s at the
invitation of Sir Alfred Hitchcock to apply his decorative painting
skills to the legendary director’s Beverly Hills mansion.
Battys’ study of painting began as a child in the great
buildings of turn-of-the-century London helping his father and
grandfather gild and paint along side the finest craftsmen of
Batty was 92 when Christina began her two-year apprenticeship
in centuries-old painting techniques, and she was his last student.
Christina then studied with Battys’ protégé,
master painter Carol Free, who specialized in painting furniture
inspired by antique European and Asian pieces for showrooms
in the Pacific Design Center and surrounding area. These years
of work, study and artistic practice combined with these aged
yet timeless techniques yielded a multi-dimensional sense of
color, texture and shape. .