Kaitlin Ziesmer Creates Starstruck Paintings

You can find art all over town -- not just on gallery walls. In this series, we'll be looking at some of the local artists who serve up their work in coffeehouses and other non-gallery businesses around town.

"I'm obviously inspired by film," says freelance artist Kaitlin Ziesmer, who paints famous movie and TV faces onto generic bodies, including her own. Ziesmer loves old-time nostalgia, and so do her fans -- so much so that they're constantly making suggestions about what they'd like to see next. Ziesmer's done most of her childhood favorites: Storm Troopers, Power Rangers, even the Gremlins, which scared the bejesus out of her when she was little. "I'm fascinated with combining things that don't go together," Ziesmer says. "I'm really fascinated by helmets, too. I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan, but I love how the stuff looks."

See also: A Colorado Coal Miner's Great-Granddaughter Paints the Town

Ninety percent of the time, Ziesmer paints famous heads on her own body, dabbling with self-portraiture in the process. And she doesn't try to hide her imperfections, either -- she owns them in a very refreshing way.

At the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, where Ziesmer earned a BSA, she experimented with putting animal heads on human bodies -- not a totally unique concept. Those experiments, though, morphed into something atypical, and Ziesmer has been incorporating her trademark interpretations of the silver screen into her work ever sense. Most recently, she completed a Moonrise Kingdom series, depicting Suzy as a bird and Sam as a raccoon.

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After graduating from college in 2010, Ziesmer began doing freelance work on a full-time basis: She reports happily that commissions -- mostly custom portrait work -- pay the bills. That makes it easier to create the show-stopping paintings currently on display at Pajama Baking Company.

Continue reading for more on Ziesmer's artistic endeavors. The black-and-white drawings hanging at Pajama Baking Company are also Ziesmer's. "Even though they look different, I use the exact same cut-and-paste approach," the artist says. She always knows what a piece will look like before she starts, and is extremely methodical with both her acrylics and pencils.

Ziesmer says her motivation for the paintings "has a lot to do with color." She calls her pieces "bright and showy," and says she thinks they work well in coffeehouses, where she's been pleased by the heavy foot traffic and positive feedback. "My favorite part about painting is picking out the background colors," continues Ziesmer. She also enjoys messing with scale -- no small feat, given her quaint studio space.

Keep reading for more pieces by Kaitlin Ziesmer.

Ziesmer's work was displayed at Café Europa in July, and she's signed on for a show at Pablo's Coffee that opens with a reception on December 5. Ziesmer also sells prints on Etsy. For more information, visit her website.

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