Kristen Nyberg’s oil paintings explore how elements from the past enhance the spaces we inhabit in the present and the different meanings they hold for the community. Her moody images, many of them incorporating vintage signs, are created not simply to memorialize the past, but to speak to the current Instagram age and suggest that the visual input of our surroundings goes beyond ephemeral.
Nyberg, a native of Marblehead Massachusetts, earned a BFA in Illustration and Design from Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) She worked as a freelance illustrator and eventually moved into sign design. She owns Nyberg Design, which provides a host of illustration and design services to the industry and individual clients.
As the digital image became ubiquitous with a smart phone in everyone’s pocket and social media platforms allowing infinite photos shared at a blinding pace (and thus easily overlooked or discarded), Nyberg felt photography was not sufficient to evoke the mood and implied story that she wants to share. Painting serves her as a meditation on the subject matter, providing a way to entice viewers to pause and consider both the immediate visual impact a vintage element has on its neighborhood as well as the unintended emotional responses attached to it by locals over time.