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Meet Christina Zwart of zwARTinstallations in MetroWest

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Zwart.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Christina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
After working in public relations and fundraising for many years, I was at home caring for our two young boys when I saw an article in The Boston Globe about the woman who did the window displays at Shreve, Crump & Low—the “gem” of Boston and America’s oldest jeweler. For a long while, I had had a secret desire to do the same. I sent her a letter and resume that day, and, long story short, ended up working with her for four years. I built props and designed window displays not only for Shreve’s, but eventually for Hermès in Boston, for Lux, Bond & Green in Boston and West Hartford, and for Valentino and the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Ultimately, I decided to have a go at it on my own, and founded zwARTinstallations in 2008. Since then, I’ve been designing and installing works in businesses, restaurants and homes. In 2014, I added two new gigs: membership in the Boston Sculptors Gallery, and curating art for ONE® Condoms wrappers at Global Protection Corp. in Boston.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
On the zwARTinstallations front, the biggest challenge is keeping the new business pipeline full while working on current jobs. And it’s tough wearing every hat—from pitching potential clients and ideating to sourcing materials, and building and installing the work. And then there’s paperwork and billing. When people ask me what I do, I say, “I’m a juggler!” I’m constantly trying to keep all the balls in the air: zwARTinstallations, gallery work, condom art. Add kids, the house, the bills, the dog, and it’s quite the circus.

Please tell us about zwARTinstallations.
I design large-scale, multi-perceptional installations—often for office lobbies—that relay the mission of the company to anyone who walks in, be they potential employees, investors, partners, board members or visitors. I’ve always loved surprises and have translated that to my work: It appears to be one thing from afar, but, upon closer inspection, is something else entirely. I like arranging multiples in grids and patterns to create layered, macro/micro work: Black diamond shapes covering the wall of an education company are graduation caps whose buttons are round flags and whose tassels sport the company logo for the charm. A white “cloud” ceiling for a database company is rows of folded Rolodex cards. A colorful backdrop for a bar is filled with smashed beer bottle caps. I design and fabricate similar pieces for my gallery work, but there I get to play! My favorite thing is finding the unusual—horseshoe crab sheds, kinetic sand, dead bees—and arranging them by the thousands to “write” political or social commentary. In my work for ONE® Condoms, could it get any more fun than searching for art, developing relationships with artists and reproducing their designs on a 2.5-inch circular wrapper?!

What were you like growing up? Personality-wise, interest-wise, etc.?
I was a pretty driven kid, focusing primarily on grades, piano and classical ballet lessons. I was determined to become a professional ballerina. I first danced with Virginia Ballet Company and Washington Ballet in the DC area, then made it into the summer programs at Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theatre in NYC. An injury forced me to change direction, so I went to college instead.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Greg Case, Allison Rose, David Lee Black, Jane O’Donnell

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