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Enjoy Magazine

Continuous Inspiration

05/29/2013 12:42PM ● By Enjoy Magazine
When Tricia Kibler’s family moved into their new home a year ago, she had her priorities sketched out. “We didn’t even have a kitchen table yet and I was on a ladder painting a humpback whale on the wall,” she says.

Such is the life of this stylish, affable artist, whose colorful works are spreading their way throughout the North State. A former hairstylist, she put away her scissors about three years ago to focus on her family and her artwork.

One of her first major public displays was at Brew Craft Coffee in Redding. “When they first opened, they had a call to artists. They love local stuff and were so great,” she says. “Before I had an office, that’s where I’d go and draw.”

She has painted murals at places including the Farmers Insurance office where her studio resides, The Tasting Room, the Elegant Bean in Cottonwood and Yaks Coffee. “Yaks was the hardest job I’ve done — I painted roses on the ceiling,” she says. “I love to go big.”

The Stirring church has also wholeheartedly supported her work, she says. “I do a lot of live art during worship. I have a big canvas and I paint on it while people are singing.”

And an expansive wall at The Social yogurt shop in Redding showcases the first installment in Kibler’s “Pretend” series, in which a woman’s personality is expressed in her hair, since “a woman’s hair makes her feel special and beautiful.”

Says The Social’s owner, Martin Moseley: “I knew as soon as I bought the business that it needed a look that wasn’t done to death, so I called Tricia and gave her a super vague concept of what I wanted. I’m not an artist in any sense of the imagination, and she came in and just went to work, and it’s now one of the highlights of my shop.”

The “Pretend” series has been a mind-stretcher for Kibler. The hair in her “Beauty and the Beast” piece features the iconic rose from the film, and the back captures a lion’s passionate roar. The tresses in “Don’t Let Go” are a tangle of tentacles, seaweed and coral. “Loud Mind” is a chaotic swirl of birds and flowers, the woman’s hair obscuring all but her eyes and nose. “She’s covered up, but can see everything — the beauty in the madness,” Kibler explains.

She’s also gaining acclaim outside the North State. She donated an octopus painting to Monterey Bay Aquarium for a fundraiser, where it was paired with a one-on-one experience with an octopus. The package fetched $2,500 — more than any other — and she’ll donate another this year.

She delights in watching people interpret her work differently, and many of her pieces include nuggets that aren’t designed for anyone to understand but her. In a print on her office wall, a girl’s head is topped with an Alice in Wonderland quote, a gumball machine, a Viewmaster slide and a white owl. “There’s lots of symbolic childhood stuff in my artwork,” she says, sitting behind her mother’s old thick, paint-splattered table that now functions as her desk.

She describes her creative process as a continuous series of inspirations, and as essential to her morning as a mug of coffee. “I go somewhere like Turtle Bay or the antique store, and the trinkets, people, moods, music — a lot of things inspire me,” she says. “I have a ridiculous amount of pens, paintbrushes and sketches in my purse.”

Kibler and her husband, Matt, met on the swim team at West Valley High School when she was 15, and their two sons - Wyatt, 5, and Weston, 7 - are both artists. “Weston will cut shapes, color them and put them together and it’s a huge crocodile. He calls it ‘making his own toys.’ He doesn’t have a big crocodile, so he makes one,” she says.

Encouraging the next generation of artists thrills her. “My mom let me paint a terrible, terrible ocean scene in my room when I was a kid,” she says. “I had very encouraging parents who said, ‘Do what makes you, you.’ Art is how I entertained myself. It’s still how I entertain myself.” •