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Creator Spotlight: Crystal Elise Swenson

My Story

Growing up, I used art-making as a way to process my thoughts, feelings, emotions to create an image that expressed externally what was going on internally. I imagined that this was how others could see and understand my emotions and feelings through various lines, colors, and compilations of images. Starting in my professional phase of life as a nurse, I then turned to psychology and specifically art therapy as a way to learn more about what I benefited from as a child and also how I could help others experience it. I use my medical knowledge of how the body works alongside my understanding of the human psyche to engage in art influenced by human anatomy. Illustrating how beautifully and effortlessly our bodies work with the emotions and feelings is a powerful force. Expressing this in a visual art form allows others to see similarities and differences that make us each a unique being. All bodies are good bodies. All emotions are helpful emotions. All humans are worthy of love and support regardless.

My Craft

My art style embodies the use of organic materials such as nature, emotions, color, and abstract visuals alongside the anatomical images that create every human. Placing these images together can create a juxtaposition of feelings vs. thought. I hope to use my artwork in a way that destigmatizes the stereotypes of mental health as well as soften the medical gaze to rehumanize the idea of humanity. I got back into art after becoming an RN after falling head over heels in love with the street art scene in Los Angeles. I became a groupie of the local artists and followed them around to local art shows and tried to ask as many questions as I could. Well-known street artists like Basquiat (SAMO), Keith Haring, Shepherd Fairy, and Banksy to LA street artists and Chicago street artists know the impact of temporary art (art that can be removed/vandalized/stolen) being placed in everyday spaces. I continue to learn and appreciate the street art values and the act of removing art from catered elite venues to accessible spaces.

Creative-ish Process

I enjoy the messiness and sensory aspect of creating art. I typically am drawn to sketching and painting but find myself using mixed media to draw on all elements of an image. For example, I use collage and embroidery alongside paintings. I recently started exploring digital art as a more readily on the go art making space or as a means to connect with others outside of my local area. I currently use Procreate on my iPad Pro + Apple Pencil. I still incorporated the sensory feel of paper by adding a matte screen cover to my iPad to mimic the feel of sketching on a rougher surface. Some projects take longer than others as the inspiration formulates throughout the creation and others are more immediate and have completion in sight. I enjoy the hands-on approach and one day hope to do a large scale mural! {Contact me if you know any blank walls that need some zhushing up.}


Motivation can be tough when engaging in a busy life. Not all motivational techniques are going to be one size fits all, but I have learned what works best for myself when feeling unmotivated. START SMALL! I start with something small, manageable, and typically something I am able to complete within one sitting. It can be a mini collage on a notecard, a quick comic of something that happened during my day, or a quick sketch of something around me. I feel very honored to have a dedicated space for art making in my art studio and enjoy being able to get messy and leaving it until the next time I am motivated. I tend to create art alongside other art making individuals or play music that fits my mood while having incense burning and a tasty drink to sip on (be careful not to use it as your paintbrush water tho! *facepalm*)! Having a dedicated space to create definitely helps with the psyche of coming into an inspired place. Play some music, get down & dirty with the art supplies, and create something that never existed before!

My Social Media

Interested in submitting your work to be featured on a Creator Spotlight? Email me at or go to Contact.


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