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The tally is in. Local artist and interior designer Christy Niedersteiner has been selected as the 2022 Stampede Lottery Dream Home Artist, an award and opportunity that will give this Nanton resident, self-professed animal lover and mother of three, plenty of exposure.
“We were drawn to Christy’s work because of its texture and colours and the fact that she works in so many different mediums — acrylic, chalk and sculpture. Her work is incredible and will give a really unique variety through the home,” says Julie Punter, show home selections and presentation manager for Homes by Avi. Niedersteiner was selected from a pool of more than 40 talented artists from across western Canada.
The Stampede Lottery Dream Home Artist Project is a partnership between Homes by Avi, Gibson Fine Art, the Stampede Lotteries and the Rotary Club of Calgary South. Punter says that this year’s home will be the biggest yet (it’s just over 2,500 square feet) and have a unique styling.
“We’re calling it ‘natural style moderne,’ but it really takes its inspiration from art deco with arch detailing, fluted panelling on the walls, curves, warm natural oak tones, plenty of wood, and lots of soft creams and neutral colours,” says Punter. The three-bedroom home has a Craftsman exterior with a big, old-world front porch and a rear-attached garage. Banks of windows make the home light and bright. “Because of the expansive windows on the main floor, the biggest opportunities for art are through the two-storey stairwell, the hallways and the upstairs bonus room with built-in entertaining bar.”
Niedersteiner is excited by the challenge and has already begun mapping out the pieces for the Dream Home — she’ll be creating more than 30 of them. “They’ll be all different sizes, but I mostly love to work in large scale. It’s just so much more impactful to me,” she says.
She’ll be working in chalk, acrylic and also sculpture, using a technique where she layers hand-cut pieces of recycled Styrofoam, plaster and wood to create robust and textural wall art.
As for a colour scheme, Niedersteiner says she’ll be using mostly neutrals — “black, white and beiges with pops of earthy colours, like terracotta, desert pink and mustard yellow.”
She’ll use the home’s design as a jumping off point and then incorporate pieces infused with layers of texture and movement. She works mainly in abstract and likens her work to the intersection of interior design and art. “I’m really inspired by nature and the small things, the beauty in life, the landscapes, the patterns in leaves and as I am always working with stone in interior design, I feel compelled to put that on paper in an abstract way — the marble, the onyx,” she says.
For her, art is a meditative practice and she wants people to enjoy her work in the same way.
“When they experience it, I want them to feel calm and serene,” she says, adding that she loves the fact that some of her work is so fragile, especially the chalk drawings. “If you touch the chalk, it comes off in your hands; it is so delicate, it’s like our environment,” she says, intimating nature’s ever-changing and fleeting beauty. “It’s just so important to take time to enjoy these natural things, while we can.”
Her father, a retired millwright, will be helping to craft the wood frames for the sculptures.
“I am so excited to be working with him and spending time with him on this,” says Niedersteiner, who always knew from the time she was little that she would be working in the visual arts.
She began her art studies as a drawing major at the Alberta University of the Arts (formerly Alberta College of Art and Design — ACAD), first exploring the genre of realism, using the mediums of chalk and charcoal on paper. She soon found that she was also intrigued by sculpture and in one of her first jobs post-university, she was hired on as a sculptor for Studio Y, working primarily with Styrofoam, which planted the seed for her present-day work with her signature wall sculptures.
She then took a hiatus from commercial art to raise her three children, now aged 15, 18 and 21, and in 2014 returned to school, this time to study interior design at Mount Royal University. She graduated in 2016 and has been working as a designer for the past six years at ANA Interiors, a Calgary-design firm.
“But the entire time, while raising my kids and working as a designer, I have been doing my art,” says Niedersteiner, who has a small studio in her Nanton home. “Although quite often, when I’m working on a project, everything spills out into the entire home, which is actually quite fun.”
She is excited to be taking her art to the next level and will be taking a leave of absence from interior design to complete the project.
More than 100,000 people are expected to tour this year’s home during the 10-day Calgary Stampede event, which takes place July 8 to 17.
Post-Stampede, the Dream Home will be moved to Calgary’s southeast community of Walden.