A Rolling Stone Gathers a More Unique Perspective

by Karen Phillips


I walked into Chelsee’s Coffee Shop in Winston-Salem to do some writing. It’s a cute little caf’ with an extensive coffee and espresso collection, homemade baked goods and snacks, and a nice little seating area with a TV in the back. I set up on one of the sofas, got a latte, and got to work. As I glanced around the shop to take in my environment, I noticed some interesting art on the wall: sketches of faceless lovers, paintings of couples with television heads and a really touching piece of a woman plagued by the irrational standards society expects of her. I was moved by the imagination behind these images, and decided to track down the artist, Kristal Serrano.

Originally from Puerto Rico, Kristal moved to Orlando, Fla. when she was five years old. Interested in art since she can remember, she became serious about painting in high school. She went to Valencia Community College, but after a few art classes, she decided college wasn’t the right choice for her.

She left school to become a tattoo artist. She survived her apprenticeship, but still wasn’t truly happy with her career path. Having struggled through some relationship issues as well, Kristal began drawing about the recent chapters in her life, which led to her painting career. She decided to branch out and explore the world, so she moved to Greensboro to spread her wings.

Kristal says her work is weird, “surreal art.” Inspired from music, film, life events and other artists, she likes to paint pieces that emote a lot of feelings. Her favorite movies range from romantic comedies to animation to horror films, and she admits she’d be happy watching Never Been Kissed, Wall-E and Dawn of the Dead in the same evening. These three movies capture her artwork perfectly.

“Don’t compare yourself to other artists, that will just bring you down,” Kristal advises.

Her most recent series is her Record Collection. She wanted to combine her love of indie rock and heavy, melodic music with some thing people could relate to, but says she never reveals what the exact meaning behind her paintings are so that anyone can relate to her pieces in their own way. She wants people to feel something when they look at her work. She has a younger fan base with most of her audience ranging between ages 17 and 45.

Kristal likes to carry a sketchbook with her so she can jot down any inspiring images that might pop up. Once she has a visual idea, she preps her canvas with decoupage and draws out a blueprint in chalk. One of her paintings will take anywhere between eight and 15 hours to finish, and she does most of her works in two sizes, 12 by 36 and 32 by 48 inches. Her works sell between $150 and $500.

More of an introvert, Kristal likes to work alone – somewhere quiet and comfortable – maybe with an inspiring movie playing in the background. While she hopes to have a studio of her own oneday, her bedroom works just fine for now.

“Put yourself out there and talk to people; make connections.

You can’t just wait for it to happen,” Kristal suggests. In five years, she hopes to be a successful artist living in California with her own studio, while painting, exhibiting in museums and traveling the world. “It’ll happen,” she promises.

From Puerto Rico to Orlando to Greensboro and ultimately to Los Angeles. The more this stone can roll, the more vivid her art can become.


Kristal’s new collection will be revealed during First Friday festivities in October at Chelsee’s Coffee Shop in Winston-Salem. Spoiler alert: This collection will have a “creepy theme.” Her artwork is also displayed at Ear Shot Record’s in Winston-Salem, and all over Orlando. You can view her Facebook page at, and prints are available for sale at www.