You can’t walk by one of Channin Fulton’s murals in San Diego and not stop to smile. Her art makes you want to ride a majestic unicorn over a rainbow while yelling to the world, “I’M AWESOME. I CAN DO ANYTHING!” It’s beautifully vibrant, uplifting, and has your soul doing backflips.
Denise Apgar Photography from Sacramento, CA.
It wasn’t a unicorn that led to her love for art and design. Instead it was a horse; An elementary childhood drawing of a horse.
“My ‘aha’ moment as an artist goes pretty far back to my 1st grade horse painting I got accolades for.” The early positive recognition encouraged her love for art which led to her pursuing design in college.
“Art lead me to design which lead me back to art. My junior year I thought, this design stuff would be a good route to take. It was a way to help other people in a very practical way while still incorporating aesthetic.”
She knew she was no longer just an artist but a designer as well, when she could feel the differences between the two disciplines.
“Graphic Design communicates based off a pre-existing need. Whereas, art is not necessarily focused on serving any particular need.” In summary, she quotes Victor Cousin’s philosophy, “Art for art’s sake.”
Her entrepreneurial leap began with a mixture of self-awareness and life intervention. “After getting laid off from a design agency and interviewing with several companies, I thought to myself, if I want to do more of what I love and remain in San Diego, I have to start it myself.”
How does one launch their own business of merging design and art? Start with what you know, and build around that.
“Having a background in art, brand design, and a love for my local community, it seemed like a good idea to try and merge all those into a business plan. I started by taking a hands-on analog approach to each design, and created the rest from there!”
ChanninFulton.com has blossomed into lettering, illustration, branding, and painted murals.
“Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m an artist in a designers’ body! I love branding, but I’ve found the best path to a fulfilling life as an artist-designer is through lettering and illustration. Those jobs still involve a hands-on process, while serving a client’s deliberate needs. But then I’d love to do more murals. I really do love it all!”
When asked If she could talk to one person from history, who would it be? Her response was former nun, colorful letterer and illustrator, Corita Kent.
“I really admire her and I like to imagine that she passes along little nuggets of truth and encouragement to me personally as if she were a lost relative. She was a badass nun, colorful artist, and innovative designer and educator. Her work reflected her concerns about poverty, racism, and war. She declared messages of peace, joy and social justice through graphic imagery. Corita continues to inspire so many with the bread she left behind.”
Channin describes herself as “Intuitive, warm, and scrappy.” Maybe by scrappy she’s referring to her wardrobe of children’s overalls stuffed with paintbrushes which she considers one of the many benefits of doing outdoor murals. But as an admirer of her work, I see her scrappiness more so as authenticity. There is a rawness to what she creates in which you feel you’re a part of her art. It’s as if the innocence of her childhood horse peeks out in every stroke; Or maybe her artistic warmth and intuition really does come from Corita’s personal “nuggets” of wisdom. Whatever it may be, her vibrant outlook moves us!
-by Tatiana DeMoraes
You can find the murals in this post at Artelexia located at 3803 Ray St, San Diego, CA 92104 & Casa Artelexia located at 2879 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104.