Get to know artist Christie Russert

Christie Russert is a designer based in Chicago, IL. Her work is a blend of vibrant, abstract patterns and landscapes that have 70's, west coast influences.  She sells her artwork under the brand, Sunshine Canteen, and licenses her designs through Society6 and various brand collaborations.

Tell us about yourself 

I’m a midwest girl with a west coast heart. Growing up in Wisconsin, I’ve always had an affection for the skate, surf and music culture of California.  It was all so exotic to me and has always always been a source of inspiration in my creative work and style. 

I live in Evanston, Illinois with my husband and 9 month old son - (who I can’t wait to teach how to skate!)  I run my illustration and art licensing brand, Sunshine Canteen.  I started the brand as a way to embrace a “sunshine state of mind” no matter where you may be.  I channel that California love affair into my art. When I create, it brings me to that “happy place” and I want to inspire that laid-back lifestyle into everyday life.

Her waves interview surf artist sunshine canteen

What inspires the art that you create?

I take a ton of photos, whether it is interesting textures, objects or colors that I see. I’m always inspired by traveling to new places or exploring favorite familiar ones. I am drawn to vintage design, and love digging around at antique stores and flea markets for inspiration. Being in nature also is a big one for me. When I’m doing any type of outdoor activity, it brings a sense of calmness, happiness and creativity that I look to when making art. 

Her waves interview surf artist sunshine canteen

What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist/entrepreneur?

To put myself out there. I’m a bit of an introverted extrovert, you might say. It took me a long time to build up the courage to start my business and put myself and my artwork out there. I’ve noticed when I do push myself great things can happen!

Her waves interview surf artist sunshine canteen

What advice do you have for other artists looking 

Do something every day, whether it is big or small to help propel yourself forward. Some days are far more productive than others, but every little inch forward helps. 

Her waves interview surf artist sunshine canteen

When did you start skating?

I started snowboarding when I was 13 and not too long after that I started longboarding. Through skate videos and primarily the film, Dogtown & Z Boys, I was captivated by the culture. I was not only drawn into the physical act of skating/snowboarding but the artwork that was showcased across boards, magazines and apparel.  I knew that I wanted to contribute to this culture. That eventually drove me to study graphic design in college. 

Her waves interview surf artist sunshine canteen

Tell us about your quiver (all the boards you have)

I once counted how many boards that we have in our household and it was definitely in the double digits.

I enjoy it all… I have a longboard, skateboard, surf-skate, paddle board, snowboard and even a sandboard! 

However, my longboard is near and dear to me, it is a concave-pintail Sector Nine.  I bought it when I was 14, (I’m 35 now 😆)  and I didn’t have a credit card or checkbook yet, so I had to get a money order from the bank! I still have it and ride it time to time, but I’m afraid it will break! It will eventually be hung as an art piece!

Her waves interview surf artist sunshine canteen

Dawn patrol or sunset surf? Or Street or skateparks?

I aspire to be a dawn patrol person.. but realistically with our schedule, an after work paddle or skate is what typically happens. As for skating, I love cruising around. When I’m in parks, I’m a big fan of the mini ramp!

Where is your favorite surf break? 

Currently, it is Lake Michigan! I have a paddle board that I “surf” with. 

My favorite surf spot to visit is Encinitas, California. 

Your favorite quote to live by?

Cliche as it may be, it is “Carpe Diem”. I even have it tattooed on my wrist!  I truly believe in seizing each day we have. Living life to the fullest in whatever capacity you can. Whether it is doing something epic like traveling, or completely mundane like organizing your closet. I believe you can grow from experiences and achievements--  both big and small.  

Her waves interview surf artist sunshine canteen

Current obsession?

Marbling/tie dye

Guilty pleasure?

Bro comedies: Entourage, Workaholics, Silicon Valley.

Favorite song lyric? or Favorite band/musician? 

My taste is all over the board so it is hard to pick just one but I’ve broken it down:

My favorite band to see live is Phish. My husband and I see a few of their shows every year! 

All-time classic favorite: Beastie Boys

Recent favorite in the past 5 years: Jungle

Her waves interview surf artist sunshine canteen


IG: @sunshinecanteen

I’m inspired by the water, the sun, the moon, and the stars. My countless wipeouts, my dreams of noseriding, and the feeling I get when sliding across the face of a wave.

Meg Jacovino