Aug. 7 2013 01:13 PM

San Diego artist isn't such a goth

“Love Butter” by Junk & Po

"OK, this is kind of weird now that I think about it," says multimedia artist Krissy Fernandez, who works under the name Junk & Po (,, "but in sixth grade, I remember watching a dead cat decompose on the side of Pizza Hut on my daily bus route to school. Day by day, this cat I frequently saw frolicking around had slowly disappeared back into the Earth. I was mesmerized at the transformation process of creation, from life to death and back to life."

Um, whoa. OK, then. 

While it could come across as morbid, the story has a strange beauty to it, and Fernandez says she knew from that point on that all she wanted to do was "make stuff." That stuff includes jewelry design, fashion photography and intricately detailed oil paintings of the lowbrow, Juxtapoz variety that she displays at shows by collectives like RAW and Cobra Heart (her next one will be with Arte Fresca in late September).

"In my paintings, I like to explore themes of isolation, disconnection and hypocrisy, all within grander themes of love, religion and society," says Fernandez, who grew up in the Philippines and Guam before moving to San Diego at 18 after falling in love with the local art scene. "The mood is usually melancholic, eerie and dreamy, and I try to make my color palette reflective of that."

Looking at the paintings, which, on the surface, seem quite dark, with a fantastical girl caricature in strange situations, it'd be easy to assume that Fernandez is some kind of tortured goth type who listens to Bauhaus on a loop and is obsessed with Salvador Dali. In conversation, however, she's bubbly, enthusiastic and uses smiley emojis after nearly every text. Even her art name is a clever play on words for the Japanese version of Rock, Paper, Scissors.

"Rock, Paper, Scissors was the first game I learned from my father," Fernandez says. "Growing up poor in the Philippines, where power outages for months were common, the game was considered entertainment without needing a single thing other than you and another individual. For me, the game represented making something out of nothing and a reminder that you are never alone."

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