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Local teenager sells artwork for hundreds of dollars

Krista Sponsler poses with some of her art.
Krista Sponsler poses with some of her art.(Zach Shrivers)
Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 9:04 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va (WTAP) - Not many teenagers pick up glass painting as a hobby, even fewer successfully sell their pieces for any significant profit. But one recent Parkersburg High School graduate likely has a steady fall back career if she decides the FBI isn’t for her.

Krista Sponsler is just 18 years-old, but she’s already selling paintings for a profit.

Always helping her former Fenton Glass artist grandmother with projects, Sponsler started taking her own talents seriously at age 14. She began by painting Christmas ornaments and selling them for a few dollars a piece. That’s when she realized she had a lucrative business on her hands.

“I would do deals, like 3 for 12, but after that I was like hey, this is going pretty well. So I joined my grandma in these [online] auctions,” said Sponsler.

Those online auctions recently helped her sell a painted glass lamp shade for over $800. She’s making a lot of profit too, as she buys most of her supplies from her family at a discount. And occasionally she’ll buy from antique stores.

“I only buy if it’s really cheap or I can talk them down,” said Sponsler.

A 2020 graduate of PHS, art isn’t Sponsler’s first choice in a career path. She’s already planning on attending Fairmont State University to earn a degree in forensic science. With many aspirations, she hopes to one day work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

That’s not to say she doesn’t want to continue working in the arts though. One of her dreams is to one day own her own art gallery and studio.

“I plan on keeping art as a side hobby. You know, a little extra cash here or there,” said Sponsler.

Beyond their dollar value, some of Sponsler’s pieces have a deeper meaning or message within them. Her recently sold $800 lamp shade depicts five cities across the world for a reason.

“There’s a lot of hard times going on in the world right now. A lot of people not being accepted for who they are and where they come from. I wanted to incorporate five beautiful cities and just basically show no matter where you’re from, we are all one. We are gods and that’s beautiful. I really wanted to show that no matter where you come from, we are all in this together,” said Sponsler.

As for the craft itself, Sponsler says painting glass can be more difficult than canvas work, especially if she isn’t working with a flat surface, as is the case with Christmas ornaments. She says satinising the glass also helps paint stick to the surface, but that does take some shine away.

For sparkly art, Sponsler has her own unique way of giving her pieces some shine.

“My grandma and I have this secret sparkle we put on our glass. It’s secret because we don’t want to tell anyone,” Sponsler said, laughing as she did so.

Glass isn’t the only thing Sponsler knows how to paint. She’s been known to venture onto canvas as well.

Like many artists, Sponsler loves to be creative. Also like many artists, she’s a self-described perfectionist. She finds painting both relaxing and stressful.

“Painting helps me relax, but at the same time it causes a lot of anxiety because I’m a perfectionist. If I mess up, I get angry,” said Sponsler. “I just love the thought of creating something new and different and showing it to people that haven’t thought of those things.”

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