How this artist stays connected to her grandfather's surrealist legacy...using lighters

Vancouver-based Christina Kenton explains what her surreal lighter-based sculptures have to do with her grandfather's legacy.

File this under unique ways to stay connected to your past

File this under ways to stay connected to your past: this artist is keeping close to her grandfather... with lighters

6 years ago
Duration 3:29
Vancouver-based Christina Kenton explains what her surreal lighter-based art has to do with her grandfather's legacy

There's no very easy way to categorize Christina Kenton's sculptures — they're fantastical and range from dreamlike creatures to intricate bedroom sets, covered in tiny, hand-painted patterns. The common thread is just as unusual: the self-taught artist's sculptures are all built around lighters.

They're also informed by an important part of Kenton's past: her grandfather was a well-known Surrealist painter (one of the founders of Slovak surrealism) named Ladislav Guderna. He was originally from Czechoslovakia and, when he left, made his way through Toronto to Vancouver, where Kenton is now based. His legacy, from books to paintings to writings about his work, is vast.

Growing up in a family full of artists, particularly her grandfather, lit a fire (yes, that's a pun) in Kenton to become a prolific sculptor.

"We both created our own little world when it came to art...I want to leave behind tons of stuff too," she says in this video by Milena Salazar. "We're both always constantly creating and that's what inspires me — and that's also what I feel I inherited: his passion to always create."

See more of Christina Kenton's work at her Tumblr.

Watch Exhibitionists on Friday nights at 12:30am (1am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT) on CBC Television.


Milena Salazar is a Costa Rican documentary filmmaker based in Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish territory. She is fascinated with portraying internal landscapes, and how artists express their imagination into the world.