Krista with her toy poodle, Little Debbie.
A photo Krista snapped of her cat, Faloola.
Santa Fe artist Krista Brooks has a passion for all things vintage. At Georgia State University in Atlanta, while working on her graphic design BFA, she would skip lunch to visit the bookstore and pick up works on vintage design collections. These books opened a new world to her, as she fell for the opulent cigar labels, elegant art deco posters, and whimsical matchbook covers of early 20th century design.
When she moved to New Mexico in 1995, while standing in her bare apartment, she was inspired to make her first retro paintings. "I pored through my books and found the images I loved best, then painted them large, on masonite or old wood and antiqued them." Soon after, her friend Jason approached her with the idea of painting his Jack Russell terrier, Fergus. "I figured why not do it as a beer label, Flying Fergus Pale Ale - Good Dog Good Beer, with his little dog leaping through the center?" This became her first Retro Pets design, and in 1998 sparked the idea to take commissions for vintage pet paintings.
Krista took her fledgling new business to the Santa Fe Tesuque Flea Market (which is really more of an art market) selling both commissioned paintings and the first Retro Pets art prints for the next two years. Then in 2000, she began selling her prints to gift stores, growing over the next decade to the more than 350 which now market her work. Most recently, in 2010 Krista opened the Retro Pets gallery in Santa Fe, giving loyal customers an opportunity to now find all of her designs in one location.