Stina Henslee

Dubuque, IA


Stina Henslee is a mixed media artist and graphic designer, who relocated to Dubuque in 2020 from her hometown of Chicago in 2020. At the age of two, she decided she wanted to be an artist when she grew up, and spent her formative years obsessively drawing the Pegasus and other equine forms. In 1999 she spent a year in Helsinki attending a fine arts high school and then continued her arts education at Washington University in St. Louis where she studied Printmaking, German and Art History, graduating magna cum laude in 2004. After university she spent six months in Berlin as an intern at the Double Standards design firm. Since then she has maintained an artistic practice, while working as a graphic designer, primarily in book and catalog design. 


Artist Statement

My artistic career is focused on the juxtapositions found in everyday life, specifically the whimsical and dark, and the comic and tragic. I strive to create images that embrace the concept of magical realism by melding the everyday with the fantastic, and always with a dash of humor. I often use anthropomorphic figures as vehicles for the human condition to portray loneliness, violence, and shame. A dear friend recently told me that my work always has elements of cheesiness, but somehow is never actually cheesy – which was high praise. I use my art as a vehicle to work through challenges I personally face – creating correlating bodies of work with specific themes. In the past I have tackled environmental change, destructive relationships with food, and religious trauma stemming from an Evangelical upbringing. Currently I am working on a body of art concerning tension – in both the physical and theoretical meaning of the word. I don’t like to tie myself to one medium – though I am most comfortable with ink and watercolor. I have been pushing myself since the pandemic to explore new pathways – experimenting with spray paint, acrylic, collage, and fabric. 

Stina Henslee, Tension II, 2023, Spray paint, ink, collage, and acrylic on illustration board, 34" x 44"