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Lansdowne’s house artist

She’s a girl who loves making monsters. She also paints pirates, sometimes with missing teeth, who are growling "Barrrr!" and blowing out bottle-shaped vapors of "super-bad alcohol breath." She creates alien descendents, learning the finer points of molded-costume making from gore-metal-warrior-freak band Gwar. She’s even worked with fighting-monster spectacle Kaiju Big Battel — her "specialty" was monstrous sewer grates.

Yet among all the snarling buccaneers and thrash-metal creatures she’s crafted over the last few years, the "most remembered" creations by Kristin Rauwerdink (a/k/a Ktron) are a giant pair of breasts.

Ktron, a 25-year-old Fenway artist, builds sets at Avalon. Last year when the boob-fest video franchise Girls Gone Wild came to the Lansdowne Street nightclub, she erected an oversize bikini-topped babe and rigged the mechanical model to flash the dance floor with the help of an invisible hand. "I sat back there and pulled [a] string half the night," she recalls, giggling.

Ktron came to New England in 2001 after two years of art school in Milwaukee. "Wisconsin’s great, it’s just not conducive to art," she says of her home state. "If I wanted to be a wildlife artist, yeah, I’d stay there. I’d paint ducks all day." She escaped to the Rhode Island School of Design, where she got started working with Gwar (she still travels down to their Richmond art space to help out every year). In the fall of 2003, three months after graduating, she landed the gig at Avalon.

These days, when the club wants a set for a special event — like the enormous battleship it needed when the USS JFK docked in South Boston last May — that’s Ktron’s job. Typically, she’ll spend two weeks to a month constructing a set, then another day installing her creation. For a drive-in-themed event, she constructed a blue convertible with a license plate that read MAKEOUT and a light-up HEARTBREAK HOTEL sign. She’s also built a giant Aztec temple, a nine-foot robot, and a wide-mouthed fish. "I build sets where people can mack on each other," she says with a sly smile.

Ktron is also Lansdowne Street’s unofficial house artist. She created the blue-and-lavender DANCE HERE Avalon mural that faces the Mass Pike. She’s made tiki masks for the Tiki Room. And she painted the handful of rock-album-themed images currently hanging in Bill’s Bar, including "Meat Loaf on his motorcycle shooting out of [the] Duran Duran Rio [cover] girl’s chest."

Right now, Ktron has six paintings in "Secret Identity," a group show at the Diesel Café in Davis Square. Not surprisingly, they’re cartoony portraits of fictional monsters and villains. Two depict pirates sword-fighting on the ocean, dueling for each other’s gold so relentlessly that they’re about to sink each other’s ships and become shark bait for a ravenous, fork-wielding great white. In a piece called Modern Love, video-game screen shots show Ms. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong falling in love, leaving Pac-Man weeping and Mario finally making off with the Princess. There’s even a monkey fight inspired by Lee "Scratch" Perry.

"My influences are all over the place," says Ktron. "I just want to make stuff. I like to paint, I like to sculpt, I like to make funny things. I can’t stay idle."

"Secret Identity" will be at the Diesel Café, 257 Elm Street, Somerville, through Tuesday, September 13 | free | visit www.kristinrauwerdink.com

Issue Date: August 12 - 18, 2005
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