Creative Loving: Khris Johnson & Kristin Northup, brewing up creativity

click to enlarge Kristin Northup (L) and Khris Johnson at Green Bench Brewing in St. Petersburg, Florida on February 6, 2017. - Kamran Malik
Kamran Malik
Kristin Northup (L) and Khris Johnson at Green Bench Brewing in St. Petersburg, Florida on February 6, 2017.

Brayden should get an award. Kristin Northup’s son actually met her boyfriend Khris Johnson first, after wandering into the back of Green Bench Brewery after a “Bots and Brews” science event in 2014.

“We kind of hit it off,” Johnson, head brewer of Green Bench, told CL about the curious kid. “He’s interested in a lot of the equipment we have in the brewery, so next thing we knew we were hanging out playing with some of the brewery equipment.”

Northrup, an extremely prolific St. Pete-based designer whose many, many projects include at least one “Nasty Woman” shirt, was immediately drawn to Johnson’s friendly energy and warm smile. After a few dates, Johnson found the he felt incredibly comfortable around Northup. Conversations were — and remain — very easy, and now their romance and appreciation for each other has blossomed into an existence where the love enhances their individual creative endeavors.

“Part of Khris's brilliance is his fearlessness,” Northrup said about the many special beers he’s created. She says that support from him helps her act that way, too, and she’s inspired by the way he moves through the world. “I'm not always the bravest person. He encourages me to be and to do what I want in life.” Johnson, on the contrary, thinks Northup is extremely strong and unafraid to use her voice when the time is right.

“She stood up for herself in the face of a dividing and alienating time. It takes incredible courage to put yourself out there like that,” he said of the “Nasty Woman” campaign. “It's very easy to keep your mouth shut or to make noise anonymously, but that's not her. Kristin is an extremely strong person. Even if sometimes she feels helpless. She's a defender, and when she needs to be, a fighter, and I cannot describe how proud I am of her for that.”

The pair offer bits of advice when it comes to each other’s creative work, but they know they’re not qualified to fully critique the merits of their beloved’s craft. Instead, they lean on this idea that they will certainly change as people over the years, which is okay.

“There's nothing but support for the other person's growth,” Johnson said. “Which is special.”


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Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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