Born in Saigon, Viet Nam. Kristan immigrated to the United States in 1975. Her father was an architect, so she developed an interest in drawing as a child watching him sketch buildings and trees.
Her art education during her youth consisted of the basic high school art classes. At age 16, she won the grand prize in a San Diego County Congressional Art Competition which resulted in that drawing being exhibited at the Capital in Washington D.C.
Afterward, her art was put on hold. In 1991, she graduated with a B.S. in Cognitive Science at the University California of San Diego. She spent the next nine years working as a Software Engineer. In 1999, she decided to pursue what she truly loved and enrolled in San Francisco Academy of Art University. While at the academy, she won the Director’s Choice Award and the show’s Grand Prize award. In addition, she also won the Grand Prize Award sponsored by the International Artist magazine. In 2001, she graduated with a BFA in Drawing and Painting.
She now teaches drawing and painting at the Academy of Art University, in the Masters of Fine Art Program.