“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” ~Pablo Picasso
Meet talented Los Angeles based abstract and mixed media artist, Staci Cross, as my latest Artist Spotlight Series feature. She uses color, formation, and line discovery to express thoughtful, emotional imagery to the canvas.
Los Angeles, California
What is your training?
I loved my art classes at school as a child/teenager growing up in South Texas and spent most of my free time doodling and finding ways to be creative. Later I found myself attending the University of Southern California and graduated with Bachelor of Arts from the School of Cinema-Television.
Most recently, I’ve taken classes at The Brentwood Art Center in Santa Monica and studied under Jill Douglas.
What inspires your designs?
My process is very organic and it is often my goal to meditate or pray before I start working. I find this helps to clear my mind of the clutter and focus on being free and present. I never wait to be inspired. Doing the work is what brings inspiration. My belief is that the art is already alive in the room and therefore it is waiting for me to find it. I’m just the vessel between what is already there and what is seen on the canvas. When I step into the studio and pick up the brushes, the muses speak. It’s my job to get out of their way and let them inspire. When all of these processes are in alignment, the work pours out plentifully and with beautiful abandonment. There are no mistakes. One brush stroke or line placement leads to another and unfolds itself before me. And I LOVE mixing colors. Very rarely do I use a color straight from the tube. In fact, my favorite hashtag is #mixedcolorsarethebestcolors.
Additionally, I can’t worry about the judgments of the public or whether or not someone “likes” my work. That would be a waste of time. Andy Warhol said “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
The more I dedicate my working hours to the art, the more inspired I become. Painting has become my professional job and I couldn’t feel more blessed that this was my chosen path. These works will live on much longer than I will in the physical body but the soul endures and I hope we’re always together.
One of my favorite books for working artists is THE WAR OF ART by Steven Pressfield.
He outlines different forms of resistance and all of the internal and external things that can keep us from our true calling. His book helped me say goodbye to amateur hour and hello to becoming a professional painter. His idea on approaching the mystery of art is so interesting to me. He writes “because when we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen. A process is set into motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid. Unseen forces enlist in our cause; serendipity reinforces our purpose. This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.” ~Steven Pressfield
What is your favorite piece?
Gypsy in my Soul, 48 x 36
I was actually quite sad when it sold. This piece had been hanging in my bedroom for some time and I had grown super attached to it. While I felt grateful that the world was getting a chance to see it, I knew I was going to miss it and I do. It is special to me.
How has your area influenced your work?
Los Angeles provides a wonderful backdrop for an artist. With all the cheery, happiness taking place in this sunny, palm tree-lined melting pot, conversely there is a sadness to L.A. that people try to look past. Broken dreams, superficialities and seedy sides of the movie business permeate Los Angeles’ blood, but even so, I love ALL of the parts of this beautiful city-the good AND the bad. It is so layered and weird and fun and cool and sad and interesting and creative and right now I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Ask me again in five years though.
What is your favorite restaurant in your city?
Hard to choose only one. My top three are
Pace Restaurant in Laurel Canyon
Gjelina in Venice Beach
A really, really cold glass of dry champagne
How do you balance personal life and work?
I love Italy and I’ve been there many times but I’ve never been to Positano or Capri. I’d love to go and bring my family.
A large scale, brightly colored piece for the children’s wing of a hospital. Using art to bring smiles to those who need it most would be the most rewarding job I could think of. I know of these two artists that have been given this wonderful opportunity and I’m so incredibly happy for them (and inspired by them).
Favorite host/hostess gift?
Who is your style icon?
and Stevie Nicks
Favorite up and coming artist?
A brother duo from L.A. Shelby and Sandy.
shelby and sandy are a brother art collective from los angeles. through bright colors and bold lines, the duo pride themselves on creating visceral nostalgia.
What is your most treasured possession?
A King James Bible given to me by my paternal grandmother. I miss her every day.
What are you reading?
I’m about to start reading “Not That Kind of Girl” by Lena Dunham.
What are you listening to?
Music is a HUGE influence on me and my work. It fuels my energy while I’m in the studio. In fact, my pieces are named after the titles or a favorite lyric from the songs that I’m listening to. Lately, it has been Van Morrison, The Cure, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ray LaMontagne and Willie Nelson.
Favorite blogs or publications?
Besides Pinterest, I love The Sartorialist,
and Anine Bing’s blog for her style tips.
Here are a few of my favorites…
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