The latest Artist Spotlight Series features another Charlotte artist (who happened to just move).
Her work can be seen in galleries around the country because it is so engaging.
I adore her use of color and her palettes.
Enjoy getting to know the talented
Charlotte, North Carolina
What is your training?
I have always felt like an artist, and my teachers from elementary through high school were instrumental in my decision to pursue art seriously. I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the University of the South, Sewanee. I went on to work in a variety of sectors of the arts world locally and abroad, and am now so fortunate to be painting full time.
What inspires you and your designs?
I have lived by the coast for most of my life, and the coastal environment has always been deeply inspirational to me. It brings me peace, tranquility, and endless inspiration. Though my style continues to develop and manifest itself in new ways, my current body of work examines fragments, and stems from the thousands of tiny fragments of plastic I remove from the beach upon each visit. A couple of years ago during a clean up I found what looked like a piece of a broken record and it got me thinking. Where did it come from? Who did it belong to? Was it intentionally thrown out? Did someone lose it?
As these questions ran through my head, I realized how much conceptual weight was in each fragment I was removing. Each had a story; each had a past I would never fully know, and so I began to paint them. The fragments in my work are conceptually the remnants of possessions, experiences, moments in time that have passed. Though I continue to push myself to explore different subjects, the fragmented style I have developed remains consistent.
What is your favorite piece?
My favorite pieces are always ones in which I have learned something new – typically by taking a risk and having it pay off.
One of my current favorite paintings will be making it’s debut at a group show called Shape Shifters at Anne Irwin Fine Art in Atlanta, Georgia.
This painting is called ‘secrets holding.’ I pushed myself out of my typical color comfort zone, striving to go brighter and bolder. The result is a striking painting that I simply adore.
30 x 30 inches / mixed media on canvas / 2019 / Anne Irwin Fine Art
How has your area influenced your work?
This is such a great question! My family and I have moved 12 times just in the past 9 years and I have learned that with each new city, home and studio comes a new energy and something new to my work. Painting the gulf coast when we lived in Houston is where my fragmented style developed, and in Charlotte I found myself painting florals, which has been a super fun series. Just last week we moved to Beaufort, South Carolina and I can’t wait to see what will come!
What is your favorite restaurant in Charlotte?
This is a tough one for me. Just when I start to find a good local favorite, I am off to the next city. I’d say my Charlotte favorite had to be the back porch at RuRu’s.
What is your favorite cocktail?
I lean toward white wine and bubbles, but if a restaurant has a specialty I will definitely give it a try! I will give a shoutout to BCN Taste & Tradition in Houston for their INCREDIBLE gin cocktail menu – every single one is absolutely gorgeous and delicious.
How do you balance personal life and work?
I have an incredible studio which just happens to be in my back yard. I keep regular morning hours when my two young children are in school, but I have always been most productive as a late-night painter. I love to get busy in the studio once everyone is asleep and I tend to paint well past midnight most weeknights. While I don’t run on too many hours of sleep, I am definitely at my best all-around when the creative juices are flowing.
My husband and I are plotting a way to get to Japan.
Getting one of my marine debris paintings in front of Leonardo DiCaprio would be an absolute dream. But in reality I would love the opportunity to do some large-scale work that would ultimately help raise money and awareness for marine conservation. Perhaps to work with an environmental organization like the Ocean or Nature Conservancy.
Who is your style icon?
Oooh that’s tough. Icon is a powerful word. I live in jumpsuits so I’m not sure where that leaves me. I will admit that I am a super goopy Gwyneth fan.
Your favorite up and coming artist?
There are SO many emerging artists I admire, and discovering new ones daily! Here are a few I aspire to add to my personal collection:
Portland-based installation artist, Christina Watka, creates such incredible designs that are full of organic movement. I would love to have one of her ‘Lightness of Joy’ pieces hanging in my bedroom. They are stunning.
Sherry Czekus – Every time I see one of her paintings I am stopped (smiling!) in my tracks. I definitely see the world in shapes and blocks of color and there is something about the way she captures people wearing clothes that is perfect.