Artist Spotlight Series: Christy King

I am thrilled to let you know I am back on track with lots of talent lined up for my Artist Spotlight Series.  (Submissions always welcome too)

This latest feature is a unique talent who creates original pieces tied to nature. 

Enjoy getting to know

Christy King

Nashville, Tennessee

What is your training?

I majored in art at UNC Chapel Hill,

and I’ve also taken a color darkroom course at the International Center of Photography, as well as oil painting lessons with Felicia Forte.  For collage, my only training has been projects in art classes as a kid.

What inspires you and your designs?

A lot of my inspiration comes from keeping a journal and just brainstorming ways to expand on ideas in a visual language.  Since 2011 I have lived away from my parents and sisters/best friends (with my wonderful husband!), so I’m inspired by themes of home and family as I constantly dream of moving back to North Carolina to be close to them.  I want to be involved in my community so putting down roots is important to me. This series is of wildflowers that are native to NC (as well as many other states), and began as a simple ode to my roots and home.  My mom is from Ecuador, and my husband’s family is from Peru, so it’s always interesting to think about our identities and what it means to be American (to us and to others).  My choice of native wildflowers relates to these ideas, and also to my interest living a green life and making art through recycling paper scraps.

What is your favorite piece? 

My favorite piece from this series is the second one I made – cardinal flower. 

I love the feeling of starting a new series and letting fresh ideas come to life through experimentation.  Of course I see the value in sticking with an idea and following it through to see how it develops/improves/changes, but there is nothing like trying something new in my studio.

How has your area influenced your work?

Since graduating college, I’ve lived in DC and in Nashville, and I taught at Montessori schools in both cities.  The school communities really helped me keep going when I was younger and was still wondering ‘am I/ should I be an artist?’  Because I was known as the art teacher, people would sometimes ask me to paint things for them, and it helped me when I was in ruts.  I also joined the Midsouth chapter of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and this group of people is amazing!  I’m very thankful for each place I’ve lived!

What is your favorite restaurant in Nashville?

I would say it’s a tie between Margot

and City House

My husband and I moved here right when Nashville started rapidly growing, and both of these restaurants were here already.  Sometimes when we try new places we wonder, “why didn’t we just go to Margot or City House?!”


What is your favorite cocktail?

Red wine

How do you balance personal life and work?

For a while I didn’t!  It was very hard to teach full time and then attempt to make any art during nights and weekends.  I always lived with guilt and regret for ignoring my inner-artist.  I managed to make a few small series of work after college from 2011 to 2016, but this is the first year that I have invested real time in my art-making.  I’m teaching part-time and working in my studio the rest of the time.  While I’d planned to have strict hours for myself, I’ve found that I actually need a little rest when I get home from teaching at 1 each day.  In the past, I would come home at 6 from teaching full-time and be absolutely done with thinking or being creative.  Now, with a little mid-day break, I’m often working in my studio until 11 at night!  I’ve been open to feeling out the timing of my day, and I value self-care and rest.  I set weekly goals and often revise them mid-week.  It’s all about writing it down, investing the time in it, and rewarding yourself for accomplishments!

Dream trip?

I think Norway

There are so many places!  My husband and I haven’t traveled out of the country together except for Toronto in college.  While he’s in graduate school, there isn’t much time for big trips so we’ve enjoyed seeing the natural beauty of the U.S.- Maine, California, NC mountains, and we are headed to New Mexico this week.

Dream commission?

While living in DC, I taught a family program at the National Portrait Gallery.  I loved walking through the museum before and after my shifts, so I guess a dream commission would be a Presidential portrait

(John F. Kennedy / Artist – Elaine de Kooning, 1963)

Maybe the first female president- true dream commission!


Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?

A bottle of wine and homemade baked goods.


Who is your style icon?

My sisters.  I don’t really consider myself stylish – just skinny pants and loose tops.  If I had to choose an icon maybe Elisabeth Moss because she changes her look so much (I’ve looked the same since high school!),

Emma Watson because she is so classy and also values sustainable fashion,

and Gina Rodriguez because she is just gorgeous.


Your favorite up and coming artist?

Ohmygosh this is so hard because I find and like so many artists on Instagram.  I don’t know about up and coming, but my favorite painters are Felicia Forte

and Adam Pyett

My favorite illustrators are Erin Stead and Oliver Jeffers, and I love Frances Palmer’s pottery.  Locally, I admire Rob Matthews’ work.


What is your most treasured possession?

Maybe my grandmother’s diamond ring.  Her husband (I never met my grandfather) gave it to her in 1955 when she was pregnant with my dad. Her pregnancy made her allergic to yellow gold, so he got her a new ring in white gold.  The story cracks me up! Also maybe family photos, pieces of clothing that my maternal grandmother made for my mom and aunts, and footage of my wedding.

What are you reading?

Sally Mann’s Hold Still.

What are you listening to?

I like learning about new artists from NPR’s tiny desk concerts.  I recently saw Margaret Glaspy on there and became a fan for sure!  Also, I’m teaching about Romare Bearden right now so I’ve been streaming jazz during the school day.


What are your favorite blogs / publications?

Lately I’m mostly just reading the news- NY Times or Washington Post.  My husband is always listening to NPR Politics, and I enjoy listening to podcasts that interview artists, especially John Dalton’s Gently Does It

And for blogs, I faithfully check A Cup of Jo

and Smitten Kitchen.

Check out a few pieces from her beautiful portfolio…

and her portraiture series…

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  • October 23, 2017

    Thank you for featuring Christy King! I have followed her work for years, and I have loved watching her grow as an artist! Nashville is lucky to have her!

  • October 24, 2017

    Christy’s composition and fearless use of color are knockout! I have been a fan for years. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

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