ARTISTS RISING 2017

September 15, 2017

 

Kristen Clower

 

Where do you paint? Tell us about your studio.

I have taken over a few areas of our home as my “art studio”. Most of the time I am painting by a window in our guest room that has great light. My art supplies have a tendency of spreading out over a large space as I am working on a painting so sometimes I also set up in the storage room of the garage.

 

Who is your art role model, art teacher or mentor?

My high school art teacher, Ms. Susan Ingram, had a big influence on my love of drawing and painting. She is such a talented artist and introduced me to many different art mediums and tools. During my senior year at Jackson Academy, Ms. Ingram encouraged me to concentrate on a series of portraits in oil paint using a palette knife, which sparked my interest in painting people and using larger canvases.

 

What music do you listen to while painting or creating?

Music motivates me and keeps me focused when I am painting. I have a very diverse playlist, but most of the time I am listening to what is currently on the radio or old school 70s and 80s.

 

What are your favorite things to draw and paint?

My painting interests are very broad. One day I might be working on a still life or abstract, and the next day a portrait, floral or architectural painting. I haven't settled on one favorite. I use everything from oil paint to watercolors and acrylics.

 

If you could purchase one work of art, what would you select?

My favorite artist is John Singer Sargent. I find his brushstrokes and layering of paint on the portraits to be incredible. Some of my favorites include, “Portrait of Lady Helen Vincent in Venice”, “Portrait of Mrs. Cecil Wade”, “Portrait of Millicent Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland” and “The Wyndham Sisters: Lady Elcho, Mrs. Adeane, and Mrs. Tennant.”

 

 

Kira Cummings

 

What do you love most about being an artist?

Communicating in a nonverbal manner is what I love the most about being an artist. Having the ability to express myself visually and see my thoughts come to life provides a nice break from the constant face-to-face daily interactions. The process of creating is very liberating and cathartic for me. Art is my therapy; it provides me with a sense of psychological relief.

 

How do you describe your work/style? What themes do you pursue?

I’m a multi-medium artist and I use different mediums to express myself. My paintings explore themes of femininity and race. My pyrography (woodburnings) are more illustrative and lean towards commercialism. My wire sculpture focuses on smaller, intimate objects such as insects.

 

How does working in Mississippi or the South impact your art?

As a black woman in the South, I have to deal with passive and aggressive forms of racism. Having to cope and internalize these feelings has a huge impact on some of the pieces that I create. Art allows me to channel these negative circumstances into works of art.

 

What is your favorite piece of work that you have created?

My favorite piece is an oil painting titled “Money Gives People Amnesia.” This particular piece came about after I loaned a friend some money. One day, it dawned on me that I was not going to receive my money back, so this piece came about. The “friend” was a woman, and as a result I deliberately made the background to resemble a vagina. I felt more empathetic towards her than I would have been towards a man, so I wanted to incorporate that feeling into the painting. I really enjoyed crinkling the dollar to read the message: “We trust no one.” This statement is a reminder for me to avoid loaning out money unless there is some type of written agreement.

 

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Create opportunities for yourself – you don’t always have to showcase in a gallery. When dealing with clients always use a contract, it will save you a future headache. Try new mediums; you might surprise yourself.

 

Who is your art role model, art teacher or mentor?

Some of my artistic role models include artists such as Kehinde Wiley, Suzy E. Roach and Kelvin Okafor. I’m also inspired by local artists such as Diane Williams, Harold Miller, Lorenzo Gayden and daniel johnson.

 

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

What music do you listen to while painting or creating?

I listen to mostly a blend of hip hop and rock music. I also enjoy hearing local acts such as And The Echo, Mr. Fluid, Clouds and Crayons and 5th Child.

 

What is hanging on your walls?

Mostly my art, but I do have a few pieces from local artists.

 

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Practice makes better.

 

 

Kristin Phelps

 

What gives you inspiration or motivates you to create art?

I enjoy getting inspiration from my little one ― spunky personality and painting sessions with momma. It’s the most rewarding feeling being able to allow her to paint freely at the age of two. Inspiration is found in colors and textures within nature, fashion and interior design.

 

How do you describe your work/style? What themes do you pursue? What do you hope others see in your work?

My work has applicable amounts of experimental texture while allowing drips to soften the mood. As a commissioned artist my work is still evolving. I enjoy pursuing abstracts and botanicals. I hope that people see my passion of life in my painting.

 

Where do you paint? Tell us about your studio.

I get in where I can fit in? At times I find myself painting on the back porch of a family’s tiny cottage. Sometimes God’s song through nature calls me outside.

 

Tell us about your first painting you sold.

It was a diptych abstract exploring bold relationship of color, expressive palette knife scrapes and coarse texture.

 

What music do you listen to while painting or creating?

Indie acoustic, classical and rock.

 

What is your favorite piece of work that you have created?

"Wild Flowers" 2016, "Bloomy Delight" 2016, "Cowboy" 2016. Can you tell I can't make my mind up? Each of them has their own special touch.

 

Do you have an artist statement or favorite quote?

“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start you will.” -Stephen King

 

What are you working on now?

I am working on a silent auction piece for No Foot Too Small organization in Iowa. It’s a painting of my interpretation of what I think a day in Heaven is for children. There are drips of bold colors to mimic the rainbow, with heavy textural wings. It’s truly rewarding to give back to others with love created by my hands.

 

What do you love most about being an artist?

It’s a place to freely escape, allowing intuition to drive my hands while sitting in the back seat. It has changed the way I feel, think and connect with the world around me.

 

If you could purchase one work of art, what would you select?

Portrait of my daughter by Teil Duncan Henley. She is incredible!

 

 

Stacy Underwood

 

What gives you inspiration or motivates you to create art?

An interesting face motivates me...a face that tells a story. Airports always make me want to draw, and New Orleans always makes me want to paint.

 

How do you describe your work/style? What themes do you pursue? What do you hope others see in your work?

I am a loose portrait artist who seeks to portray someone’s spirit rather than their exact likeness.

 

Where do you paint? Tell us about your studio.

I live in a 110-year old house that came with a carriage house. We fixed up the carriage house about three years ago, and that’s where I paint. When we removed the sheetrock, we found several words the original owners’ friends had painted on the wallboards.

 

Tell us about your first art show or first painting you sold.

My first solo show will be October 5th at a gallery in Jackson, “Writing on the Wall: Mississippi Literary Portraits.” What has been an added bonus to my experience is the literary journey this body of work has taken me on. I have read or listened to at least one work of every artist I have painted thus far...unabridged!

 

How does working in Mississippi or the South impact your art?

I believe strongly in one’s “sense of place.” All of us are where we are for a reason, and we should document and celebrate where our roots are planted. If we do this, we will produce our most authentic work and express our souls without labor.

 

Who is your art role model, art teacher or mentor?

I have had wonderful instructors throughout my life. Art Baker, my high school art teacher, really made me take art seriously. In college, Jere Allen taught me how to lay a ground of color right off the bat and to start with loose strokes. Bo Bartlett taught me the importance of a grisaille. I learned stroke marks and color correctness from Alyssa Monks, and Jerrod Partridge reminded me how important the folds of fabric were to correctly render the form underneath. Finally, I often call my dear friend and artist Ginny Futvoye when I need a fresh eye.

 

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

The voices of my past instructors continuously run through my head as I paint a piece. I have so much more to learn, so I look forward to many more “voices” joining this chorus.

 

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Do not wait for the perfect time to paint (or pray); that doesn't come often enough. Also, be willing to towel off and start again.

 

What music do you listen to while painting or creating?

Right now, I am addicted to Audible books and The Savvy Painter podcasts, but when I need music, U2 Spotify always inspires.

 

What is your favorite piece of work that you have created?

A figure reclined on messy, blue sheets.

 

Do you have an artist statement or favorite quote?

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Picasso

 

What is hanging on your walls?

Mainly art by Mississippians, plus an Alex Kanevsky (a Christmas gift from my husband).

 

What do you love most about being an artist?

The smell of the paints, perfume for the soul...oh, and the “a-ha” moment when you finally “see” and realize how to resolve something that wasn’t quite right about your painting.

 

If you could purchase one work of art, what would you select?

A beach scene by Eric Fischl.

 

 

Bill Woodell

 

How does working in Mississippi or the South impact your art?

Living in Mississippi is why I paint! It's part of my journey. In my lifetime I have been literally halfway around the world, at different times, working and living in California, Hawaii, Alaska and Oklahoma. They are all fine, beautiful and majestic places, but none of those wonderful sites can compare to the dew sparkling across the Delta in the summertime, as far as the eye can see, from atop the fire tower in the Eden Hills at day break. Sublime.

 

Who is your art role model, art teacher or mentor?

I have several. Growing up in Yazoo City, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by talented artist friends early on in my youth, friends who were already making a name for themselves way before I knew what an easel was used for.

Friends like Edd Smith, Benny Melton, Bob Coleman, Gerald Deloach, Eric Lantrip, Hope Carr, 'Cat' Hegman; the late Donny Moore, Lee Allbrition, and John 'Bo' Horn; my late brother, Bob Woodell (very gifted), my Dad, and my sisters Peggy Woodell Gregory and Perry Woodell Calhoun...all I have watched, and from all I have learned. All had a positive impact on me in one way or another, be that by showing me technique, just letting me watch them paint, or inspiring me by seeing one of their paintings in the local newspaper and saying to myself, ''I wish I could paint as good as them!'' These friends, artists and family members have all motivated me at different times and on different levels. The past year and a half I have been blessed to have been under the tutelage of Bob Tompkins, who is absolutely out of sight not only as an artist and mentor, but also as a dear friend. Bob has opened a whole new window for me when it comes to technique, style and method. I'm very humbled when I watch him paint. He is the master!

 

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

“Don't put your eggs in one basket.” – Kenny Waldrop, 1976.

 

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Paint what you feel and feel what you paint. “We don't make mistakes in painting, just have happy little accidents.” – Bob Ross

 

What music do you listen to while painting or creating?

Anything and everything, from Rachmaninoff to The Rolling Stones...it just depends on my mood.

 

What is your favorite piece of work that you have created?

Whatever I am working on at the time is my favorite.

 

 

 

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