I had never really considered myself to be an artist. Throughout childhood, I was pretty good at drawing and could color inside the lines, but never did I think I would be where I am today as an artist.
When I was told I would need to complete a minor to earn my degree, I was a little nervous because I had zero clue about what I was going to do, so I explored the option of an art minor. I determined that art would be the best option for me to maximize my potential for a successful minor.
When I walked into my first art class at Ole Miss, I had no idea what to expect and was a little intimidated walking into Meek Hall for the first time. Now, over a year later, having spent many late nights in Meek, I laugh at the fact I was scared of what lied in these halls.
My first art class was about the best thing to ever happen to me. Taught by an amazing artist and mentor, Josh Brinlee, he makes everyone feel incredible comfortable and like they were supposed to be there because we are all truly artists.
Art classes last for almost three hours twice a week, and at first, that seems like a drag and too long to be sitting in one class, but even now, those three hours fly right by, and if you’re not on top of your stuff, you lose valuable studio time.
The skills I learned in that class, I still use today, and I have remained in touch with Josh and most of the people I shared the class with.
During that class, I started to draw and paint in my free time. I found it was an amazing stress reliever. I love to create, so that was a great outlet for me, and on top of all that, it was nice to have free range on projects that I know would not be graded.
The class started out with mostly drawing, but I was really itching to start painting, and about halfway through the semester, we all got a fresh set of paints and brushes. From there on out, it was all painting all day.
I learned painting techniques that I had never realized how much they would impact me as an artist today and in the future. I got so comfortable with mixing colors, adding washes, and layering paint in such a way to make things look realistic.
When I went home for the summer, I knew I wanted to paint on a regular basis, knowing that it would have to be around my hectic schedule tht included an internship. I’m lucky I have extremely supportive parents that built me a little pseudo-studio in our house and helped me lug giant canvases from the art supply store all summer.
When I first started painting pieces, I had no intention of selling them, or commissioning pieces for people, or anything of that sorts. However, I did have a growing number of completed pieces, and running out of room in my house to store them. I did not want to let them go, and I did not know how to get rid of them.
The power of social media is a wild and wonderful thing. If I really like a piece, I’ll post it on Instagram. I was getting good feedback, but I honestly thought people were just being nice to me to be nice to me, not to actually compliment my art.
I had friends and family who would come over to my house and want to see my work, and they loved it, so my response was “you can take it if you want it.” People are always still shocked when I say that to them, but I feel uncomfortable asking people for money for my art when I’m still convinced that I don’t belong in the art world.
I’m inspired by pop art and hyper-realism. My favorite artists are Jeff Koons, Banksy, Julia Ryan, Damien Hirst. I like to make my art colorful, which always confuses people because my favorite colors to wear are black, white and grey. I love looking at art, and seeing other artist’s hard work and different tastes.
I not only love painting in my classes and in my free time, but also could see myself having a career in the art industry some day. But one thing’s for sure, I will never not be doing art.