ART

How an Oxford artist found inspiration from tragedy

Oxford-based artist Madison Mayfield and prints from her "Evy Collection." Photo by Hayden Wiggs.
Oxford-based artist Madison Mayfield with prints from her Evy Collection. Photo by Hayden Wiggs.

Hayden Wiggs
Oxford Stories
hewiggs@go.olemiss.edu

Madison Mayfield, 23, of Lake Oswego, Oregon, has successfully made her mark in the art world, both here in Oxford and on a major national television network.

A senior University of Mississippi art and graphic design major, Mayfield has been consistently producing unique, high-quality pieces for her classes and for her business.

Enamored by the arts from a young age, Mayfield began actively pursuing this career her senior year of high school when a group of her mother’s friends expressed interest in purchasing her work.

Oxford-based artist, Madison Mayfield. Photo by Hayden Wiggs.
Oxford-based artist, Madison Mayfield. Photo by Hayden Wiggs.

“When I was younger, I would scribble on copious amounts of copy paper from my father’s printer, wasting so much that my mother would get upset,” Mayfield recalled. “But it wasn’t until that moment, when they expressed interest, that I realized other people, outside of my family of course, saw value in my work. I didn’t have a specific light bulb moment, but I gradually grew towards pursuing art after hearing that external validation.”

Drawing inspiration from “conversations, books, long drives, landscapes,” and especially “faith,” Mayfield pieces center around minimalistic designs, painted in acrylics or watercolors, which are her favorite mediums.

Her most notable collection, The Evy Collection, features a series of rainbows, each named with a positive adjective such as “Peace,” “Joy,” and “Faith,” which contrasts greatly with the tragic story from which Mayfield drew inspiration.

Prints from "The Evy Collection" by Madison Mayfield. Photo courtesy of Madison Mayfield.
Prints from “The Evy Collection” by Madison Mayfield. Photo courtesy of Madison Mayfield.

The collection was inspired by one of her friends, who she met over social media. Mayfield followed her journey with her daughter, who passed away from cancer.

“I was really broken up by it, experiencing it as a third party, and I felt so limited in how I could help their family. It was something that was produced out of a feeling of helplessness, and I am very proud of that collection and the work that I did.

“It’s always rewarding when you can do something beyond yourself because, with social media, it is so easy to get stuck in this cycle of self-absorption, so it was nice to get outside of that. I hope that it did some kind of good.”

Aside from promoting her work through her Instagram and website, a few of Madison’s pieces have been featured on the HGTV network show, “One of a Kind,” for whom she served as a summer intern. The job was, according to Madison, “one of the most spontaneous and incredible things” she has ever experienced.

“I was watching the network one day and this new television show premiered, which I absolutely fell in love with. I ended up finding the contact information for the leading woman and cold-called her, asking if she took interns. I expressed interest after seeing just one thirty-minute episode!” Madison explained.

After a few rounds of email communications and video interviews, Madison traveled to Fort Worth, Texas to spend the summer with the “One of a Kind” staff, a group that Madison describes as being “kind, wonderful, and empowering.”

Grace Mitchell, the host of “One of a Kind,” was glad to have Madison be part of their team. “I absolutely adore Madison,” she said.

“I am so grateful for that experience; it’s such a great thing to put on my resume, and it offered me so much inspiration and insight into the profession. The only thing I couldn’t handle,” joked Madison, “was the Texas heat!”

Two things that Madison cites as impacting her work and success are her faith and family relationships. Supported by loving parents and siblings who still live in Oregon, Madison says she is “lucky” to have such a stable faith and compassionate family, the latter of which often says they are “incredibly proud” of their daughter.

“There is always the trope of the starving artist and that can be really intimidating,” she explained. “One of my biggest blessings in life has been my faith; I’ve lived in a lot of different places and have met a lot of different people, and my faith has been one of the only consistent things in my life. Even when things get hard, I’ve never been alone, because I have those two things.”

After she graduates in May, Madison hopes to move to a major Southern city and find work.

“When I daydream about my future, I can see it going many different paths. I’d love to own a studio or gallery, filled with my work and with other peoples’ work,” she said. “I’m not exactly sure what is coming next, but I hope that whatever job I have allows some flexibility, so that I can continue to create.

“I am scared of the future, but it’s okay to be afraid. Financial situations are always scary for artists, but I don’t think it should be. Art is something that you should be paid for, because it’s not something that can be streamlined; it takes practice and it’s difficult, and it requires hard work.”

While she studies, Madison continues to create unique prints that can be found and purchased on her website at madisonmayfieldart.com, or on her Instagram page, @madison.mayfield.art.

Categories: ART, BUSINESS, EDUCATION

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