FEATURED ARTIST: Deneé Black
This was the hardest $2 Art Contest to judge yet. I always think it is going to be easy. And, I am always wrong. A word to the wise… I allow a free entry to the $2 Art Contest if you send me one of your rejection letters, and sometimes those entries DO win. This month’s entry is proof that late entries and free entries have the same shot as all the rest. But, I didn’t come to the decision easily. I was, ironically, wandering around a Farmer’s Market when I finally made the decision. This month’s Featured Artist is my sort of the perfect bumper-crop tomato.
I have a history in graphic design and I am drawn to bold color, not unlike fruit and vegetable crate labels of days gone by. It is frequently the attempt of my own work to direct the eye with bold lines, even if the subject matter seems common. So once again, I suppose I am just self-absorbed enough to be attracted to it in others’ work.
This month’s artist brings attention
to the everyday scenes in life
that are often overlooked.
The Featured Artist chosen from the July and August entries is Deneé Black. Black’s work forced me to stop and inspect each piece, to look for the storyline. My life is always buzzing and busy. I truly appreciate the simple moments that inspire life, AND I appreciate the not so subtle reminder that it is up to me not to miss the BEAUTY of everyday life.
Black was born and raised in North Carolina and is happy to still call it home. All her life she has loved to draw and create. When she was little she wanted to illustrate children’s books and at one point, medical books.
In high school, she was fortunate enough to have an amazing art teacher that encouraged her to develop her talents. That led Black to decide to earn a degree in graphic design.
“I then learned to think like a designer.
I love that I am a painter with a design degree
and not a painting degree.”
The influence of Black’s study of graphic design is evidently demonstrated in her work today. She worked as a designer for a few years but quickly lost interest. To cure her creative burnout, Black took a break from both design AND art.
“I sometimes wonder about all the years that I lost not creating artwork, but I know that the break was a necessary step in my personal process to being where I am now as an artist,” says Black.
But I wanted Black to explain–why the Farmer’s Market? Why Cityscapes? Where’s the soul in that? “My work is about bringing attention to the everyday scenes in life that are often overlooked. Though I take inspiration from where I live and places that I visit, the places and subjects that I choose to highlight are the ordinary spots that can be found in any city.
Both the Cityscapes series and the Farmers Market series are about the color, form and energy in these common scenes. When I am captured by a striking city perspective or a pile of yellow peppers at the farmers market, I am surrounded by other people bustling about. Often times those people are too busy to notice the beauty around them”
What do you consider your media? Do you once again consider yourself a graphic designer? “Typically, I refer to myself as a mixed media artist or a painter. My design background doesn’t influence my ‘title’ but it definitely influences my work! I haven’t done graphic design for a number of years (so I haven’t referred to myself as a graphic designer in quite some time) but I still think like one.”
Talk to me about how you work, your process. Do you have special terminology that you have developed for how you work? “I don’t use any special equipment. My favorite piece of equipment would be my camera, affectionately named ‘Olympia’ (yes, it’s an Olympic camera). Most all of my work is taken from inspiration that I documented with my camera. I work mostly in acrylics utilizing my photography, image transfer and collage (including my own screen printed collage pieces).
My favorite substrate with which to work is always stretched canvas but depending on my goal for a specific piece, I will use paper or wood for my process if I think it will add to the work. Although I have my preferences but I think it’s good to be flexible in regards to processes and materials because that’s how you learn (and accidentally find out) new things. I usually exhibit my work on gallery wrapped stretched canvas. I like the casual elegance of that presentation–no outline or frame, just artwork.”
You know we have to talk about food: “Well, I am just going to be honest… Potato Chips! I don’t like a particular brand or flavor as it depends on my craving at the moment. Hands down, they have been my favorite food my entire life.
“When I was little, I had pajamas that said,
‘Potato chips are vegetables too!’
I still stand by that logic.”
So, what’s coming up next for you, Deneé? “This year has been pretty busy. I am a deadline oriented person. I like deadlines because they help keep me focused. The bad thing about them is that they don’t allow me much time for research and experimentation in my art. I want to grow and improve as an artist so I am going to purposefully focus on that for a bit. ”
Thank you, Deneé Black for reminding us as we head into Fall to contemplate the beauty that surrounds us every day. I am inspired to snuggle in for the comforts of autumn and not miss a thing. See you on the tomato aisle!
Learn more about Deneé Black online!
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