This past Friday night marked another show opening for sister artists Kim Schuessler & Christy Kinard at the Shain Gallery. Christy had a showing of her work alongside her husband and fellow artist John Davenport earlier this year, and this show marked the second time we’ve seen the sister artists paired together.
One thing you can always expect is bright colors from these two sisters. Christy’s paintings featured bright floral bouquets and Kim’s works featured unique portraits of couples, friends and sisters.
Having been born and raised in Georgia, my southern roots run deep and you can even hear it when I speak. As with most Southerners, my faith is strong, my family comes first and I’m passionate about my work. The world has many distractions and choices, but I define success as the ability to stay focused on well intended goals. I have traveled, studied and lived in many places around the globe from Hong Kong to Puerto Rico. I have found that although the scenery and cultures can be extreme in their differences, much remains the same. We all need someone to love, something to hope for and goals to achieve. My paintings depict these common essentials as I illustrate couples dancing, families celebrating and friends standing together.
Visually, I am inspired by colors, patterns, fashion, fabrics and PEOPLE. I studied art abroad in France and Italy, attended Parsons School of Design and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts From the University of Georgia. After my undergraduate studies, I earned an Arts Education degree and taught art in a Public school. I have pursued art for the past 23 years and each day I keep discovering, changing and creating. With each painting, I fall more deeply in love with communicating through my art.
To date, my greatest sense of accomplishment has been seeing people enjoy my works at places I never imagined … the Hank Aaron Museum, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, the conference room at Spanx and in periodicals such as “Pink” and “Better Homes and Gardens.” I am an optimist who wants my audience to pursue their passion, to find joy in everyday occurrences and to cherish those they love.
If a Southerner talks music, weaving symphonies of vibrant wordplay, I would like to think that I paint similar, creating rich compositions with impressions of Southern life. The abundant flowers and unique cultural traditions of the South sing through me, into my hands and onto the materials that shape my visual song. I attempt to capture the joyful, layered character of the South, working from both childhood memories and life. Flowers are the main subjects of my work, which reflects the bounty of colorful plant life both outside and in the homes of the South. In keeping with Southern tradition, there was almost always a fresh bouquet of flowers on the table of my childhood home. The frequent presence of flowers made a lasting impression—so much so that the floral still life would become the central focus of my work. The boldness of my work can also be related to the Southern character. Beyond the well-kept exterior and femininity of a Southern woman, like my work, the women of the South can be strong, creative and playful. I first started painting at a very early age, I was always creating something at the kitchen table making sculptures out of colored homemade play dough, I loved playing with spin art and water colors. I use to put food coloring in my lemonade to sell at my lemonade stand. I loved playing with color! I knew at a young age I would be an artist the path had chosen me I can’t imagine doing anything else. In high school I had more paintbrushes in my back pack then pencils! I was awarded to attend governors honor’s program in high school, I was also rewarded a scholarship to SCAD and then went on to attend Atlanta College of art. I sold my first paintings at age 18 to IBM a huge milestone for me. I also had the opportunity to live and paint in England for four years I had my own studio and worked with other international artist. I was exposed to many museums and gallery’s. The Tate Modern and Saatchi Gallery were some of my favorites I would visit them frequently. And although the work there was edgy It helped me loosen up my own work. I started going to fabric stores and wonderful paper shops and it was there that I started really layering my work with these materials. I am grateful everyday that I have the oppurtunity to get up each morning and paint and have been able to make it a full time career.
The next show at the Shain Gallery will feature work by artists Lynn Johnson and Eric Olson. It opens on 5/18.