Mixed Media Art with the talented Cindy Columbia
Hey Cindy..thanks for letting us step behind the scenes of Mixed Media Art. This interview forms part of the collection of Team Discovery member interviews, where we delve deeper into the creative minds of our members and showcase the handmade goodness that is available.
I was first drawn to your paintings by your bold colour palette. Your unique paintings entice with the splashes of colour dancing on the canvas.
What did you want to be when you were growing up and have you always had a passion for art?
Would you believe me if I told you there was no other thing I wanted to be but an artist? I started drawing at a very young age. My mom was an artist and to keep me entertained and out of her hair she would give me a piece of paper and charcoal pencil and let me have at it.
Could you please write a few lines that capture your journey thus far…
Mom nixed my plans for art school, as she wanted me to be a trial lawyer, which I had no desire to be. So I got married instead at only 19, which really should be illegal! After my divorce I was a single mom for 14 years and life was pretty much about supporting my son and myself. I did manage to get an interior decorating job after hounding the store for a year and that is what got me back into using my creativity for fun. I remarried and had my youngest and was a SAHM for 12 years. Last year I decided to dabble in paints again but this time I was not going to do what I used to do which was realism and portraits. I wanted fun so did abstracts. Then in May I opened my Etsy shop.
You describe your paintings as whimsical folk art. Folk art is commonly described as drawing inspiration from life experiences and cultural backgrounds. Would this be an accurate description for your paintings and do you relate to any of the characters that you paint?
I guess the answer would be yes and no. Yes there is a side of me that is totally down to earth, loves nature and the simple life. There is also a side of me that likes bling! So how do I mesh these two things? That is what I am trying to find out. As far as the characters I create, you noticed I do a lot of people. I LOVE people. I love knowing what makes a person tick. I love abstract and folk art because you can totally exaggerate something about a person to make it stand out and be noticed. Many times I start off drawing someone and have no particular person in mind, but all of a sudden someone I know shows up on my canvas and I am like WOW hey there :)
Where do you draw inspiration from for your artwork?
Tough question. It is never the same thing. Sometimes there is a color palette I want to try and so I figure out what I can create using those colors. Other times I will meet a person who is just so animated or such a character that I decide I need to recreate them. Often though history is my inspiration.
Please choose two pieces of your own artwork and allow us to explore behind the scenes…
There are two pieces of work that I consider "serious art". They are both abstract in nature but the sentiment behind both of them is very important to me. "The Twin" was one of the first paintings I did when I started a year and a half ago. My reading of Hitler's Europe during the Holocaust is the inspiration behind the piece. I was so moved by reading books by survivors that I felt I had to make something permanent to express my feelings about the tragedy. One book in particular "Children of The Flames" tore deep into my soul and I felt I had to do something so I painted The Twin. It depicts the surviving twin who was part of Dr Mengele's experiments. When one twin died they called for the other to come forward, they killed him immediately so they could autopsy them both at the same time of death. This painting has my soul in it. It has evolved from an almost cartoon character to what it is today. It is impossible to describe for you what that process was for me as there is just not enough space or time to do so. I have a before pic and an after pic of him (painting thumbnails are in order below).
This painting will never be sold. If anything it will be donated to an appropriate venue. It is currently being proposed to be shown at Yad Vashem the Holocaust authority in Israel. I do not know if it will be accepted because they have never shown any artwork by anyone other then a survivor or one of their children. Just the thought of it being considered is a very humbling thing to me. Of all the work I do, none will ever be as important to me as that piece. It has been shown to survivors living in Israel and it has brought them to tears not because of the sadness of what happened but because someone decades later, myself, was so touched by their story that I felt the need to remember them. I completed that painting and dedicated it on Holocaust Remembrance Day 2010.
Aside from your Etsy store, Mixed Media Art , do you sell your artwork through other means?
I have sold artwork at another online store as well as on EBay. I am only now focusing on creating a local following. I know some wonderful folks who are willing to allow me to set up displays in their brick and mortar shops. I am also planning on doing some local shows this fall and see how that goes.
Any sneak peaks into what items will appear in the future in your Etsy store?
I have been making a transition from regular acrylic painting to mixed media painting. I am currently stocking up on supplies to bring my work into yet another dimension, which is, altered art. One of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was make collages. My walls were plastered with little vignettes I had put together. The rise in popularity in altered art thrills me because it will allow me to go back in time and pick up where I left off 30 years ago. This time I will be approaching it from an adult perspective so I am very excited about it!
What item in your wardrobe have you held onto that has come back around in fashion?
Funny you mention this. I have a pair of black wing tip patent leather shoes that I used to LOVE to wear that I got in the 80's. I am a pants person and love oversized sweaters and wool jackets. I wore them long after I guess I was not supposed to simply because I liked them. Recently I was out and about and came across a pair of women's patent leather men's looking loafers! I almost bought them but thought wow I have those other ones at home and they are worn in perfectly!
A place that you have visited, anywhere in the world, that has blown you away and why?
Cancun. The water blew me away totally. I have been down to several beaches in southern states and of course many northern shorelines but they don't hold a candle to Cancun. Perfect color, perfect temperature, and total visibility. I am a water sign (Scorpio) so water and my close proximity to it is important. I could live the rest of my life on a beach there, own nothing but what I need to survive, and be blissfully happy.
How do you decorate your home? Is there an abundance of artwork? Bursts of colour?
LOL not at all. As I mentioned before there are two sides to me. One is down to earth the other is bling. I love the juxtaposition of old and new and things that really should not be put together, put together. My house is totally monochromatic. A palette of black, gray and brown. Cream leather, metal, French hand carved wood casegoods, IKEA dark wood modern mixed in there. I like unusual things displayed uniquely. I love high contrast and drama. If I were to have to describe my decorative style it would be Art Deco slamming into Traditional while yanking some Modern in for the ride. Very eclectic yet classic.
Thank you Cindy for allowing us to peep through the keyhole into your creative mind.
Interview by Belle of down the alley