artist Posts

Artist in Residence: Rusty Walton

By: Stephanie Andrews

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A few times a year at our studio we feature a local, emerging artist that we believe will resonate with our core belief in living an authentic life. We could not be more excited to introduce you to our newest artist that we are featuring in November: Rusty Walton. I have known Rusty personally for about five years and we have become close friends. His background is inspiring: he has lived all over the globe and worked with some of the world’s best known interior designers during his time in New York. He has a zen like quality when working, staying calm and open minded to sudden challenges that are presented to him. I asked him a few questions about his art as well as his design philosophy.

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1. How would you describe your art?

“I am consistently searching for a medium that communicates simplicity. Much of my mixed media is minimalist, however I try to draw the viewer closer and evoke emotion. My goal is make an idea real, thereby experiencing the process for myself and creating an experience for the viewer.”

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2. What about your photography?

“I am all about expressing intimacy in my photography, even if it’s slightly uncomfortable. I seek to expose rather than to mystify. True intimacy is born of exposure.” 

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3. Why did you want to add furniture design to your repertoire?

“It wasn’t a conscious decision, just an organic evolution. I originally started making furniture for myself years ago because I was too poor to buy any, I didn’t like much of what I saw, and I could get something far more interesting if I built it myself. I quickly realized that there were so many possibilities that we never see. Exploring that is fun and fascinating. When I was doing interior design in New York I would design almost all of the furniture for my clients. Everything they had by the end of the job was uniquely theirs.”

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4. What would you describe as a dream project?

“A dream project would be to go to a place where the local architecture has been lost and replaced with some foreign concept of normal, and help revive that style in a way that would work today. We all seem to get locked into ideas of what is “normal” and so often that idea doesn’t work and disempowers people. A place’s culture, climate, materials, values, spirituality, etc. can all be assembled to create perfect dwellings if we allow them freedom to do so. That’s an endeavor I could really sink my teeth into.”

Join us at our open house November 17 to see Rusty’s incredible work in person. We’ll see you there!

Flower Power: Modern Floral Print

By: Danielle Cornely

When you think of floral print, do images of stuffy, dull, outdated patterns come to mind? Let’s fix that.

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This piece by London artist Camilla Frances is part photograph, part graphic manipulation. Intense colors and high contrast take this far from the realm of antique store sofas.

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Holly Sharpe’s interpretation of a simple rose print elevates the pattern into a fresh, bold look.

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This John Lewis wallpaper has it all. A sturdy tree, lively foliage, and punchy blossoms create a fun mural that’s still chic.

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Some of us like a little edge with our flowers. Etsy seller Anewall gets it. This wallpaper is big time dramatic in the best way.

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Get ready to have your mind blown, because this stunning, larger than life creation by Sicis is a mosaic made of glass tiles. BOOM.

Ditch your frumpy florals. There’s no shortage of fresh, modern prints out there.

Color and Composition: Ashley Hizer’s Abstract Paintings

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By: Danielle Cornely

With the grand opening of our new design studio and art gallery fast approaching, we’re getting more acquainted with our featured artists. The first time we saw Ashley Hizer’s work, we knew she was a perfect fit for our first quarter’s look. Abstract paintings with fresh, bold colors complimented the bright and punchy colors of our custom pillows and handmade throws. The more we get to know Ashley, the more pride we feel in being able to showcase her extraordinary art. She is truly a talented artist with a passion for creating work she believes in.

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1. You started your professional career as a language arts educator. What prompted you to follow your passion for painting and make a career change?

“I had always wanted a career that allowed me to express myself creatively and encourage others to do so as well. Teaching allowed me to do that and make a difference in kids’ lives. I’m grateful for the years I spent doing so, but to be honest, I still felt a creative void as the demands of lesson planning and grading essays took priority over painting. I realized that it was best to take a risk and go full-time with my art. I’m so glad I did because I realized that art can make a difference in people’s lives too.”

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2. What advice would you give to others thinking about making the leap into being a full time artist?

“I would encourage them to go for it because life is short. However, expect it to take a lot of hard work and time to get the ball rolling. I had a part-time job to supplement at the beginning, and learned it does require ‘un-fun’ administrative tasks to get the business going, such as marketing and finances. At times, it can be a challenge but it is so, so worth it.”

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3. Describe the process of creating an abstract painting. Do you start with a plan, or just go with the flow?

“I usually have some sort of a rough vision for a painting, such as a color scheme or a style, but sometimes I’ll simply start a project just because I want to use a certain brush. My work is always intentional, but I’ve found that I produce my best work when I don’t overthink it. However, it’s a layered and detailed process that includes lots of refining over time.”

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4. You use so many sophisticated colors in your work. Which ones inspire you the most?

“Vibrant colors inspire me. It seems that almost every work has at least a hint of blue or green.”

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5. How do you feel your hometown/upbringing in Southern California reflects in your work?

“I grew up frequenting the beach, so the textures, space, and colors of my artwork, for example, have always reflected that setting. My last place in San Diego, before I moved to Atlanta, overlooked downtown and the bay. The movement of the waves, swirling oranges of sunset, juxtaposition of linear lines and soft ocean curls still inspire my work. There’s many aspects of the South that aid my vision, but I’m a Californian at heart.”

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More Than Just a Pretty Vase: Chelsea’s Pottery.

 

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By: Danielle Cornely

Working in the arts since college has led me to meet many extremely talented artists and makers. At one workplace, I met Chelsea Goff, and we quickly bonded over our shared background in photography. The better I got to know her, the more I learned about her adventures in sculpting and pottery. When I found out she had her very own potter’s wheel in her two bedroom Atlanta apartment, I knew I had to see what she was creating. I was blown away by the skill and creativity of the pieces she created “just for fun.” More than just beautiful work, Chelsea’s pottery is a reflection of her experiences, personality quirks, and heartfelt interests.

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1. Tell us about your studio/work space.

“For now I have a small studio in my apartment. It has all the necessities — my boyfriend made a great work table and I have a wheel and shelves everywhere for storage. It’s my favorite room in the house because it’s flooded with natural light from all the windows. As far as firing and glazing, I’ve been enrolled at the Spruill Center for the Arts for a few years now. It’s a really great facility. They offer a lot of different clays and glazes to experiment with before you decide to invest in anything.”

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2. How did you get into your chosen medium?

“My grandfather has a pottery studio in the no-cell-phone-service region of West Virginia, so growing up we’d make coil pots and such. However, I didn’t really get invested until college when I signed up for a ceramics class. The first half of the class was devoted to handbuilding and the second to wheel-thrown pottery. From then on, I just kept taking classes. After graduating, I was able to spend a few months with my grandfather and learn more about the chemistry and technical aspects of clay and glazes.”

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3. Describe your favorite piece you’ve ever made.

“My favorite piece I’ve made is the Angry Birds piggy mug, primarily for sentimental reasons. I made the mug for my younger brother while at my grandfather’s just as a silly project, and it melted my little heart to see how excited he was when I gave it to him.”

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4. How would you describe your aesthetic?

“I consider my aesthetic very clean and elegant with a funky, messy moment. I think I’ve been really drawn to pottery as a medium because I can create really simple, elegant shapes while using an unexpected glaze as a contrast.”

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5. What are a few of your favorite things?

“Favorite life things: thick wool socks, floor to ceiling windows, and a really good burger.”

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6. So, what are you working on right now?

“Right now I work primarily in porcelain. I’m also in a skinny-neck vase phase — I could make them repeatedly and be content. Plus, Atlanta is known for its community of artists, with things like FAFATL (Free Art Friday: Atlanta), and I’m interested in becoming more involved with that. I’m woking on a few small, Atlanta themed pieces to start hiding around town as part of FAFATL. So keep an eye out for them!”

Chelsea is working on getting her Etsy shop up and running (seeabbottgo pottery), but can be reached by e-mailing chelseaagoff@gmail.com in the interim.