There is still time to catch or February First Friday artist: Christi Shields!
Visit Bliss Home at 29 Market Square for a glimpse at Christi’s latest exhibit and learn more about Christi in our exclusive interview below!
Can you tell me a little about your background and what you are currently working on.
I was born and raised in Knoxville and currently reside here with my husband and two children. I grew up in a family that provided many opportunities for exposure to a variety of cultural activities. My mother, being an artist as well, instilled a love and appreciation for the arts. I was inspired to paint at a young age and have been painting privately for years. Most of my techniques are self -taught. I studied and graduated from the University of Tennessee and received my masters in education from Carson Newman College. During my time in school, I took various elective courses in the fine arts.
In the past I have explored oils but more recently I have become intrigued by modern experimental acrylic techniques. This collection of artwork was inspired by the idea that we are “Living in Circles” and the movement to re purpose items in modern décor and art. I have integrated a variety of discarded items and mixed mediums into my pieces to add interest, texture and expression,
Which piece are you most excited about for your upcoming First Friday exhibit?
I think this is a difficult question to answer as an artist because I know, in my case, I make an emotional connection with all of my pieces. However, if I was going to choose, I would say that I am most excited about the series of four mixed medium pieces; “Seeing From the Inside,” “Good Pasture,” “Reminisce,” and “Below the Mountain.”
This series was very different from anything I have done before. I was experimenting with collaging in these pieces, which in the end opened a whole new world for me and allowed more expression to show within my work. I feel like I grew significantly as an artist while working with these pieces.
Can you tell me about the theme of your show?
“Living in Circles” As I look around, I find the world is full of circles and we are constantly moving within them. Our planet rotates as it revolves around the sun creating circles in time. Within the more obvious “circle of life”, there are many implied circles such as movements in culture, education, politics, art, interior design, and relationships. As we move through the circles, we may change and evolve, but remain influenced by the past. This collection of artwork was inspired by these circles and the movement to repurpose items in modern décor and art.
What do you like/dislike about your show? Any frustrations during production?
Most of the time when I paint it is “on a tear.” I have to get my mind in a place so I can let myself go. Sometimes this is extremely difficult in life. I, like everyone else, have people depending on me. I cannot always be absent. Another frustration during production is, just knowing when I am finished with a painting. It is harder than one might think to say, “yes this piece is complete.”
What advice would you give young artists?
If you are inspired and you want to create, then go and do it. It may not be what you want at first, but you will develop yourself over time. Do not be intimidated by other’s work because yours may not be the same or at the same level of development. Everyone is working at their own pace. Find your pace and move in it.
Who is your favorite artist? How do they influence your work?
I admire many different artists for various reasons. During this show, I found new inspiration in Pop Art through the collage works by Richard Hamilton. However, I am most influenced by the Expressionist Movement and Abstract Expressionist Movement. I love how Van Gogh’s work shows action through his use of brushstrokes. I love how Jackson Pollock has a simplistic yet impactful style and use of color. As for a more recent artist, and one that is not a painter at all, I am intrigued by the bold colors of Dale Chihuly’s installations. I love the way the colors mix together in his blown glass creations. This has been an inspiration for my experimentation with pouring techniques. It is a way to get the free flowing, untouched mixing of colors similar to what you might see in blown glass.