The shared thoughts and artwork of Paige Wallis.
Paige is a visiting artist from Malden, MA. Her work will be on exhibit at the Melrose Arts Festival from April 26-28, 2013.
With my personal work, I’m mostly just celebrating the beauty I find in the world, from the natural to the man-made and the confluence between the two. But Art means so much more to me then that; I think that Art as a whole is a distillation of the human experience.
Q. What inspires you to paint?
Light. Color. Texture. The challenge of filtering what I see through my eyes, brain, nerves, muscles and fingertips onto a two dimensional surface. I think I was born hard-wired to be an artist of some sort. One of my earliest memories is of when I was very small and used to suck my thumb, I would stroke my face with my index finger and imagine it was a paintbrush.
Q. At the Melrose Arts Festival you will be exhibiting your “Peppers” Series. Can you share some background and the source of inspiration behind this project?
Actually, it all began because I was participating in my first Melrose Arts Festival in 2010! I had decided to work much smaller than usual as I could price smaller pieces more affordably as well as get more new paintings done for my display. The Pearl Art Supply in Central Square was going out of business and I scored twelve small tile frames at a great price that were perfect for 5” x 5” canvas panels. Since they were square, I decided to photograph various fruits in my daughter’s colorful wooden stacking/nesting boxes as series of ‘boxed still life’. It was/is my attempt to create a trompe l’oeil effect so that anyone viewing the paintings might feel as if they could reach into them and pick up the object depicted. They turned out so well and got such a good response that I thought it would be fun to do a new Boxed Still Life series every year. I did a second series in 2011 featuring flowers, but didn’t get around to doing one in 2012 as I focused on doing my larger urban landscape watercolors (and having my second child). I’ve always loved looking at the big assortment of peppers on display in the produce section at my grocery store, so that’s how I chose the subject of my third series. The peppers were a lot of fun to do because there is such a great variety in their shapes, colors and textures. My Boxed Still Life project is ongoing so there will be more to come!
Q. If your paintings could talk what would they say?
“Buy me!” ha!
Q. How would you describe your artistic style?
I’m definitely primarily a realist. But while my watercolors are always pretty earth and worldly, my acrylics tend to be ‘heightend’ and idealized versions of reality, more slick and less gritty.
Q. What is your creative process?
Most of the time, something will just catch my eye. I drive by the candlepin bowling alley in Malden (the subject of Open Lanes) all the time and am fascinated by the character of it’s cool retro and weathered look. So one day I went down there with my camera and shot it from all different angles. Then I reviewed the images at home on my computer until I found the one that spoke to me the most.
Q. What importance does art hold in your life?
Painting is very important to me. It’s my own personal form of meditation.
Q. What role did art play in your life as a child?
I didn’t have much in the way of art education at school as a little kid, but my parents are very creative people, especially my mother, and they both encouraged me in my artistic endeavors. One time I decided to make shoes out of paper lunch sacks and then insisted on wearing them to visit my father at his office prompting his boss to jokingly ask if they were paying him enough, heh.
Then when I was thirteen I was encouraged by my mother and my art teacher to audition for an arts based high school where I ended up being accepted as a visual arts major. It was around that time that my eyes were really opened to all that art is and can be.
Q. What words of wisdom would you share with aspiring artists?
A true artist is always seeking ways to grow and improve and that requires getting out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to fail. Seek out people who will give you constructive criticism and learn from it.