I started collecting original art in my late 20s when I became more interested in investing money in my home rather than buying the latest pair of Tory Burch boots. Don't get me wrong, I still very much enjoy nice Tory Burch shoes and clothing but I now more clearly see the value in investing in my home. My husband and two young children and I moved into our (hopefully!) forever home 2 years ago and have slowly been chipping away at making it our own.
Art that I have collected over the years has so effortlessly fit into gallery walls in the foyer, children's bedrooms, our formal dining room, etc. All this art tells a story - pieces that my Mother gave me from her trip to Japan all over my dining room; a Dorothy Shain bikini in my children's bathroom that reminds them of the beach, my favorite Paige Follmann figurative oil painting in my foyer (her first series of these types of paintings that now have a cult like following!); my son's portrait painted by Chattanooga artist and friend Liz Lindstrom; a bright yellow Susie Bettenhausen abstract over our sofa in our informal living room where our kids lounge everyday (yellow they say is the "happiest color"); an abstracted landscape diptych by Adele Yonchak over my mantle that has my favorite bold colors in it - yellow and orange, that ties my entire living room together; a commissioned watercolor in our kitchen of our first home that we brought our babies home to; a pair of EMYO floral paintings that are painted on thick hand cut wood from her farm in Tennessee that remind me of the south - rustic, simple, durable, resilient-- yet painted on these wood panels are soft southern flowers - very feminine and delicate. How does it get more Southern than that?
Before I could afford "real" art I purchased studies from artists that they would have never sold - pieces that are on paper that they do as a practice, a starting point before they begin a large scale painting. I have these hanging now in my bathroom. They still bring me such joy. I have the first painting I purchased by a Southern artist that is now an established artist, Lulie Wallace, hanging above my little girl's "big girl" bed. These are only a handful of pieces in my beloved collection. I could go on and on about the art in my home, but the cool thing about it all, more than shoes and more than draperies and handmade pillows is it all tells such a great story. Each piece was created by an artist with the intention that it would be sold and one day live as part of a greater collection. This is what Southern art means to me - the story that it tells and not only how I connected with it but what I have passed onto my family and others that come into my home. As a Southerner, that is so important to us. The stories we tell, the friends we meet, the community we make.
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