We have long admired the work of North Carolina native and Nashville-based artist Christy King. After majoring in art and education at UNC Chapel Hill, Christy traversed the Southeast from DC to Nashville, utilizing her degree working as an artist, creating custom and personal work and an art teacher in museums and Montessori schools. Initially, Christy experimented with collage in the form of photography, abstracted portraits, and children's book illustration, however, she found her niche in botanicals. Her collages are inspired by her North Carolina roots, every wildflower depicted being native to her home state. Each piece is created with themes of connection to place, home, and family yet they provide Christy with an outlet for experimentation and playfulness. Christy uses oil painting as an escape. The juxtaposition of the two art forms allows for a balance of visual expression and retreat. She is a woman of many talents. So, on the eve of her Well + Wonder release, we sat down with Christy to chat and learn a little more about this talented artist…
What is currently on your nightstand?
A little picture of my family circa 1993, a couple of pairs of tiny gold earrings, Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin, Los Poblanos lavender hand salve, and Beautycounter lip conditioner.
Who is your biggest influence as an artist and why?
I think Sally Mann, even though I don’t make fine art photographs. I loved her photos in college (I took a lot of photography courses), and was inspired by the fact that she lived in a rural area and made art about her family. Several years ago I went to her talk in Nashville after her memoir came out, and was even more inspired by the fact that she was introverted, like me.
Tell us about your childhood. What is the most memorable moment as a young person?
It’s tough to think of a single memory so I’ll go with an art-related one! I was fortunate to have art classes my whole life growing up and even had extra opportunities to make art in Girl Scouts. I remember one specific project where it dawned on me that I really cared for art-making- I was painting Santa and his sled and reindeer (!) on a glass bowl as a Girl Scout craft, and I was very aware that I was taking much longer than the other girls and would have been content to paint for hours more.
If you could only have one supply in your art studio, what would it be and why?
Oil paint. I am drawn to making collages as a way to be experimental and loose with my forms, color palette, and composition. However, I’ve always been a painter and really enjoy the process!
What is your favorite room in your house? Describe it.
My studio! Finally, it’s very organized and it feels right. I accomplish my goals in there, and it has four windows so I love the natural light.
What is your biggest score online?
M newest camera lens. I found out a few years ago before a hiking trip in CA (during which I really needed a zoom lens so I didn’t have to hike with multiple lenses) that there is a gray market for lenses. Check it out!
What is the benefit of buying art through a collective? What do you recommend for those that are new to buying original art?
Collectives are great because there is a curated group of artists from whom you could mix and match art for your home. I think the mood and color scheme from many Well + Wonder works fit together, so it would be fun to shop for several pieces at once. It also means that you are supporting a community of artists who know each other (at least virtually) and so each sale energizes and benefits the whole community.
If you have the entire day to spend in an art museum, which one and why?
I think the North Carolina Museum of Art. I haven’t been there in years and it was the first place I worked (actually interned) after college. It would be nice to reflect on my experiences since then and how my internship shaped them, plus the museum and grounds are beautiful! And the restaurant is lovely too!
What is your favorite hotel and what makes it special?
Hacienda Cusin in Ecuador. My mom is from Quito and our family has visited this hotel (really more of a ranch/inn) twice. It is so beautiful and it has been lovely to reflect on her roots and culture and take in the amazing mountain landscape while visiting there.
If you were a lipstick color would you be red, pink, or clear and why?
Even though I don’t wear it often, I would be red because it can give you confidence! I remember putting red lipstick on for my wedding and it made me feel ready to have all eyes on me (not my natural habitat- I’m definitely a homebody!).
I can never get on a plane without….
A book. I love reading while traveling.
How did you get into the world of art?
I’ve just continued to make personal work, offer custom paintings, and spread the word that I’m an artist since majoring in art at Chapel Hill. I’ve submitted my work to galleries and interior designers/bloggers, as well as sought features on social media.
What do you do to relax?
I love hiking with my husband. Other favorites are going out for a delicious meal or enjoying a glass of red wine with a binge-worthy TV series. I also go to Emerald Isle, NC every summer (my whole life!) and definitely spend 100% of my time relaxing during that week!
When do you get the biggest surge of inspiration?
Right when a new project comes to mind and I am trying it out for the first time.
Prediction for the Color of 2019?
What is your idea of a date night? Dinner and a movie or dancing all night?
Art gallery and dinner, and a second spot for dessert!
Tell us about your favorite painting that you have created.
My favorite painting is a still life of a plant and clementines that my sister bought. I took a lot of care planning the still life the night before I painted it, so I think that’s why it turned out well. My favorite collage is the Cardinal Flower because it was one of the first botanical collages I made (love that rush of inspiration mentioned earlier) and I love the bold reds in it.
One piece of advice for buying original art?
Buy from an artist you have been following and whose work you admire. You can make a difference in his/her career, and it will be special to know you are a true supporter.