WELL + WONDER CURATES AN ONLINE COLLECTION OF ORIGINAL ART BY EMERGING SOUTHERN ARTISTS, AT PRICES FIT FOR COLLECTORS AT ALL LEVELS.
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.
I’m a Kentucky girl who grew up in a home where original art hung on every square inch of wall space - behind doors, in nooks and crannies, and up staircases. I have my dad to thank for the art backdrop to my childhood, and my mom for being supportive of a passion for collecting.Mollie and I met at Vanderbilt where we both studied Art History and spent a semester abroad in Florence – one of the opportunities I’m most grateful for to this day. When you throw in our Kentucky connections and art-loving lifestyles, Mollie and I were destined to collaborate on these projects!
Another introduction I have Vanderbilt to thank for is the one to my husband, William. We now live in Jacksonville, FL (his home town) with our children Jane (6) and Ford (4), and dog Charlie. Prior to landing in Jacksonville, I lived in London for a year after college earning a Masters in Art Business from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art. After a brief stint in New York, while writing my dissertation and interning for Chubb’s leading Art Insurance broker, I moved to Washington, D.C. There I began working at the Phillips Collection, followed by a commercial gallery and ultimately joined the National Gallery of Art as a Development Associate. My time at the National Gallery was a dream come true – the exhibition openings, the building itself, the history, and the colleagues who I still greatly admire today.
Soon after arriving in Jacksonville, I began working for the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens until we were expecting our second child. I’ve spent the past few years chasing children and staying busy! But with both children back in school I was eager to get back to the art world and Well + Wonder was the perfect fit for this art-loving Mom! What I love most about Well + Wonder, in addition to the quality of the art, is the glimpse you get into the lives of thriving southern female artists and the community built around their talent. Reading descriptions of their studios, I feel like these women could be friends of mine or maybe I know their hometown and could have a friend who lives down the street. Like so many mothers of young children, I feel like I’m constantly juggling the chaos of everyday life, so taking a break to think about art and help others experience the joy of collecting and living with art is SO appealing. Not to mention the fact that I want my kids to grow up knowing how important art and creativity are to the world we live in!
From art classes to camps to finding myself and, more importantly, my paintbrush in college courses, art has been a strong and consistent through-line in my life. For as long as I can remember my parents, friends, and various cheerleaders have encouraged collecting, and creating art. Straying from the Well + Wonder norm, I am no native Kentuckian. I was born and raised in the small town (now much larger) of Newnan, Georgia, and have found myself close to home once again while living in Atlanta.
It seems that regardless of what I had planned for my career, I always find myself returning to art. In May of 2016, I graduated from Wake Forest University with a BA in Psychology and with minors in both Studio Art and Entrepreneurship. Initially, I had no intention of pursuing art in college; after semesters of traditional coursework leaving me unfulfilled did, I find myself in an introductory painting course. Forever after, at least one studio art course was scheduled each semester. After graduation, internships in branding and design did not hold a candle to painting. The best-laid plans often go awry; as is the way with my life. I was once again with a brush in my hand, and a hobby became a career.
Painting can be a solitary endeavor. The onus is on oneself to produce and perform. So, after finding Mollie, later Emily, and now Dory, I am forever grateful for this community in Well + Wonder. That allows flexibility to create and most importantly to connect with others. In my almost 4 years with Well + Wonder, I have seen artists marry, have children of their own, and grow both in their work and as individuals. I have made friends, I have learned from others, and I have evolved both personally and professionally. Behind -the- scenes work has never been so rewarding.
Currently, my wish list is infinitely longer than my wallet can support. There are more paintings that I covet than I can count. In working with Well + Wonder’s roster of immensely talented artists I have come to have a greater appreciation for the title of “working artist.” This job, an artist, is not easy but the intention, dedication, and love that is poured into each painting by every Well + Wonder artist is so encouraging and leaves me wanting to do more and to create more in this incredible landscape of Southern Art.
Born and raised in, you guessed it, Kentucky, with a mother as an artist, I was taught and enjoyed the technical side of art from day one, but I was also encouraged to appreciate the art and beauty in what I could find in the world around me everyday. I practiced both skills throughout my childhood and into college at Washington and Lee University, where I did a brief stint creating art abroad in Italy, and ultimately graduating with a minor in Studio Art. No stranger to the strength of a female based business- I opened, owned, and operated two Pure Barre studios in Houston in my early years after college. While my adult interaction with art has been much more hands off, it has certainly still held a place in my heart. When I opened my first Pure Barre studio I had the architect draw the floor-plans to allow for a front hall gallery to display local artists' work- many of which were sold to Pure Barre clients over the years.
In an effort to move closer to family and settle into a smaller town, my husband, daughter, and I recently landed in beautiful Birmingham, Alabama. After being a super-fan of Well + Wonder for years, I am so excited to join my family friends, Mollie and Emily, and become part of yet another amazing community empowering women. To me Southern art is a reflection of the emotion attached to the beauty of community, family, friendliness, and our special places!