After 10 years in corporate sales, Melodie decided do something different. She longed to do something creative, entrepreneurial, and to have flexibility and freedom in her daily endeavors. She loved working with clay as a hobby and dreamed of one day being a full time potter. As many of us do, she thought retirement was the time to live out her dreams. Fortunately she chose not to wait. Armed with fierce faith and determination, lots of ideas, and a bit of savings, she set out to pursue her heart’s desire. She joined an artists’ co-op and began making wheel thrown and hand built pottery. She has combined her personal style of etching and carving with traditional and slip resist raku which fashions a look that’s totally unique from anything you see out there. She’s living the dream.
The Great Lesser Known goes international in this interview. In this video, Carmen speaks with Alexander Shegelsky, an artist agent based here in Nashville, TN. Alex represents Ukrainian artist Andrey Poletaev, an artist who creates amazing drawings using just normal ballpoint pens. Andrey’s ability to create images with exceptional details and shading to the point that they could be mistaken for photographs at distance. Closer inspection reveals the unique texture and sheen that ballpoint pen ink produces.
In this video, Carmen visits with Dana Olson Pettit. Dana is from the Chicago suburb of Plainfield, IL, where she took an interest in drawing at the age of seven. After excelling in several art programs throughout high school, Dana ultimately decided to invest this talent at The American Academy of Art (Chicago), where she graduated with trained knowledge of Fine Art and Oil Painting in 2008. The summer of 2009 was spent in Southern France attending “Atelier Neo Medici” where she studied a unique old painting technique, known as “Technique Mixte,” under highly regarded artist, Gregory Pelizzari.
Dana now resides in Nashville, TN where she operated out of the 100 Taylor Arts Collective before ultimately moving into her home studio. Since being in Nashville, Dana successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign, curated & produced a large scale pop up gallery, teaches private art lessons, supports the Nashville Creative Group, and anxiously pursues her Jesus-based portrait series project: truth between various commissions.
You can learn about Dana by going to:
twitter handle: DanaOlsonArt
Carmen interviews oil painter Patti Randle in her home studio. Art was always part of Patti’s life. As a young girl, Patti would draw whatever was around her: the border collie that was her best friend, the rabbits her parents bought for her and her sister, the family car, her parents. When her younger sister came along, she drew her.
Read more below the video…
Her father was an avid amateur painter who eventually became an accomplished oil painter of animals and landscapes. As a teenager, Patti and her father would set up easels and paint together. She learned a lot, she says, from her father’s encouragement, criticism, and love for art… and from his advice on life. “Do what you love,” he would tell her. And she loved painting.
She found a passion for painting people, for she says each one has a story to tell. The hardest part in any painting, Patti says, is knowing when to step away, to call a painting finished. “They are never finished but at some point each painting has said all it must say. If I were to paint them the next year, they might have a different story to tell.” Today she describes her art as intense creativity.
Carmen heads to Grant Cooley’s home studio to talk with him about his artwork. When asked to describe his work he replies, “My work, whether I knew it or not, has always been focused on the spaces in Between; the Realms between Light and Shadow. Through primarily Figurative images, I continue to explore this vista and hope to bring Beauty to the Corrupt and Connection to the Ethereal.”
In this interview, Carmen sits down to talk with Chris Teague, a graphic artist living in Murfreesboro, TN. Chris is an illustrator and graphic artisty originally from Nashville who specializes in creating custom images utilizing sharp linework and vivid tones. He works primarily in Adobe Photoshop and Clip Studio for creating his digital illustrations.
Valentine “Lee” Adams takes castaway metal objects and composes them into meaningful art pieces that people can connect with. Per Lee, he is “fascinated and motivated by the interconnection of found metal objects that have potential to capture spirit and energy”. If you have an opportunity, visit the Brentwood library where you will see one of his pieces (a bench) located by the entryway of the library.
Carmen Bellos, co-founder of the Great Lesser Known, had the great opportunity to interview Tammy O’Conner in her glass studio.
Tammy was initially inspired by her uncle, and followed in his footsteps as a professional photographer. To that end, she studied design, color and composition at the Art Institute of Atlanta, graduating with a degree in photography. Though intrigued by playing with light and composition, the medium did not feel like a fit. Later, she was introduced to stained glass and found that she still was able to play with light and color and that is when she found her place.
Tammy has worked with glass since 1985 and has twice been awarded the James C. Whitney Memorial Scholarship by the American Glass Guild. You can learn more about Tammy and her work at her website, www.vitricvisions.com.
The Great >< Lesser Known is celebrating their first year anniversary of establishing the website and initiating interviews with local Middle Tennessee artists. Nancy Hilgert, the visionary, founder, and co-creator of this endeavor, has been a major inspiration for artists and artist lovers alike.
Carmen Bellos, a co-founder of The Great Lesser Known had the pleasure of interviewing Nancy Hilgert.
Nancy Hilgert was born in Washington, DC and raised in Northern Virginia. She was fortunate to have art classes throughout her entire education, choosing the Art and Architecture Department at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville for her BFA double major in Drawing and Studio Art.
Leslie’s animal alphabet series (Animal Abecedary) began while she was flipping through her well worn book of Victorian engravings. She came across an image of a stout walrus with a human face and it stopped her dead in her tracks. The image was so startlingly weird and wonderful, she knew she had to work with it. Ms. Haines’ animal series explores unusual juxtapositions by taking something that might be ordinary, like an alphabet book, and turning it into a fanciful flight of unusual and interesting pairings. Her goal is at once humorous and artistic, to mix not only unexpected imagery but to also create visual eye candy through rich texture and color. An award-winning graphic designer, artist, college professor, and evangelist for orange Leslie enjoys playing with letterpress type, vintage engravings, color and texture to create sophisticated digital collages with a twist of humor.
Ms. Haines is currently Associate Professor of Visual Communication in the School of Journalism at MTSU. Prior to this position, she chaired Graphic Design programs at The Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville and Watkins College of Art & Design. She received an MFA in Graphic Design from Marywood University and an MA in Advertising Design from Syracuse University. Ms. Haines created the design for the most recent Tennessee arts license plate and two hat designs being sold at Target stores. Two images from her Animal Abecedary series were exhibited at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville from November 2015–February 2016. Two pieces were also selected for the 2016 international Inkmasters Print Exhibition held in Cairns Queensland, Australia. Her series has exhibited locally and across the state since completion in 2015.