Picasso was classically trained, yet chose to represent his world using what some would refer to as basic shapes. As a twenty-something B.F.A. candidate, I simply could not wrap my head around his choice; The wasted talent! A missed opportunity! My late-night musings were focused on the Italian masters. The Sistine Chapel, stretched across the background of my laptop, was my favorite work of art and I was determined it would remain so. Then I turned 30 (Yes, age seems to be morphing into a sort of motif for this blog).
To feel at odds with yourself is a curious phenomenon. Realism was suddenly mundane and unrelatable, but all at once like the familiar scent of moments passed. Strokes on my canvas became more transient, as if apologizing for overstaying their welcome. Realistic details were still present, but nestled into stylized color schemes and dramatic textures. I connected with this new style; The old and new coming together. It seemed as though, after several years of weary searching, that I had stumbled upon my personal artistic style.
Local landmarks and historical buildings are currently the cornerstone of Heidi Fawn Art and Design Co. But don’t count on purely realistic renderings of anything produced in my studio these days. I find enjoyment and self within stylized, almost abstract depictions of mountains, waterfalls, and abandoned courthouses. My favorite part of this subject matter though? The stories from art festival passerbys and patrons. The recollections of rock climbers and cavers, or a bride and groom who said “I do” near a mountain railway. I have learned so much about my little home town by way of my art. Our local coffee spot was once a cobbler shop. You can imagine the laughs when folks realize shoe repair tools lined the walls rather than buttery, fruity desserts (I’m not judging. I only learned what a cobbler is through an Adam Sandler film). And on the second floor of this same building was a vintage dance hall. Adjacent, a local barber shop.
As I listen to people sharing memories, I can almost smell old wood flooring and Barbasol. Eyes light up as they remember wedding jitters on Lover’s Leap. A caver reminisces on a crawl through the mountain depths. It’s simply joyful. I think my favorite story though is one that was told over my watercolor rendering of the local historic train depot. I listened as some elderly men debated whether or not the train cars transported passengers, and what goods came and went in the weekly cargo shipments. I learned that one day, a container came off of the train just a shakin’ and rigglin’, almost right out of the attendant’s hands. Apparently, boxes of snakes were arriving into town for an exotic reptiles show. The whole banter reminded me of my grandfather’s mannerisms, and I can’t remember laughing like that in a long time. It was definitely a feel-good moment, and I can’t wait to provoke more with each new piece I create.
I think I hit “backspace” about 45 times before settling on this sentence. The first one of what I hope is a consistent airing of my artistic (and occasionally broad) thoughts. For what? I’m not sure. I’ve always wanted to inspire, to influence. I lay awake wondering what legacy or trace I will leave when I’m gone. I’m sure most folks wonder the same. Maybe especially artists? All at once though, I can’t stand the thought of being obligated to produce daily or weekly blog posts. In the past, I have been one to giddily set up Instagram pages about living simply or working out, or offer new product lines like fantasy-themed subscription boxes, just to get overwhelmed or sidetracked and move on to my next sparkly idea. On the other hand, when I get on to something, and I mean really get on to it, it’s ride or die. All that to say, who knows if I’ll ever type another entry, or even finish this one. But I hope I do both.
I am a Type A, Enneagram 3, ENFJ; Once to the core, but now superficially. If “Another Earth” is real, Me #2 is probably ignoring the 5:16 PM on the office clock in favor of an all-nighter consisting of strained eyes and takeout. I can’t decide if Me #2 is working on a second graduate degree or wrapping up a high-stakes branding package for the client of the year. I’m exhausted for Me #2. I’m grateful I’m not her anymore. So who am I then? I reckon that’s the million-dollar question of many 30-somethings isn’t it? And it may even be the reason I’ll keep writing posts for this blog.
They say you are a culmination of the 5 people you hang out with most. To that, I say I’m honored because my inner five are made of the good stuff. I’m lucky to have them in my life and I’m happy to be somewhat of a reflection of each. However, I’d argue that every person is also made up of traits coming from much more elusive sources which seem to become evident on some random Tuesday.
I sip wine like my Art History professor and department dean from undergrad. Or I try to at least. I can still smell the garlic and ca. 2012 perfume from my Women’s University peers as we sat in a Roman restaurant waiting on our antipasto. I ordered a Pinot Grigio, my first full glass of anything alcoholic ever. As soon as the liquid grazed my lips, I had static in my jaw joints and my ears flushed with warmth. I held back a gag. All at once, my professor stands, wine in hand, and waits for the room to hush. She’s poised and serious, calculating each word carefully before it leaves her mouth. When the room is silent, she toasts to being together in Rome, and to great accomplishments back home. Her eyes turn to me with accolades on my accomplishment of graduating days prior with a 4.0 GPA. She lifts her crimson glass and drinks. I can’t even explain the finesse. To this day, our shared moment has shaped who I am and strive to be: A seeker of knowledge, sophistication, and worldly leisures. I can only hope she didn’t see me repulsed at fine Italian wine. These days, I can only stomach effervescent, but you better believe I’m sipping it with class.