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.