When you are on the right path, opportunities present themselves everywhere you look. I started painting seriously in the summer of 2014. In the last year, I have started showing my work in a local gallery and a large corporate office. Participation in pop-up shows and other temporary shows has helped promote my work. Commissions of my paintings can be found in a modern Jackson salon and several local restaurant locations.
The Jackson community has been overwhelmingly supportive of my work. This month, I am doing a live painting demonstration during Fondren’s First Thursday at Fondren Art Gallery. You can see my most recent work on display as part of the Cedars Juried Art Show.
My painterly style can be described as loosely realistic or whimsical. Idealized still life and landscape are my primary subject matter. I like a painting to look like a painting. By that I mean that I like to see the brushstrokes and layers of paint rising off a canvas. Examples of my work and contact information can be found at www.emilycatesabree.com.
The transition from hobbyist to being a part of the Mississippi creative economy has been rapid and sometimes
turbulent. Rapid because of the influx of commissions and shows to prepare for, and turbulent because I often have more work than I think I can handle. (Somehow, it always get finished!) I want to encourage other creative types to promote themselves because opportunities abound in our state. You just have to ask, collaborate with other creatives, and participate in local events to get your work noticed and start getting commissions. From my perspective, our state is hungry for local art and I am excited to see what my second year as a ‘working artist’ brings.
Corporate art commissions are the focus of my efforts in the state of Mississippi because of the expansion of small businesses. Barefield Workplace Solutions in downtown Jackson provided my first opportunity to experiment with corporate art. Owner Paul Maczka encouraged me to display examples of my work in his gorgeous, loft-like office space. These examples can be customized for his client base. Ryan Patrick of the Pizza Shack reports that my work is often a conversation piece in his new Madison and Byram restaurant locations. Ryan commissioned me to do a series of fifteen paintings for each of the new restaurants. The work features his favorite ingredients and promotes a warm, inviting space where customers will want to return again and again. Suzanne Moak of S’Moak Salon added a large modern painting that completely transformed a small work station. Promoting and supporting each other gives us pride in our Mississippi communities and adds a local flavor that can’t be replicated.
Encouragement and support from friends and family has been key to my efforts so far, but broader community support of the arts will keep me painting. If you are a small business owner, shop local for your decor!