Our Featured Artist: Jessica Payne Art

From now until October 5, Tomato Head features the many-hued and luminous paintings of Jessica Payne. One of our favorite local artists, Jessica’s work fills the space with vivid color and imagery that never fails to excite conversation. One of her favorite memories is when, “I was eating at the downtown Tomato Head during one of my exhibits a few years ago, and I saw a family in the middle of the room looking around and discussing my paintings.  At one point a little girl, maybe 8 or 9 years old, went up to look closer and immediately turned around and with a frown said, ‘Mommy it’s already sold.’”

Jessica grew up in Knoxville as the youngest of six in a long line of artists, and drawing and painting were hobbies that she came by naturally – both her father and grandmother spent their free time putting color on canvas.

But while she took art classes and thought at times that her career might veer toward the arts, it was only after she took a degree in Social Work and Women’s studies and started a path to law school that she felt a tug to a more creative vocation.

It was in the week of her 25th birthday while she sat outdoors when she committed to a different way of life: “I spent my birthday weekend sitting and observing so many beautiful things that had been around me for a long time. I felt an intuitive pull to change my life in a drastic way.”

Promptly thereafter, Jessica joined Americorps where her urge to create found expression in the earth as she worked to help establish Beardsley Farm; later the same urge would lead her to study cooking, until finally through a variety of online courses and her own drive, she found both an approach and technique for painting that helped unlock her artistic life.

She says: “A huge thing I learned from artist Flora Bowley, after taking her online course Brave Intuitive Painting, is to keep painting until something works.” This approach helps keep Jesssica’s creative energy in flow, and it works in conjunction with her technique of layering.

“I find something that works and then focus on that. If it doesn’t work, I paint over it. I often keep painting over my canvas until something clicks or sparks with me. This opens the door to the philosophical idea of non-attachment. I’m not afraid to paint over something that I spent a while creating if it no longer works/looks pretty.”

Jessica’s technique results in vibrant and multi-faceted imagery that contains the genuine chaos of natural creativity that, she says, eventually evolves into order: “After I have a few layers of marks and colors, I like to take my painting outside and look at it far away. I like to see if I can see any images in the painting…sort of like seeing images in clouds.  Sometimes I see birds, mountains, vases, trees. Working and expanding upon what is already there after the spontaneous marks, is part of my process, too. This process is so fun and mysterious.”

One of the most fun aspects of Jessica’s art is that her paintings often shine. She says, “I love things that sparkle.  My inner five year old is always ready to play with glitter! Because of the use of glitter and mica, my paintings change when the light source changes. There are many times when I walk by a painting and it sparkles so much that it looks like it is plugged into electricity. When the sun hits a painting with glitter, it glows.”

The color, the variety of imagery, not to mention the playful use of glitter and mica, give our featured artist’s work a liveliness that almost leaps from the walls in a joyful celebration of the beauty that surrounds us and lives inside us, too.

Don’t let it pass you by.

Jessica Payne Art

 

 

 

 

Tomato Head Open Call for Artists

The Tomato Head is accepting submissions for its 2016  art exhibition schedule. Artists may submit a CD or email of 5-10 images of wall-mountable work to:

Tomato Head Exhibits Committee (for CDs)
c/o Bethann DeGrow Smtih
1710 Jefferson Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37917

or bethann@degrow.com

Labeled CDs are requested by October 26th, 2015. Please include a brief bio, artist statement and sizes for each piece of work submitted.

For more information, contact Bethann DeGrow at 865-546-6852 orbethann@degrow.com.

An Unconventional View of Fruit: Sharon Popek’s “Wings of Fancy”

This June, we are pleased to host Sharon Popek’s “Wings of Fancy” in our Market Square art gallery. Her collection utilizes her talents in photography and photo finishing to give a different perspective on the ground cherry.

While subtle hues stand out to the eye at first, the black and white backgrounds are detailed with textures and interesting shapes. Although the some effects of the photo are created in computer programs after the shot, Popek tries to do as much work within the initial shooting as she can.

For example, Popek says she uses a shallow depth of field to create the bokah effect that looks like blurred lights in the background. Popek also views the camera is an extension of herself, and it follows her around everywhere, including a fateful visit to Market Square for the farmer’s market.

The subject of ground cherries came to fruition when she spotted a booth in the Knoxville farmer’s market selling ground cherries. She had never heard of them before, and their unusual look added to a sense of mysticism that Popek saw in the cherries. To her, the cherries look enchanting, and have inspired her next series evolving from “Wings of Fancy”, called “Fairy Lanterns”, which will be approaching finished by the end of the year.

Popek has lived in Knoxville since graduating from the University of Kentucky, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art Studio. She lives with her husband, five cats, and her dog. In her spare time, she puts her camera and computer to good use, doing photography and photo finishing. During the day, she shoots pet photography and produces photographs.

The exhibit will be in the Market Square location until the end of June, then it will move to the Kingston Pike location in July.

One-Cherry-1707-sm

Denise Stewart-Sanabria as May’s Featured Artist

This month, you might have noticed a few really big pictures of food hanging on our walls in Market Square. They aren’t there to entice you, although they have pulled the strings of hunger for some of the servers who forgot to eat before their shifts. The large pictures of food are there as our art gallery for May. We have been very pleased to host the Culinary Drama of Denise Stewart-Sanabria.

The exhibit is a collection of Vanitas, or Still Lifes, which were art categories originally associated with domestic images that symbolized life and death. Stewart-Sanabria’s collection plays upon the same vein by acting out dramatic narratives inspired by human actions that entertain, amaze, or horrify the artist. Her use of color is very appealing, and the oil paintings seem strangely surreal, yet that if one could reach into the canvas, they would already know the texture of anything depicted.

Denise Stewart-Sanabria earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. Originally from Massachusetts, she has lived in Knoxville since 1986. Her work has been featured at the Ewing Gallery at the University of Tennessee, the Union Street Gallery in Chicago Heights, the 26th Tallahassee International at the Florida State Museum of Fine Arts, and many, many more museums, galleries, and universities. After seeing only this exhibit in our gallery, it is easy to understand how immensely wonderful her talent is.

It is hard to miss these almost pop-art images, but if you did miss them we forgive you. There is still time to see them downtown, as they will be displayed through the first few days of June, then move to our location on Kingston Pike for the month of June. Take your time looking at them, and try to decipher the human emotion behind each food prop. We promise not to look at you strangely if you’re standing in the middle of the restaurant staring into the food. It’s easy to be lost in good art.

Surrounded by Eggplants

Striped Light at the Tomato Head

Now until May 3rd, the Tomato Head art show is featuring prints from two of the founders of Knoxville’s newest creative outlet: the Striped Light.

The Striped Light is a hands on printing press founded by Bryan Baker, Sarah Shebaro, and Jason Boardman that offers rad prints and ephemera from artists as well as print making classes and workshops open to the public. The Striped Light is also Knoxville’s newest record label, with a focus on signing local artists from our city’s talented music scene. Collaborative works by Bryan Baker and Sarah Shebaro are currently on display at the Tomato Head in Market Square.

After receiving a graduate degree from the University of Tennessee, Bryan Baker began teaching adjunct classes at UT and for Yee-Haw Industrial Letterpress. He has held workshops at Penland and Arrowmont, and spent a year at Clarion University in Pennsylvania. Baker moved to New York City in 2008, where he taught at the Center for Book Arts, helped run the Arm Letterpress in Brooklyn, and worked at a commercial printshop. While in New York, Baker set up his own successful print shop, called Stukenborg Press. Having success with his press, Baker moved to Detroit where he honed in on teaching the public how make prints. Now he has brought his passion for teaching talents for print making back to Knoxville.

Sara Shebaro also received a degree from the University of Tennessee, a Masters in Fine Art in 2008. Before that, Shebaro received her BFA from the University of Iowa, spent time in Chicago, and took a non-degree assistantship position at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. In 2009, Shebora relocated to Brooklyn for an assistant professor and technician position at the Pratt Institute Printmaking department, where she spent four years building up their print studios, in particular the letterpress facilities through donations of type, presses, and equipment. By the end of her tenure, she had facilitated a fully functioning type collection. She left Brooklyn in late 2014 to join Striped Light.

Jason Boardman, founder of the Pilot Light and software engineer and systems architect for McKay Books, has also been involved as a founder of the Striped Light. Boardman has been heavily involved in Knoxville’s music scene through the Pilot Light, a Music Composition degree at UTK, and his own career as a musician. In 2010, Boardman opened Hot Horse, a record and vintage store. Now, he is driving face behind the Striped Light’s record label that recently signed Knoxville band, Daddy Don’t.

If you miss the Art Show display in the Market Square location, do not fret. You’ll be able to catch up with them at the Tomato Head located on Kingston Pike from May 5th through June 1st. The collection is a unique set of playful prints that show off the talents of both Shebaro and Baker. If you’re interested in taking classes, using the printing press, or learning more about the record label, visit www.stripedlight.com.

Striped Light_IMG_9544 striped light flip flap flop

Big Ears Festival: A macrocosm of Knoxville’s artistic community.

Big Ears Festival is more than music. This is a festival that is as much about expanding communities as it is a lineup. The city of Knoxville is opening its arms again this weekend to welcome back Big Ears and the vast, internationally renowned community of artists of many mediums.

For the second year in a row, the Big Ears community is reaching back to Knoxville through its community outreach program Little Ears which raises money to support The Joy of Music School and the Community school of the Arts. Both of these Knoxville based schools offer opportunities in the arts to children and teens who have trouble affording them otherwise. It’s a welcomed partner of our Loving Spoonful charitable program.

At the Tomato Head, we are proud to be partners with Little Ears and supporting both schools by displaying photographs of the Joy of Music School and paintings from the Community School for the Arts in our Market Square location through March. If you miss them, you can see them in April at our Kingston Pike location.

We are also featuring special Big Ears pint glasses for sale that benefit Little Ears. (More details here) During the festival weekend, stop into the Tomato Head to purchase a Big Ears glass and try the Saw Works Sonic Wit, the featured beer for the festival.

Little Ears is a program with powerful meaning and serious results. Last year, AC entertainment reports having raised almost $4,000 to benefit both of the organizations. This was enough to create two new scholarships for the 2014-2015 school year at the Community School of the Arts. Music education is integral to the festival, according to Neeley Rice, one of the forces behind Big Ears at AC Entertainment. The promise of Big Ears is it features musicians and artists of several mediums who push the envelope in their art.

The festival is in many ways a macrocosm of Knoxville’s talented artistic community that the School of the Arts and Joy of Music have helped to foster, and a level of discipline for the students who are just learning the skills of their art to aspire to. The paintings displayed at the Tomato Head were done by middle and high school students.

For many of them, this is the first time their work has been displayed outside of the school. The work is unique and you don’t have to be an art expert to enjoy the paintings. The photographs of the children at the Joy of Music School are pristine and capture beautiful moments of children learning to play music.

This weekend, Knoxville will again transform into what Jennifer Willard at the Community School for the Arts describes as an international cultural mecca. It’s safe to say that there is a lot of excitement in the air. It will be really neat to see the how the culturally diverse art on display at the Tomato Head through Little Ears is a stepping stone that every artist masters before becoming a force in pushing their craft forward like the artist featured in Big Ears.

Knoxville has such great culture, and this weekend is promising to be very special.

Featured Artist in Market Square: Ocean Starr Cline’s “Roots and Branches” Paintings on display at Tomato Head

A collection of paintings titled, Roots and Branches, by local artist Ocean Starr Cline is on display at the Tomato Head in Market Square. Besides being an artist, Cline is a local educator, blogging philosopher, as well as a full-time mother. Cline has been a presence in Knoxville’s art community for almost ten years, and painting for nearly twenty.

Roots and Branches is inspired by her own experiences as a Buddhist and a mother to her three year old daughter. Cline finds meaning in heritage, something she says she connected with through hand embroidery. For Cline, the Roots and Branches collection captures where we’re from and where we’re going. However, she claims that her interpretation doesn’t really matter.

In her blog, Cline describes the feeling of sharing her work, which is nerve-racking for any creative mind. To her, painting is as much of an expression of her own thoughts and emotions as it is the viewer’s. In a way, both the viewer and the artist are opening themselves to each other. What she hopes to bring to any room in which her paintings are hanging, certainly what we hope to share with our guests, is simply happiness that can be shared together.

In that spirit, the interpretations that she finds interesting are those of the viewers.

Cline’s paintings are not only interesting for their symbolism. Her use of texture and colors produce bright, complex scenes. Cline uses a wide spectrum of materials beneath her paint in order to create interesting textures, such as sawdust, leaves, fabric, and fibers.The colors used in Roots and Branches were chosen by her daughter, who has actually begun to sell her own art. That’s right, the same three year old daughter is a budding young artist with a talented mom as a coach.

You can read more about Cline’s work, inspirations, and her philosophy surrounding art by visiting her blog or her webpage. Ocean Starr Cline’s work will be on display at the Tomato Head location in Market Square through the end of February. Roots and Branches will also be displayed at the Tomato Head on Kingston Pike during the month of March.

Happiness is a buttered biscuit.

Happiness is a buttered biscuit.

The Moore Family Folk Art – Catch! – A Three State Junk Art Tour

Alan and his daughters Isabella (age 13) and Emma (age 11) have been creating their iconic bottle cap fish for their junk art tour they call “Catch!” – inspired by their two home states of Florida and Colorado.

Recently the Moore’s went “paintless” in their folk art bringing all the color to their work through the medium of vintage soda/beer cans and bottle caps.  The Moore’s new palette includes over 4000 soda and beer cans to choose from, all dating back to the 1960s and 1970s.

Their studio also boasts of having over 60,000 neatly organized bottle caps-vintage and modern, domestic and international.  It is not rare for Alan or one of the girls to make a fish with caps and cans from Germany, Russia, Canada, Thailand, S. Korea, the US and several other countries.

Alan, who began making upcycled art as a child, began involving his children in his art world five years ago.  Isabella and Emma have gone from helpers at art festivals and in the studio to budding artists selling their own art across the country.  The girls also teach recycled art classes to kids their own age.  Isabella and Emma are now fully engaged in what the Moores call “The Moore Family Folk Art.”  Alan’s boys, Aidan (8), Liam (6), and Kian (3), are great helpers and are starting to dabble in the folk art world.

The tour’s final stop will be at The Tomato Head in Knoxville, Tennessee.  The Tomato Head owner Mahasti Vafaie found the Moore’s folk art bottle cap fish online and reached out last year about the fall 2014 exhibit.  The Moore’s art will be on display in Market Square until October 4, then it will move to 7240 Kingston Pike  from October 7 to November 3.

You can find all about the Moore’s art at:  www.floridafolkart.com and www.coloradofolkart.com

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design