The songs of hometown churches tell a story about Chattanooga’s past. From Sunday mornings in church to family memories of loved ones lost. “My mom passed away about a decade ago when I was in my 20’s and she loved to sing loved old hymns,” says artist Jaime Barks.
Those memories, something that she never wants to lose. So with her paint brush and these hymnal pages gathered from thrift stores or yard sales, and estate sales, she is making sure they live on forever.
She mounts each page on wooden blocks. A light coat of paint and a sketch, and it’s ready to paint. “I use book pages or Bible pages, found objects, I love to paint on alternative surfaces, it always sparks your creativity,” Barks says.
Now that Jaime is a mother herself, her painting perspective has changed. “Something about seeing the world through a child’s eyes to me it’s just exciting because they notice things that grownups miss.”
And with each finished piece, she’s creating memories for other people, sparked when they see the background of familiar melodies. “People will share stories similar to mine, of their childhood, being in church, just special memories about the hymns and how it reminds them of their life experiences because that’s really why I started in the first place.”
You can find Jaime Bark’s art at the Chattanooga Market General Store near the Tennessee Aquarium. She also participates in First Fridays at Chattanooga Workspace.
This Friday, September 1st, Chattanooga Workspace host our monthly Open Studio Night! This month’s theme is “Makers of 6th Street.”
Along with our very talented current Workspace resident members, we will also be featuring guest artisans who used to reside here at 302 W. 6th Street and have helped us become the amazing Workspace community that we are today!
This is a free, family-friendly event offered to the community. Our Artisans, which occupy 4 floors (over 50 studios), will have their studios open to the public between 5:30-8:30pm. Each floor will feature guest artists, music, and demonstrations. Original works of art designed by the local artists will be available for purchase.
Hollie best describes this technique by saying, “Fire is one of the primal and elemental forces which shapes our world. My torch paintings are about this balance between control, destruction, and mesmerizing beauty. Charred into wooden panels using propane torches, they often feature flames as the sole source of light within the composition itself. The naturel grain of the wood radiates outward enhancing the effect of heat mirages and smoke. The combination of carefully controlled marks and fluid disruptions echo the fascinating paradox of the fire that gave them life.”
There’s something unique about the canvas Brandy Burgans uses for her art. Chosen by her customers, but often designed with her own hand… She gets to live her dream, one tattoo at a time. “I think I’m fortunate and grateful that I get to do something artistic for a career,” Burgans says.
On this day, she’s helping disguise the marks of bad memories. “We were covering some accident scars she had from surgery when she was younger.”
But if you look around this Workspace studio, you’ll notice that pictures of tattoos aren’t the only displays. She’s now sharing her style on a new medium, with a different kind of ink. “I decided just to start sketching them, and painting them and it became a huge series.”
Wood pieces, left over from a restaurant remodel, now a big seller at the Chattanooga Market General Store. “If you have too much detail, it will get lost in the tattoo, but when you get a chance to draw it you can keep that detail.”
Pictures that come to life with pen and prove that no matter what the background, her art is catching on, with all kinds of customers. “It’s changing a lot, I’m definitely tattooing a lot of grandmas now.”
Many artists use paper or canvas to hold their creations, but in one Chattanooga studio, a different set of tools is setting one artists’ work apart. The hallway in front of Hollie Berry’s studio is lined with her creations.
But once you go inside, her method kind of clicks. “Normally fire is a destructive force so to be able to create something new out of fire is even more satisfying,” says Berry.
Armed with a blow torch and untreated plywood, Hollie makes the image on her computer, come to life, no paint included. “I burn to make the dark and all the lights I keep the base color of the wood.”
When the idea first sparked, she was ready for disaster. “Lots of buckets of water and fire extinguishers and blankets to put out what I thought inevitable be a bonfire.”
But quickly found her inspiration. Today, it’s this picture of a local fire dancer. After just a few minutes, the image starts to take shape, burned into the wood with the precision of a steady hand.
But sometimes, you just need a bigger tool and a helping hand.
And once her projects have cooled, Hollie hopes it’s what the pieces project, and not how they’re made, that leave a lasting impression. “It’s really satisfying when I see someone else looking at my work… and they tell me they can see the expression I was putting into the work.”
An artist’s new mural on Sixth Street is the perfect photo opportunity for locals and tourists visiting the Scenic City.
Kenny Kudulis unveiled his “Chattanooga” mural during an open studio night at Chattanooga WorkSpace last Friday. Instead of using visual representations of the city—such as his recent mural at 2 Sons Kitchen & Market—Kudulis used graphic text to highlight iconic Chattanooga locations.
The idea for this version came from his travels. Kudulis and his wife, Jenifer, spend most of their year traveling to art festivals in major cities.
“In most of those cities, there is usually an awesome and colorful mural that represents that specific city,” he said. “It’s a great spot for locals and tourists alike to take their pics and have a visual representation of the place they are currently inhabiting … something to look cool in front of and share with friends. I wanted that for Chattanooga.”
Locals and tourists will recognize Rock City, the Chattanooga Choo-Choo and an orange version of the word “Tennessee” to represent the Volunteers.
“Who doesn’t love Rock City?” he said. “And the Choo-Choo seems to be the first thing people mention when I tell them I’m from Chattanooga. That song is the fabric of the American consciousness.”
Kudulis also highlights Chattanooga’s nickname—the Scenic City—and offers a tribute to our area code.
“The ‘423’ is hometown pride,” he said. “We moved from New York City two years ago and love it here in Chattanooga. We live in the Southside and love how walkable it is and how fast it’s growing.”