Mary J Whitt first discovered her love for glass art more than 20 years ago when a good friend gave her a beautiful fused glass platter as a Christmas present. It inspired her to learn the craft, so she researched the techniques, tools and equipment necessary for glass fusing and began her journey exploring the endless creative possibilities that working with glass offers. Before long, she was selling her work in gift shops, galleries, juried art shows and private shows across the Southeast.
Although Whitt is “self-taught” in the techniques of fused glass, she received formal art training as a fine arts major at the University of Tennessee from 1977-1980. Her early training served as a helpful springboard, enabling her to intuitively create mood and movement through design and color. “Imagine a kaleidoscope of jewel tones dancing across a room as the sun shines through a stained glass window; or the soft, warm glow of a crackling fire; or the wash of fiery reds into pastel pinks at sunset,” she says.
The dynamic play of color and light inspires her work. Whitt’s use of color, texture and form to create mood and movement makes all of her artwork unique.
Overcome with a strong urge to create, Dalton, GA born artist Michelle Fountain left a corporate job in Nashville, TN, in 1998 to make candles and one-of-a-kind gifts from beads and wire. Her gifts were sold to boutiques, unique shops and spas. It was the kindle to the fire that grew in her to be more creative.
After buying her first home in Nashville in the year 2001, Fountain began creating unique finishes on the walls. Encouraged by others, she began her training at one of the top decorative finish schools in the country.
After moving back to Chattanooga in 2002 she soon became a leader in faux finishes, adding cabinetry and furniture to her repertoire, including more education and training. Her business received the Better Business Bureau Torch Ethics award for high work integrity.
From her roots in faux finishing she came to have a great passion for wall art. After much experimentation and classes, she found her voice through” flow” mediums such as alcohol inks, fluid acrylics & epoxy resin. She found freedom in her release of a certain amount of control in her work producing vibrant & organic visions.
She continues her work in the faux field while exploring deeper into her love for art.
Fountain continues to learn new techniques through training and collaborating with other artists. Therefore she is enthusiastic to call Chattanooga Workspace home.
Fountain will also be using her Workspace studio to teach classes to the public.
For more information or to see Fountain’s work please visit her Facebook page facebook.com/fountainstudio and Instagram account instagram.com/simp007.
Jaime Barks grew up roaming the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Those countless hours she spent wandering the woods as a child are evident in her work. Jaime has strong naturalistic element in her painting. She shies away from realism in favor of art that focuses on symbolism to convey complex feelings and emotions through imagery of trees, nature and the sea. She loves to capture her daily life through paintings and sketches.
Jaime has her work in private collections through out the southeast . She completed a public art mural in Cleveland, TN in 2014, she teaches watercolor classes for adults, art classes for children and is currently doing an art teaching residency in Hamilton County elementary schools through ArtsBuild. You can find out more about Jaime and her work on her website jaimebarks.com.
Coming from military family, Claudia Moore got to experience different parts of the world from a young age. But it was when she attended the University of Kansas that she found her passion for Fine Art.
With a modern impressionism style, Moore finds inspiration in water and nature. She focuses more on landscapes than anything else. Most pieces seen in her studio are of boats and water scenes.
“I am fortunate to be able to do what I love for fun,” says Moore. “Painting is a constant learning process. You can take the same scene and make it look completely different by using different tools or different techniques. That’s why I love art.”
Moore has been apart of Chattanooga Workspace for the past two years, and also finds inspiration in the artists around her.
“Workspace is such a good community,” she says. “That’s one of the reasons why I am here. We learn through each other, we collaborate with each other, it’s just a great place to be.”
To add one of Claudia Moore’s paintings to your collection please contact her through her studio at Chattanooga Workspace.
Several years ago, I began collecting vintage produce label art; the colors, patterns and designs used to identify product and brand would keep me visually interested for more time than was necessary, as each label was a beautiful balance between image and text. My partner, Nestor Valdes, was equally inspired by these small works of art and at my suggestion began to paint canvases and floor cloths with his own compositions as a way to connect with a simpler time.
Having relocated to Chattanooga within the year, my initial idea for a show theme had something to do with the river and its associations, since it was the main reason we chose this city over all others. However, it quickly became apparent that these re-imagined label art paintings were making us happy in the studio. With all of the uncertainty going on with the world at large, we believe viewing original art which harkens back to a bygone era of a less complicated America may provide a brief respite,
“I Am Not A Label” may be interpreted literally, as the work in the exhibit neither identifies a current product item nor brand even though compositional elements are mimicked. The title also has additional meanings which are close to my heart. Often, ceramic work is reduced to its function, whether it be bowl, cup, vase, etc. It is my hope that these labels are of secondary importance. Lastly, wherever the art-making journey takes us, both Nestor and I have experienced very circuitous paths as artists (Nestor, from ballet and Colleen, from architecture) which defy any label.