Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Artist Behind The Art • Sonya Shinn Edwards

Pin It
Do you remember last month, when I took you along with me on my Magazine Street Stroll? In that post I mentioned this great artist that I discovered at Source Nola named Sonya Shinn Edwards. I was immediately taken with her work and quickly got on the fast track to find out more about the lady behind the canvas. 

To my delight, she quickly returned my email and was equally swift about agreeing to being featured on the blog. If only I operated my life with such fastidiousness, I wouldn't have kept her waiting for so long! Best comes to those who wait––or however the old adage goes, right?

I wanted to really get to know who she is as an individual, so I asked her for an interview. I can show you art all day long and we can 'ooh and ahh'; but to me, my greatest joy is to share with the world who a person is on a deeper level––for that is what we remember in the end. Sonya agreed to the interview, and I'm thrilled over the in-depth responses she provided us. I think you'll leave this post being as delighted as I over what a kind and insightful individual she is. 

Has art always been a part of your life, or was it something you discovered about yourself at a certain point?

  "I grew up knowing two artists that I admired and loved very much. My grandfather worked as a sign painter as a way to support his family, but his two true passions were painting and baking. He was a talented portrait and landscape artist and his blueberry pies were oh so scrumptiously delicious. I recently acquired a wonderful sketch of an old school house that he did in the 1930s." 

A sketch of an old school house from Sonya's grandfather. 

"My dad, also an artist, a bit of a renaissance man, paints, sculpts in clay and wood and loves to write. During my teenage years, the times spent with my dad, he almost always had a 35mm camera in hand and took photos everywhere we went.  When we would be out sharing a meal or on picnic, he often sketched or jotted words down on a napkin or small scrap of paper so as not to forget the picture or words floating in his head. 38 years later, we talk art and take turns drawing or sketching out our random ideas on pastry covered napkins."

"Around the age of sixteen, I had decided that I would live the life an artist." 

(How incredible is that!?! To know ones self so well at such a young age!)

What is a typical day for you?

"I am definitely an early morning person. I like to get up between 5:00 and 5:30, have a cup of coffee or tea and head out back to my studio.  I will quietly sit for 20 or so minutes sipping my hot drink as I look at the canvases in front of me, contemplating the day ahead.  Once I have loosely mapped out my work day, I head back to the house and get my kiddo ready for school. I am usually back in the studio around 8:30 and ready to put some paint on some canvases. I paint up until 2:20 and rush to pick up my sweet boy from school @ 2:30. My work day is finished." 

Where do you feel most inspired to paint and when?

"I feel most inspired to paint early mornings when it is still and quiet.  I have a 22' by 20' studio with a wonderful barn door that opens up and lets in lots of warm sunlight.  My studio sits about 40 feet from my lil house, sweet!"

Where do you draw the most inspiration from?

"Honestly, I find my inspiration from so many different sources, in nature, photographs, books I have read, or a conversation I might have with a friend. On occasion my son will paint in the studio with me and he is so much fun to watch. He paints with no inhibitions and sings and hums with each brush stroke.  He seems to know exactly were each stroke of color is meant to be placed. Awe-inspiring."

What is your process?

"I usually start off each morning with warm up sketches to get ideas flowing. 
Once I have a general idea or direction, I will begin adding paint to a canvas. 
I paint on 3 to 4 canvases at a time, layering and adding color to each canvas. 
I will sometimes scrape into my paint with the end of a brush or pencil to add texture and interest.
Each painting evolves and changes over time, depending on my color palette, idea and mood.
I paint with acrylics and oil sticks on canvas and paper."

Your background has brought you from Alaska to Dallas, what prompted you to traverse from there to here?

"My dad was in the Navy. I was born in Alaska, but was only there for a few years. We made a short stop in California and ended up in Texas. I have plans to revisit Alaska this summer with my son. We are both so excited!"

If you could meet any artist living or deceased, who would it be?

Frida Kahlo.  Her paintings are so rich with color and passion. She reveals everything without a worry of criticism or judgement.   

"I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration." -Frida Kahlo  

Isn't she spectacular? And down to earth. I love her body of work––especially this series which is a departure from the soft, ethereal aesthetic I fell in love with. The way she pits both the soft and whispery against the simplicity of positive and negative space on the canvas showcases the breadth of her talent seamlessly. I love all of her work, but really enjoyed seeing this the rawness of the black and white pieces in stark contrast her other works.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know her as much as I. If you're ever in the New Orleans area, stop by Source Nola to see her work in person. The gals there are incredibly warm and you'll just adore the shop. 

 To see Sonya's website, go here.





E. Lee said...

Really beautiful works. I will have to go and take a peek at Source!

quintessence said...

Beautiful work and wonderful informative interview. Love both the pastel and b/w pieces. Always great to hear about the artist behind the vision.

Jane K. Schott said...

I had your post from this artist saved. Her work really touched me and I am so glad you pursued more info and did the interview.

I need to keep these on file and find a client who I can inspire to live with a piece of her work. I look at them and instantly am envisioning fabric and paint colors for a room...really nice.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by the blog! Stay tuned in for Friday as we announce the winner of the Lowe's giveaway!

All The Trappings said...

E. Lee- They are GORGEOUS in person! Take some time and stop in Source. Worth it!

Quintessence- Glad you enjoyed it! I think we'll be seeing more of her around.

Jane- That is SO sweet. So touching! I hope that Sonya reads your comment, I'm sure she would be so thankful!


Kelle Dame said...

I really enjoyed this post! Thank you for sharing more about Sonya. Knowing more about the artist and their history makes these paintings even more beautiful!! I am really drawn to a few of her pieces and would love to have them in my home!! I gotta make that happen someday!! If it weren't for your blog I may never have discovered her beautiful works :)
Have a fabulous week!