I love hosting visiting artists for workshops in the studio, and I am especially excited to share my college friend, Augusta Hyland Wilson, with you. As you can tell from her responses, she is super bubbly and sweet and a very talented artist to boot. She will be joining us for one evening in October- Thursday the 22nd- for an awesome painting workshop. Don't miss it (more info on the class here!) and check out a fun Q&A with Augusta below!
1.) TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF—WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
I am a southerner, through and through. I was raised in a creative environment in Mobile, Alabama—birthplace of Hank Aaron, West Indies Salad, and all fourteen of my first cousins. My mother is a graphic designer, and as the oldest of her four children I took after her creative tendencies. Growing up my siblings and I were always involved in her projects, whether it was a photo shoot for a magazine ad or mural for the Junior League fundraiser. In hindsight this ultimately had a huge impact on my career choice—I’ve always known I wanted a creative career that allowed me to spend time with my children.
2.) HOW DID YOU GET INTO PAINTING?
Being the oldest of my family also meant I became fiercely independent—which holds pretty true today. I chose to get my undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia for three reasons: their art school seemed credible, Athens, GA was a good distance from Mobile, AL, and they had a study abroad program that would let me live in Italy for a summer. I knew one person the day I arrived and didn’t even tour the campus until orientation.
The first reason, UGA’s Lamar Dodd School of Art, is how I really got into painting. Painting had always come naturally to me, but I had never taken it seriously. It was pure hobby before college. I played around with different fields of study at Lamar Dodd—graphic design (you’re welcome, Mom), photography. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that my drawing instructor, Jen Bandini (who is an awesome painter in her own right—check our her blog, Escape to New York. So good), pointed out the gestural marks I was making. “You are such a painter”, she told me. At that moment it just clicked. I signed up for my first oil painting class the next quarter and never looked back.
3.) WHERE DO YOU SHOW YOUR WORK?
I show (and sell) most of my work through my website, www.AugustaWilsonStudio.com. I’m still amazed at how fun it is to sell my work online and the response I have received (full disclosure, I manage every inch of my website and I am a complete nerd about it). I also show in several retail/gallery locations across the Southeast: Atelier Gallery in Charleston, SC, Gallery 1930 in Birmingham, AL, Parish in Montgomery, AL, Lyons Share Art in Fairhope, AL, Made Again in Atlanta, GA, Clutter Interiors in Savannah, GA, and online at Chairish.com. My goal this year is to have my work in every major city in the South.
4.) PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR PROCESS.
A series of paintings lives in my head for months. I am constantly working and re-working a concept in my mind, so when I am ready to paint I can just go for it. I work on multiple canvases simultaneously to create paintings that are both complex and aesthetically pleasing. You could say that my process is quite visceral. More often than not, the shear physicality of painting is my driving force. That physicality, that energy, allows me to celebrate what it is to be a painter. I relish in the process, the medium, and therefore create a look that is the perfect way to complete a room, while allowing you to find a new pocket of excitement every time you admire it.
5.) HOW DO YOU DECIDE ON THE COLOR PALETTE YOU WILL USE?
The idea behind all of my work is to balance the conceptual with the commercial (i.e., find a happy medium between work that belongs in MOMA and work that matches your sofa). With that in mind, I look (somewhat obsessively) to the interior design world for direction. I keep market trends in mind when choosing a palette, but mostly I paint what I would like to see in my own home.
6.) DESCRIBE HOW YOU WILL TEACH THE CLASS AT VVG.
I hope to demonstrate how to both think about and execute an abstract painting. I think a lot of new artists are intimidated by abstract. My class will break down that intimidation and teach how to think about positive and negative space, composition and color in an abstract aesthetic. We will play with mark-making and leave room for happy accidents to create a painting that is original and fantastic to every student.
7.) WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOR?
As a kid, my favorite color was green. My mother’s family (the one with the fourteen first cousins) is known for a certain shade of green. We call it the Donaghey green, after their last name. It’s a brighter hunter green. My grandparents had it all over their house, and ultimately most of my family, myself included, gravitates toward it. I’m not sure I have a color that resonates as much with me as Donaghey green, but I’ll never deny a fun shade of hot pink or stripe of cobalt blue.
8.) TALK ABOUT YOUR TRUNK SHOW: WHAT WILL YOU BRING TO IT?
I’ll be bringing a variety of sizes from my Fall Collection, both my storm series and sunset series. There will be lots of small paintings, that make perfect holiday and birthday gifts, or just a little happy for yourself.
9.) WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ARTISTS?
I’ll always love John Singer Sargent and Cecilia Beaux for their love of paint and genius, revolutionary application. The New York School is a constant source of inspiration and awe. As far as contemporary artists, the blog The Jealous Curator is regularly introducing me to new people. I’m currently loving Elizabeth McDonald’s “Tablescapes” series; so smart and beautiful.
10.) WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Artists who are pursuing a creative career inspire me. I’ve been a self-employed artist for a full year now, and like any small business, it is both incredibly challenging and rewarding. There are days when I think how easy it would be just to pack it all in and get a 9-5 job. Those are the days when I get a call from a fellow artist, or stumble upon a new artist on The Jealous Curator. Those are the days I’m reminded that a creative life takes bravery and risk.
After all, how boring would this life be if we were all accountants?
***Tell us where you would place your painting from this workshop in the comment section below... one lucky winner will get a free art class!***