Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oklahoma Artists: Finding Inspiration & Challenges in Their own Backyards

If I have learned anything from my internship with the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition this fall, it’s that Oklahoma has a wide range of artists whose artistic merits make them comparable to more recognizable names in the art world. The question I kept asking myself, however, is why did these artists choose to live in Oklahoma, where art is generally celebrated on a regional rather than international level? I asked several Oklahoma artists to discuss with me the joys and the difficulties of being an artist based in Oklahoma. The questions were simple but the answers were a powerful testament to the inspirational nature of the Sooner State. (Part 1 of 5)

Annalisa Campbell, a mixed media artist hailing from Piedmont, said that her work simply celebrates the small joys of life. She hopes that the viewer will connect with her sense of wonder at the blessings of life and said, while her work has no central character or image, she is continually expressing, “moments, chance encounters and thoughts that bring me joy or cause me to pause and be thankful of life.” When asked what inspires her in general, Campbell said “Humanity. Music. Relationships. Fresh Air. The Changing and Charged Colors of Nature. Conversation. Knowing that I am called to express myself through art materials.”

Expanding on this idea, Annalisa stated that as an Oklahoma artist she is inspired by our famed sunsets and the expansive sky that seems to open up to all artistic possibilities and colors. She goes on to assert that Oklahoma has a “strong, accepting and encouraging arts community,” that fosters her inspiration. Campbell said that the primary challenge of an Oklahoma artist is, “getting the Oklahoma public to really appreciate Oklahoma artists. Getting them to shop their neighborhood instead of traveling out of state to look at, purchase and acknowledge the arts.” Campbell stressed that Oklahoma is full of great artists and ends her interview with one final thought: “Hey Oklahoma, Buy Local!”

By Katie Seefeldt, OVAC intern

No comments: