Paloma Contreras: Did you always know that you would be a professional artist?
Lindsay Cowles: I have always been an artist at heart. From my earliest memories, I was always creating—whether it was drawing, painting, making pottery, building things. If it was art related and creative, I was into it. My parents enrolled me in art classes at a local college on the weekend when I was very young and I took every art class I could up until I graduated from high school. But, never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would grow up to be a professional artist. Despite my creative inclinations, I was brought up thinking that I should be a lawyer, doctor, teacher, etc.–something safe and stable.
After going to school at the University of Virginia, I moved to New York and immediately broke the mold. I began working in the fashion industry. I was on the sales side of the business—working with and selling to major department stores and specialty stores in North America. It was there that I learned the fundamentals of business & marketing. Fashion also fueled my creative soul. The fabrics, colors, textures and endless possibilities of creating “looks” were inspiring. It wasn’t until I started working for Alberta Ferretti, an Italian designer who is very involved in the art world, that I learned that art could be made into beautiful fabric and that fashion is art itself.
When I moved from New York to Los Angeles, I tapped into creating art again. During a trip home to Richmond from LA, my sister, an art major at Furman University at the time, was working on her senior art project. She was experimenting with different paints and mediums on canvas. I went to her studio to spend time with her and I immediately felt a gravitational pull towards the canvas. It was from that moment on that I realized what was missing in my life. Art. And more specifically—painting. From that day on, I haven’t stopped painting. It is my passion, my heart and my soul.
During my days in LA, I painted smaller paintings. I didn’t have a ton of space to spread out, so I painted in my kitchen. I worked on my painting at night after work and on the weekends. Business slowly grew to the point that I decided to quit my job and devote myself full time to my art. So, I moved back to my hometown of Richmond, VA and continue to paint here full time.
PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?
LC: Inspiration comes from everything around me—from places that I have been, to things that I see on a daily basis. I am inspired by art, interior design and architecture—specifically color, texture, shape and form. I try to immerse myself in everything that I possibly can to stimulate my creativity. I constantly read magazines, go to museums, attend lectures, research art & design online and travel to different places. Learning is constant and inspiring.
PC: What do you love most about abstract art? How can people feel more comfortable living with vibrant, abstract art? Do you feel it works in most environments?
LC: The beauty of abstract art is that it can hang anywhere. It works in any environment—from traditional, to transitional, to contemporary. You name it, it works! My clients have a range of styles and tastes—bold, abstract paintings work perfectly in all of their spaces.
One piece of advice when choosing art is—don’t be afraid of size. Large paintings create a statement and impact in a room. I went to hear Amanda Nisbet speak a few weeks ago and this is one thing that she preaches. Her large-scale installations—from light fixtures to art installations—are breathtaking. She creates impact with scale. Now, of course, you don’t want everything to be large scale, but to choose a couple of key elements in a room.
There are two ways that you can choose to install abstract art in your space:
1. Subtle & Soft- where the colors of the painting are similar to the colors in the room. This is serene and peaceful. The texture, dimension and size of the painting are what makes the piece stand out.
2. Bright & Bold- where you choose colors that are complimentary to the colors of the room. This creates a bright, bold pop! The art is complimentary to the colors of the room and can make a statement both in color and size.
Figure out what style you are most comfortable and make sure that you love the piece of art that you are purchasing. Whenever I meet with clients in their homes, I always bring more than what they request to see, because you never know what might end up working best. It could be something that is completely off of your radar when looking at art online, but when you see it in the space, it could be the perfect piece.
PC: Who are your favorite artists? Have they influenced your work in any way?
LC: I have quite a few—de Kooning, Frankenthaler, Motherwell, Richter, Klein—among many others.
I had the pleasure of going to Art Basel to walk the fairs this past December. It was amazing that from across the room, without knowing whom the artist was, that I was drawn to works by all of the above artists. They stimulate a gut reaction within me. The colors, movement, shapes, and brilliance of their works evoke a strong emotional response. To me, their paintings work in any environment. They create a feeling and emotion in a room. They draw me in without hesitation.
That is my goal with my art–to evoke emotion, stimulate thinking and creativity, promote happiness and inspire. The brilliance of these artists constantly pushes me further in my work, to evolve and teach myself something new every day.
PC: What can we look forward to next from Lindsay Cowles Fine Art?
LC: Over the past year and a half, I have launched a collection of prints on stretched canvas, wallpaper and fabric- all created from sections of my paintings. Many of them can be viewed on http://lindsaycowlesfineart.bigcartel.com. What I love about creating these other forms of art is that it makes my art accessible to everyone. I am always coming up with new prints, new patterns and new colors. And I am happy to work on custom originals, prints, wallpapers and fabrics to fit my client’s needs.
I love thinking outside of the box. Painting doesn’t have to be just a painting. Many different things can be created from it. So, the sky is the limit.
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (@lindsaycowlesfineart) and/or my blog to see what I’m working on next. For more information on my work, please email me at email@example.com.