Today we get to interview one of our FAVORITE Art Crushes… Ms. Sharon Dowell!! From her paintings to her public art, both seeming to spring from her vibrant red locks and vivacious personality, Sharon exudes life in what she makes and who she is. Truly a creative soul who cares about a community, Sharon chose Charlotte as her home after living in Texas and New York City and fell in love with the people and places here. And you see it reflected in her oeuvre where she creates beauty from things that are commonly unappealing. In her work scaffolding, construction, crumbling old buildings are transformed into bright layers of mazes, capturing the real energy of a place.
Some might also say that Sharon is a kind of spokes-model for the Visual Arts in Charlotte, having been featured on the cover of Charlotte Magazine in 2011, then being recognized in their 2012 Best of the Best Awards, as Charlotte’s Best Artist. She has also secured several public commissions for the Arts and Science Council, CATS Art-in-Transit, and and has done numerous private commissions as well. You can find her work in galleries outside of NC in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Greenville, SC. Sharon is an artist of all sorts, but also a delightful person who is loved by all. Want to know more about the artist herself? Keep Reading!
HCLT: Describe yourself in three words
SD: Creative, energetic and honest
HCLT: Who or what inspires you artistically?
SD: The overlooked things in life, like tangled power lines and crumbling buildings. The sometimes strange and nonsensical systems we humans create. Artist like Wayne Thiebaud, Kehinde Whiley, Cy Twombly, Henri Matisse, and El Annatsui
HCLT: What do you think is the most valuable art experience in the Carolinas?
SD: Wow, this is a hard one! For me, it is the act of discovering the talented artists that exist within my own backyard and supporting them, whether through collecting their work, attending their art openings, or having meaningful conversations about art and the cultural landscape.
HCLT: When did you realize you were an artist?
SD: At the age of 3 I knew I wanted to be an artist and it has been my dream ever since.
HCLT: Tell us about your current body of work?
SD: I recently began a series of women peering out from behind fruit trees; women who have been imprisoned or murdered because they have made choices about their religion or who they choose to love. The fruit represents the lost potential of these vibrant, sweet women who were cut down too early or held back from a normal life. Their mouths are intentionally covered. I like the idea of their images continuing to live on, being fruitful, and bringing happiness to people.
A second body of work focuses on the history of black populations that have been boxed in. Witnessing slums, protests and poverty in Limón, Costa Rica, I saw a striking similarity to South Central Los Angeles’ history and other cities. This work seems particularly relevant with our current problem of over-militarized police using excessive force against people of color.
HCLT: Where can we see your work?
SD: Several places locally:
-Mural on the Belmont Regional Center
-Buddy Bear sculpture at the Main Public Library
-Murals in Concord, NC walkway off of Union Street.
-Painting in the BLT Steakhouse in the Ritz-Carlton
And… also in my studio on 36th Street and on my website www.sharondowell.com
HCLT: What book is on your nightstand right now?
SD: The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel
HCLT: What three things would you take with you to a deserted island?
SD: Sketchpad and pencils, a tent, and pictures of my family and friends.
HCLT: What is up next?
SD: I have a joint show coming up with Christopher Tomas Campbell at Twenty-Two Gallery in January 2015 and several CATS Art-in-Transit commissions that are about to be implemented between 2015 and 2017!