Dreamy, colorful flower bouquets float on the walls in the world of local artist Elaine Stephenson. Her aesthetic is beautiful, bright, and positive. Many of her recent works feature floral arrangements that have been painted onto layers of glass and suspended within a frame, lending them an ephemeral vibe. “This is fun and interesting to me because while I’m still painting, I’m using different materials and able to create more depth than I can with a mural on one flat surface,” said Stephenson.
In addition to these glass pieces, Stephenson is also a muralist, and her wall art is typically completed per the specs set forth by her clients. As a result, she mostly uses her fine art as an outlet for her creativity and passions. “I am building up my fine art practice as my space to create whatever I want and explore.”
Stephenson was heavily influenced by growing up with her grandmother, who was also an artist and painter. Some of her fondest childhood memories were the hours she spent creating in her grandmother’s craft room. Though she loved art since she was a child and took classes throughout high school, she didn’t really get serious about being an artist until recent years. Instead, she decided to pursue an art-adjacent career in graphic design, which she thought would be a more stable career.
“I never really dreamed about becoming an artist, except when I was really little and before society sent the message of the starving artist stereotype,” said Stephenson.
Stephenson found work as a graphic designer until a year ago when she set out to run her own business as a full-time artist and muralist. Her background in design has proven itself to be central to her success as an artist and muralist. She often uses her typography skills to incorporate words and sayings that affirm her uplifting messagery.
“I want my work to be something that people enjoy and brings happiness to their day. So I like to use bright, happy colors,” explained Stephenson. “I also love lettering which helps me share specific literal words in my work – again always with a positive message.”
Last year, in the midst of the lingering pandemic, Stephenson decided she wanted to build more community for herself in the local art scene. That’s when she founded ATL Art Pals, a monthly meetup for womxn artists. They gather at coffee shops, breweries, and art events to socialize and support each other. Citing the persistent imbalance between men and women in places of power in the art world, she hopes that ATL Art Pals can make a difference for female artists and build a sense of community.
Stephenson recently wrapped her first solo art show at Empire Arts Gallery back in June, and is now gearing up to participate in this week’s OuterSpace Project events. On July 21st, she will be making art live at Drink And Doodle, and she will also have several new pieces on display at ABV for the ‘Explorations’ show on July 22nd. Learn more about Elaine and her work here.
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