Artist Spotlight: Christie Younger
Christie Younger is back with an exclusive release of her Lilies series. We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Christie about this series as well as her artwork and process as a whole.
1. Floral still lifes are something you are most known for, what sparked you to create a lily series?
Actually the first two paintings I ever painted as an adult who was just starting to experiment with all of this were water lilies. I hate to say this out loud because it sounds so cliche, but I really was inspired by Monet. My sister had a Monet print in her room growing up and I've always been in love. The water lilies are a way for me to play with color and light in a fun whimsical way with slight representation. I chose to keep pursuing this subject also because of the symbolism that took shape in my mind. Water lilies have different symbolic meanings among different cultures. They can symbolize rebirth and renewal, purity, fertility, and hope, to name a few. To me, they take on their own meaning. They represent beauty that grows out of hardship. The lilies are born from dark, cold, muddy, mucky, disgusting pond floors full of debris and detritus. They push through all of that to emerge into the sunlight. Not only do they exist, they inspire. Of course I'm personifying them to represent us. I truly believe that hardship is what makes us deep and complicated creatures. Without it, what are we? We are defined by the moments in our life that cause difficulties and it's how we arise from the dirt that makes us shine and inspire others. This is what the Lilies and Lotuses collection means to me.
2. Like most successful artists, the value of your art continually increases, can you speak to what helps drive this?
This is one of the hardest questions to answer!! And one of the hardest decisions artists have to make. How to price art is a heavily debated topic. How do you assign value to something that is so incredibly subjective in nature? Many artists out price themselves from the get go without much substance behind their decision and it is hard for people to react positively to that. For me, I've always relied on the law of supply and demand as well as working my butt off to make art that is truly authentic and true to myself. I started out low and have gradually increased my prices as demand increases. As to why the demand continues to increase is up for debate. However I believe it is due to the quality of my work. I think it is unique and one of a kind which has gained the attention of many and resonates strongly with my clients and collectors. I have also been very fortunate to work with the right people in this industry, galleries that truly care about art and matching clients with the right pieces. I've had the privilege of many shows and exhibits at my brick and mortar galleries which leads to more exposure, thus an increase in demand and price. My large social media following and other media outlets, has allowed people from all over the United States and world to be exposed to my work. Some examples are various articles and features in publications such as Artists and Illustrators Magazine in the UK, Southern Living, Raleigh Magazine, Our State Magazine, etc. Another really cool opportunity was being part of HGTV's Love It or List it a few years ago where my art was featured in many episodes and designs. One of my favorite exhibits thus far and in progress right now, is having my art displayed all over the Historic Mills House Hotel in Charleston. Commissions are also something I've done in the past however my waitlist has increased from a 6 month wait to a year long wait now and quite possibly longer. All of those factors contribute to deciding prices. There is only one rule when pricing art... you can always go up but you can never go back down. Art should be an investment and I definitely treat mine as such.
3. You were born and raised in North Carolina, is this beautiful landscape the inspiration for most of your work?
4. When you put that first bit of paint on the canvas do you know what you want the finished piece to look like? Or does the palette knife have a mind of its own?
Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Most of the time I have an idea but, yes, the paintings usually take on their own existence apart from my original intentions. I think the coolest part of working through a painting is finding the balance between all the factors at play. For me, my paintings start out as just a thought in my mind. Then it becomes a transfer of energy in which the thought is transformed into your hands and then into the brush or palette knife and into the paint and onto the canvas. There are all sorts of things that can happen along the way. It's a constant push and pull. I love figuring it out, working through problems, and discovering new things as I paint. Then all of the energy that went into the finished painting is stored until someone views it and absorbs its unending supply. New emotions are formed and at that point, the painting truly takes on whatever meaning is assigned to it from the viewer, giving it a life of its own.
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