Color, Spirituality and Making Art in Charleston

Color, Spirituality and Making Art in Charleston

Born and raised in Columbus, GA, I developed a love for art as far back as I can remember. I attended Auburn University and earned a Bachelor's degree in Art, and now live and work as a full-time painter in Charleston, SC. I am a follower of Jesus, and am so thankful to Him for providing a job that I love. 

My paintings consist of mostly figurative and non-objective work. I am forever learning and trying new techniques, mediums and subjects. Inspired by light, movement, surprising color combinations, social interaction, and patterns, I try to collaborate these elements and form abstracted, pixilated compositions.

www.teilduncan.com

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Did you always know you wanted to be an artist? Tell us a little bit about your background. 

I knew I wanted to be an artist as soon as I reached the ninth grade, however, I did not ever consider that it was an actual possibility. I assumed I would have to get another art related job, like an art teacher, art therapist, or something of the sort.

I was always involved in classes outside of school because my mom observed my affinity for markers, paint, pencils, and paper. It wasn't until high school that my art teacher expressed immense confidence in my ability as an artist that it pushed me to hone in the skill as much as I could during my teen years. When it was time to choose a major in college, I chose studio art without hesitation at Auburn University. 

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What inspires your color palette? We love the soft tones you use and are curious about your process. 

In college, I had no problem rendering whatever my subject was through light and shadow, but I noticed that I had zero concept of what it meant to have a harmonious color palette. After that realization, I started to mix colors together with the question in mind "would I wear these colors?" "Would I put these colors together in a room?" It helped me in my efforts to explore color by minimizing my palate altogether to two colors + black and white. From there, I slowly introduced one more color at a time. My figure studies are the best example of that color mixing approach. 

Are you a full-time artist? What are some challenges as well as highlights of doing creative work full time? 

I have been a full-time artist since 2011. At first, it was a challenge to force myself to get to work at a decent hour and avoid procrastination. Also, It has been an ever-present challenge to know when to "turn it off". While working underneath someone, most people can leave work at the office, but I think it's safe to say with any self-employed person that there's always more to be done, therefore it's harder to relax. Even the day after I release a new series, it's only a matter of minutes before my mind starts racing about what to create next. Some highlights: One of my top five feelings on this earth is being able to step back and be proud of something I have created. If that feeling is mutual with my audience, it is sublime! It is also such an exciting job to be able to sit down with my sister/studio manager and talk about the endless plans and collaborations for the future. Being apart creative growth is such a gift! 

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What would you say your artwork is about?

Visually speaking, my artwork is about combining abstraction, Impressionism, and realism all in one. It's about light and shadow, movement, surprising color combinations, patterns, and layers. Conceptually, I am simply trying to create beauty. I want a viewer from any walk of life to see my work and be uplifted by a simple image portrayed with a little bit of magic.  

What is the best advice you received in terms of pursuing your passion, even though it's risky?

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While pursuing this career, my Spiritual life played a large role. I believed that if God would lead me down this path, the doors would be open. If not, I could take the hint and change directions- and I was fine with that option. I also looked to artists that I respected for their feedback. It was important to me to be encouraged by people who thrived in the same field. If I didn't ever receive that affirmation from my artistic peers, I would have pursued something else. I had to be practical about it and consider alternatives because nothing about the "starving artist" concept was appealing to me. 

What do you love to do when you are not painting?

I love to spend time with my husband, read, play tennis, and enjoy the endless delicious food in Charleston! 

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