Monthly Archives: September 2015


Sep 30, 15


Name: Craig Hawkins

Hometown: Laurinburg, NC (Born) Valdosta, GA (since 1998)


Best restaurant: Bleu Pub – Get the Braveheart burger and sweet potato fries with spicy peanut sauce and Steele Magnolias – Get the fried green tomato sandwich with truffle parmesan fries.

Best place to travel:  I spent three months in England years ago and loved Newcastle, York, and London.


Favorite Drink:  I’m not very well versed with cocktails. I suppose I’m most familiar with a Margarita or a Bloody Mary. Given a choice I usually opt for a simple sweet tea.


Favorite item to cook: Apple + Peanut butter + Raisin “sandwich”

Core 1 apple and cut it into circular slices.  Top with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a sprinkle of raisins.  Add a second apple slice and enjoy!

Collectable Item: I want to say “Personal revelations that I try to publicly share as a drawing or a painting” because it points back to my artwork and the reason I create, but I have to admit I am a bit of a Pixar nerd and Pixar publishes a series of books titled “The Art of (insert Pixar movie title here)”. I have several of these and love to look at the concept art and storyboards behind such wonderful movies.


Best Read:  This is always a tough question to answer. I don’t have just one. I have a running list, however, I always imagine I have a list that is longer than I can recall.

Current list:
The Gospel of John by John the Apostle
Recapture the Wonder by Ravi Zacharias
Refractions by Makoto Fujimura
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Love Does by Bob Goff
You are Mine by Max Lucado

Who is the most influential person in your artistic career? It’s hard to narrow it down.  Greatest teachers are artist Harry Ally and artist Margaret Morrison.  Most influential artists are Jim Dine, Mark Rothko, Makoto Fujimura, and Alex Kanevsky.

Studio Location:  It’s a mix of studios and my office at Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA.



Object or thing people ask about when they visit your studio:  Either a bronze sculpture I made years ago of a fetus chained to the inside of a cast apple representing mankind having been born into sin or my drawing board that students keep thinking is a finished work of art.

Bronze Sculpture

Favorite Quote : “Art has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”  – C. S. Lewis from The Four Loves

Where do you find inspiration? Sermons, books, podcasts, good conversation, and good art. Scripture, conversations with God, my wife, my kids, good art, and my job as an assistant professor of art.


What influences your work?  Our world views hold great power over the way we think and behave and differing world views are going to exist in a pluralistic society like the one we live in today. To paraphrase a quote by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias, he states that “When you turn on the radio and listen to a… song…you can be sure it is a lifestyle and a worldview that is coming through the airwaves there.” Art illustrates the popular philosophies of our culture so the content of art can be very powerful. Even if the artist tries to avoid it nature abhors a vacuum and people tend to look for purpose and meaning, it’s part of our design. We are curious creatures. Even toddlers are infamous for constantly asking “why”.


Moment you realized you wanted to be a full time artist:   It became a commitment during my freshman year of college. Up until that point it was something I loved to do and couldn’t see myself not doing but I didn’t know where to go with it. I became a Christian that same year and my walk with Christ is deeply connected to my art making.


Do you ever get creatively stuck? How do you unblock your creativity? Yes, in various ways, sometimes it’s for lack of clear ideas or desires to explore. Other times it’s for lack of proper time to implement my ideas. I’m currently stuck in the latter. In the past prayer, rest, exercise and a plan of action have helped me persevere.


When developing content through questions and research for a series of work it’s important to recognize that our worldview, which is to say the total answers people give to the most important questions in life, will guide the decisions that populate the work. Intent is prior to content. If I believe that we are communal creatures designed for fellowship then that belief will lead to developing work that shows this concept. Work that asks questions like: What is ephemeral? What is eternal? What should be private? What should be public? What do we notice? Are we more than the bodies we possess? and Can we control our desires and emotions? For me this happens as my relationship with God grows. I journal in my sketchbook. Questions that I have and lessons I learn develop the content of my art. As I grow my art grows. My intentional following of Jesus determines what content I entertain and invest my time in at the table of my ideas.


What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist? The UPS guy. I’ve always thought being the guy that delivers the package that people are eagerly expecting would be exciting.


Please add anything else you think is important for readers to learn about you!
I want to travel more and I want to expand my viewership. I’m constantly looking for opportunities that can afford me the chance to travel with my family to see more of this beautiful world. My concepts for new work keep involving participation or collaboration with more and more people. I have ideas that require travel to various old cathedrals around the world, prison visits that I need help with, or surveys and event organization that I can’t implement on my own. I’m eager for any chance to share my vision of the bigger ideas I hope to produce but can’t without someone willing to invest in an artistic partnership with me. In short, I think the old school idea of patronage is very desirable and I have an open position to fill .






Sep 21, 15


Name: Ashton Shaw Despot

Hometown: Born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana.



Favorite Restaurant: I currently live in New Orleans and would recommend Jacques-Imo’s as my favorite local restaurant. The atmosphere is casual and eclectic with delicious southern style cuisine.

Best place to travel: My favorite place I have traveled to is Ireland. I studied for a month at the Burren College of Art and Design and loved every second of it. It was absolutely magical.



Favorite Cocktail: Martini with extra olives.


Collectable Item: I collect pretty coffee table books. I absolutely love pictures and vibrant colors.


What is your favorite item to cook? What is the recipe for it? My favorite thing to cook is spaghetti and meatballs. I have an amazing recipe for real Italian meatballs that’s to die for. I am not sharing my secret recipe though.

Favorite Book: My favorite book is the Harry Potter series. I just love the fantasy and whimsy.


Most influential person in your artistic career: Michael Crespo, a college professor and most talented artist himself was the most influential person in my artistic career. He taught me to not be afraid, push the limits, and always be curious. He was also extremely kind and taught me now to love the process and love the life we live.

Favorite quote: “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart” -Confucius

Studio Location: My studio is located in Uptown New Orleans, 4524 Magazine Street. I have door on Magazine Street that leads to a charming studio upstairs. My favorite part of the studio is the two front windows, which let in natural northern light.

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Object or thing people ask about when they visit your studio : People usually ask about my hanging system when they walk into my studio, or I tell them about it as we are talking because I am so very proud of it. Carl Dautreuil with Dautreuil Framing built this beautiful system for me and it is a total game changer. It is basically a fancy peg board with movable pegs. It helps to make hanging, moving and working so much easier.


At what moment did you realize you wanted to be a full time artist?
I realized I wanted to become a full time artist when I was studying in Ireland. It was the first time I had my own studio space that I could be completely free and messy.


What inspires you? I am inspired by daily by colors, sights and sounds. I am fascinated by the world around me and always look for new compositions or combinations of colors in everyday events. I also inspired my light and how it plays such an important role in nature. I studying tree, clouds and all natural forms.  I find inspiration through pictures, books, magazines, instagram, pinterest, fabrics, beautifully designed interiors, and architectural details! Basically I am always on the look out anything that might catch my eye or spark my interest. I take a ton of pictures and screen shots! Then I used these to create concept boards and organize new ideas.

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What influences your work? My work is influenced by my experiences and situtations I am either currently going through or have been through in the past. You may noticed touches of graphic elements in my work, as I studied graphic design in college and often find my self drawn to simplistic modern forms. I also currently work in Interior Design find that my color choices are often reflections of fabrics or rooms where I find color to be interesting. I love impressionism and try to mimic a modern twist to an impressionistic landscape within my work.

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Do you ever get creatively stuck? How do you unblock your creativity? Oh of course I get creatively stuck. Every artist does. The best way I have found to unblock myself is to pull out some blank canvases and start painting back ground colors and adding washes to pieces. I like to try new things and experiment when I am stuck too. Never take your self too seriously and always have fun. This frees up my mind and gives me a chance to let go. Best just to push through creative blocks. Like life your work will be cyclical, always going through ups and downs but the best way to make it through is just to keep going.


What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist? If I wasn’t an artist I would love to be an architect or an interior designer!! But if we are getting real crazy maybe I would say a vet!




Sep 16, 15

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We had a great turn out for Charlotte local artist Marcy Gregg’s Expressions of Joy show despite the weather.  With over 40 abstract pieces it was beautiful to see the gallery’s first solo show filled with family and friends familiar with Marcy’s story of painting.  If you don’t receive emails about our events please sign up on our website, and make sure you follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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Featured artist Marcy Gregg and gallery owner, Anne Neilson.Marcy Gregg-3690

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Marcy Gregg-3841Featured artist Marcy Gregg with husband Dev, their three children, her mother and her sister.



Please join us Tuesday, September 15th from 11:30AM-1:00PM for a lunch and learn with featured artist Marcy Gregg.  Boxed lunch cost $15 and seating is limited.  Please RSVP to



Up Close and Personal with Marcy Gregg

Sep 1, 15


Name: Marcy Gregg

Hometown: Jasper, Texas, it’s a small town in southeast Texas.

Best Place to Travel To:  My husband and I just returned from seven days in Harbour Island. We were there with very special friends.  Today, I would say, Harbour Island.



Favorite item to cook: I love to cook my Mom’s famous apple pie.  Served hot…it doesn’t last long!


Favorite Book: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.


Who is the most influential person in your artistic career?  I believe that initially I was influenced by my aunt who is an artist. I greatly admire her and her work.  When I returned to painting in the early to mid  2000’s, Andy Braitman played a large role in putting me back in front of the canvas. I was in his Artist-in-Residence program and during this time, he shared his great wisdom with me.

Studio Location:  The Dilworth Artisan Station 118 East Kingston Ave. Charlotte, NC.


Object or thing people ask about when they visit your studio:  People want to know what I do with my palette knife when they see it.



Favorite Bible Scripture: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

At what moment did you realize you wanted to be a full time artist? In 2006 I sold my corporate consulting business and soon after that, began to paint again. Once I got back in the studio and started painting, I knew I couldn’t just “play” with art. I had to do it all the time. The more I painted the more I wanted to paint. I decided to take the jump to go for it.  I have never looked back.


What inspires you? I am really stimulated outside of my studio. I would have to say serving at the Harvest Center.  My husband and I go there each Tuesday morning and serve breakfast and share the gospel.  We go there to give back but we receive so more than we could ever give. You never leave there the same.


Do you ever get creatively stuck and how do you unblock your creativity? Sure I get stuck, sometimes a simple walk will clear my head.  Sometimes I go and take photographs. After I get several good photos, I head back to the computer and edit them.  I often find treasures that are hidden within the images, then I am excited to get back in front of the canvas.


What influences your work?  As an abstract artist, I am totally in awe of the color and shapes that I see all around me.


What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist? If I weren’t an artist, I would be sad.  No, really, I love what I do.


What else would you like us to know?  I majored in Studio Art at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas.