Wake Up to Find Out That You are the Eyes of the World
By Derrick White
“I don’t do that much talking these days, these days. These days I seem to think a lot, about the things that I forgot to do, and all the times I had the chance to,” lyrics by American singer, songwriter, and musician Jackson Browne. These days, I keep repeating those words ‘these days.’ These days, I believe it is undemanding to be pessimistic. I would encourage you not to give into fear, but instead hang on to optimism, unity, and hope. These days, I believe it is a challenging time to be a visual artist, with even greater challenges ahead, but I also trust it is one of the most important times to be an artist. I spend a lot of time in my day job working with predominantly young people (twenty-somethings). People, who are vivacious, intelligent, engaged, involved, and invested in the future of our world, and it is these dealings keeping my cynicism at bay, these days. The young movers and shakers in our fine region (visual artists, craft brewers, vinyl record stores, musicians, local theaters, galleries, food trucks, and locally owned restaurants) that we have thriving in our East Texas area that give me hope and show unity and optimism.
Local artist Adrienne Stein is an incredible painter creating visually stunning and complex, layered compositions that captivate and intrigue viewers. Her work is dynamic, energetic, and filled with ambiguous organic shapes at once fixed, familiar, and ephemeral. Stein earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree focusing on painting from the University of Texas at Tyler. “I began selling my work a little over 10 years ago, long before a degree in art had ever even crossed my mind. I continued to sell work as I advanced towards my economics degree until I eventually changed my major to art. I found myself missing the majority of my last year in economics because I was in my room painting. I finally switched my major and have not regretted it,” states the artist.
In broad style, Adrienne’s work is similar to abstract expressionism (an uncertain, sometimes apprehensive, art movement of post-World War II American painting). The majority of Stein’s work is large scale oil paintings, although some of her preliminary studies include smaller works and works on paper.
“I find the larger the pieces, the easier they come,” admits Adrienne. She adds, “As far as material, I am obsessed with oil paint. I enjoy the flexibility and versatility of oil paint and the ability for the paint to age and cure. I think oil paintings grow stronger and deeper over time while maintaining texture, so I am hard pressed to find another material that can give me all of these characteristics.”
Like most artists, Adrienne has been creating for as long as she can remember. She recalls, “I had a blind uncle who I was close to when I was young; he was a talented artist before he lost his sight. When I was 10, he bought me all these painting supplies and asked me to make him something. His strong encouragement sticks with me. Perhaps it had to do with his being blind and still emboldening an art form he could no longer visually experience, but it stuck with me, and I have been doing it ever since.”
Adrienne enjoys the unity art brings and the strong, steady connection to others. Sincere artwork is easy to spot. One can decipher when an artist has invested something, worked something out, or had to grind through something in the work itself.
“It is paintings I am making, but at some point it is actually so much more. It is giving away a feeling, an emotion, a memory; some little something struck me to the point I felt it necessary to show what it looked like, and then giving it to someone so they can take what they need from it. It is tapping into the one note connecting us to each other. It is hard to put into words, but connections we all have to each other and to the world we live in is definitely the most important thing painting has brought to my life,” the artist said.
What does she find frustrating about art making? “It is solitary in every sense of the word,” laughs Adrienne. “Creating artwork requires a level of solitude, to isolate your thoughts and still everything, to sit down and make work. Then after the work is made, to sell the work is sometimes quite isolating. I swear I am the only one on earth sometimes who believes I can do this as a profession. It requires the ability to constantly take critique and people telling you it is a waste of time and unrealistic. I have to be the one telling myself I can do it. I have to be patient, and I have to keep making work. The solitude is an artist’s best friend and biggest foe. To know it is all up to me is a heavy burden I do not have the luxury of shaking off,” confesses Stein.
Adrienne is influenced and inspired by Vincent van Gogh, Dutch Post-Impressionist painter famous for his manic brushwork and mental instability. She enjoys his peasant paintings, orchards, still-life, and sailboats, and his goal of making every brush stroke deliberate. She also responds to Edgar Degas, French Impressionist artist famous for capturing the subject of dance. “The way Degas captured movement is still something I study on a regular basis. His ability to set you in the room with him – I love it,” says Adrienne.
Experience Adrienne’s work, and you will love it. She is the type of artist and person giving me hope, showing unity, and bringing out optimism. I enjoy waking up to find out she, and others like her, are the eyes of this world.
Adrienne Stein is currently showing artwork at Susan Robinson Jewelry in Tyler and at Sundown at Granada in Dallas. For more info including upcoming shows and events find her on Facebook at facebook.com/itsastine.