“Experience will be more valuable than anything learned in the classroom.”
— Deborah Stanley
Deborah Stanley has been a juried member of the Louisville Artisans Guild (LAG) since 2011 and a member of the Louisville Visual Art (LVA) since 2014 and have been a participatant in the Art[squared] project since its inception. Her work has been displayed and featured in various art galleries and exhibitions in the Louisville area such as LAG 2016 Holiday Showcase and 2016 Annual Exhibit; Kaviar Forge and Gallery (Touched with Fire, 2016 and The Figure Revealed, 2014, juried participant); Gallery 104 in La Grange, KY (the 2014 Red Show, juried participant), 2013 Crafts of Kentucky Exhibition, (juried participant), JCC Patio Gallery Presents Louisville Artisans Guild, 2013, the 2012 and 2013 Brown-Foreman Annual Pride Fair, The KORE Gallery (former partner), 2012 September Art Fair Mellwood Art Center, juried participant, Louisville Artisans Guild Annual Art Exhibit, and The Women's Club of Louisville (2012 Annual No-Jury Art Show).
When did you first think you would be an artist?
Who or what inspires you now?
Beautiful and colorful visual imagery in nature or photo images
Your work is unique, and blurs many lines. How did you come to work with polymer clay?
I was working on an art project with my young son and needed something different and colorful that would be easy enough for a child to make into simple shapes. However, I found an immediate connection and affinity for the feel of the clay and the endless possibilities I saw when the colors are blended.
You describe yourself as an “abstract expressionist,” yet the images also contain representational figures and faces – talk about how you balance the two strains in your work?
I strive to express an emotion or feeling with every piece I create. While many of my creations contain representational figures and faces, my concentration is on communicating emotion or feeling rather than trying to create a technically correct replica of a particular subject. I would say my balance of the two strains is giving just enough technical detail to capture the essence of the subject and let abstract expressionism take over from there.
If you could do anything else but make art, what would it be?
Photography. I have always had a passion for photography and previously owned and operated a photography business specializing in wedding and family photographs.
What frightens you the most?
What challenges you more than anything?
Coloring within the lines.
What is your favorite music to listen to when making art?
Vinyl or CD?
iTunes - Sorry but if I have to choose between the two, it would be CD
What advice would you give a young artist just out of college?
Experience will be more valuable than anything learned in the classroom. Keep working and never feel like you've "arrived". You will always improve if you keep working.
Tell us about an important moment of transition for you as an artist?
For my first several years as an artist, I exclusively created abstract designs, always determined to "let go/let flow" with the clay. A few years ago, I accepted a commission, which required the inclusion of a representational figure. This commission challenged me to find the most creative way to express freedom while meeting the requirement of my client. This was a pivotal moment for me and gave me the outlet to express myself or an idea or feeling in every piece I now create.
How do you feel about local art scene in Louisville? What would you change about it?
I love the art scene in Louisville. As a transplant from the Washington, DC area, I was pleasantly surprised at how art friendly Louisville is. Just walking downtown and admiring the artistic bike racks and generations of "Gallopalooza" horse statues is always entertaining. There are plenty of galleries and venues that are very welcoming for local artists of all levels. I wouldn't change a thing.
Has your style changed or evolved over the years? If so what do you think influenced this?
Yes. As I described above, my style has evolved from strictly abstract, to Abstract Expressionism utilizing representational figures or faces. It was a required element in a new commission, so I had to give it a try and have not looked back!
If you could meet any celebrity who would it be and what would you ask them?
Boy George. I would ask him where his courage comes from to have demanded to live and look his own way since childhood. His love of freedom and honest way of expressing himself has always been an inspiration to me.
Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland
Education: Studied Business Administration and Sociology at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD
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