A monthly column that keeps its finger on the pulse of Forsyth’s artists and their inspiring stories
This month’s featured artist, Ollie Singleton, has built a career creating in a plethora of artistic disciplines. Her work spans from visual, decorative, and theatrical arts to clothing design and redesign, even stepping into the world of fiction and non-fiction literature.
OLLIE SINGLETON | ARTIST, AUTHOR, PUBLISHER
How would you describe your work?
I cannot answer this question succinctly because I have done watercolor, acrylic, and oil painting; silk screen printing; mixed-media collage; upcycled/refashioned clothing; and turned reclaimed wood into wood art. I describe the technique I use for many of these: “piecing together.” The basis, even for my abstract paintings, is piecing together various elements to get to a full composition.
What influences your art most?
First and foremost I would say that I am the epitome of “art for art’s sake.” I am a self-taught artist. At my core, probably since I came into the world, has been the drive to create art. To take this even further, I assert in my new book that my creative style comes from a genetic link to my maternal grandfather. I perceived this link when I was salvaging the wood from my late grandfather’s 100-year-old repair shop he built on his farm in Anson County, NC.
I have also been influenced by the plethora of experiences I have had in my very varied life over several decades. I was born in North Carolina and am living here for the third time. But I have lived in several other states: Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Jersey. I have been a public school teacher and administrator, and I have worked many years in the corporate sector. All the while I was immersed in those careers, I was creating art in some form or fashion.
When you get right down to it you might say I have been guided by instinct, feelings, love of beauty, love of literature, love of my family and friends, and love of myself.
How have you evolved, personally, as an artist?
I am always Evolving – present continuous/progressive tense. For as long as I am creating art I will be evolving, especially since I am learning on my own – instinctively and intuitively.
Your new book, A Woman’s Art By Her Grandfather’s Hands is a beautiful legacy.
Yes, thank you! The book is my legacy, but I create art because that is what is at the core of my being. Until a year and a half ago I had never dreamed of telling my art story and putting the art I have created over a lifetime, in book form. Once I realized how much art I had created, I started to think about a book. In the book I start with my third grade art exhibition, and take the reader through my art creation journey that ends with using the wood I reclaimed from my grandfather’s repair shop as the basis for my wood art. All 265-pages of my book have a storyline that follows the beautiful full-color photographs of my art.
What are you working on that excites you right now?
Since finishing my book, which took up a great chunk of my life (I’d do it again!), I continue to create art. Presently I am loving doing abstract oil paintings on canvas. For me it feels like this type of painting is a coalescence of the art I have created over my lifetime. Lately I have been tapping more into local art groups although I have been involved with several of them since I moved back to the area. I upcycled clothing for seven years and had lots of fun, but I have pretty much put it aside. I’m looking forward to gifting some special paintings to a local establishment in memory of my mom. My plan to do a One-Woman-Art Exhibit and sale in the near future is also exciting right now!
What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with fellow artists?
Have an open mind, see the beauty in the strange looking things you encounter, and follow your heart. It wouldn’t hurt to do some self-analysis on a regular basis.
You may also reach her by phone at 336-765-0437.