Sneak a Peek at the Studio of this Wildly Talented Nashville Artist
July 31, 2017
Behind the ScenesOffice TourArt
Alyssa Rosenheck is one of my most favorite people on the planet. She is all talent and sweetness wrapped into one. So when she filled us in on her latest project, "The New Southern", which highlights a fresh twist on traditional Southern style, we were alllll in. Today she is sharing a sneak peek with abstract artist Christina Baker. From cool blue studio to a fun q & a, get cozy with this wildly talented Nashville artist whose work epitomizes "The New Southern" style.
With the help of photographer and The New Southern's creator, Alyssa Rosenheck, we took a peek inside Christina Baker’s rural, country studio (located on the outskirts of Nashville) to get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes to create her serene and playful, and artfully composed, abstract pieces.

Alyssa's travels are taking her from coast to coast and is recognizing a new refreshing play on a on the very traditional southern design style. Baker was selected by Alyssa and will be the subject of one of twelve profiles there, featuring on-the-rise creative entrepreneurs, designers and artist who encapsulate “The New Southern.”
Southern style, once strictly aligned with tradition and formality, is now trending more toward a fresher and more vibrant aesthetic, featuring touchable materials, a toned-down palette, and less of a focus on the precious delicacies of everyday living and more about, well, just comfortable living. Alyssa is a strong advocate for Christina Baker and her work as it also epitomizes “The New Southern".
Christina Baker has been an artist all her life. “My earliest memory is of my mom buying paper dolls, their clothes would bore me so I’d make my own outfits out of her shopping catalogs,” she explains. While clearly the interest was always there, it was her grandmother, a talented watercolor artist, that would nurture the talent and train her eye. In Baker’s early 20s she started painting as a profession, and it was a steady rise from there. By her 30s her work had evolved into more of the fine art genre, and now, she says, “there’s never enough time. If I could wish for anything it would be to have an extra six hours a day that I can mentally focus on my work. I have too many ideas and not enough time to execute them.”
AR: How do you set the mood in your studio?

CB: When I was doing landscapes, I was OK with having conversations, but when it comes to abstract I need to be alone. Oddly, I like to have a TV series on in the background, but it must be one I have already watched and my back is to the TV. It’s almost like I cannot paint without it.
AR: What’s your thought process when you’re starting a new piece?

CB: I’d say the way the colors are shaping, the brush strokes, the movement, it’s 15% intentional. I have a vision in my head of what I want to do, but it’s blurred. It’s not going to be executed in my head, I’ve learned that, but it’s a foundation for the next move. There’s an equal amount of thought premeditated into the color (which will change as the painting goes) and the composition as I go into a new piece, but that’s about as far as the predictive side of it goes. Everything else after that is dictated by the very next move I make. I’m constantly changing and readjusting, and if something doesn’t work I take it away.
AR: What’s the best piece of business advice you could provide for creative entrepreneurs just starting out?

CB: My biggest one is to always remember that art is subjective. For every person that your work isn’t going to connect with, there are ten who are going to be madly in love with it. There are a lot of artists who don’t think they’re doing the right thing. You cannot force feed your art on someone. It has to be an impulsive, genuine connection. Don’t try to be like everyone else; that diversity is what allows us all to be doing something unique in our work.
AR: How do you handle social media?

CB: Artists are always insecure, we’re our biggest critic. With social media, it’s right in our face. But the negativity doesn’t get under my skin, and it really hasn’t ever before. Art is subjective, and I actually respect their genuine opinion. Those feelings of self-doubt will never go away, but other people injecting it doesn’t matter because I trust my feelings more than theirs. Other people don’t bother me, I bother me. And sure, when its someone I genuinely respect and admire, it may bother me a little and I may take it to heart and use it as constructive criticism. I wonder if they have a point, and sometimes they actually do and I learn something new.
AR: What’s your dream project or client?

CB: I used to have lots of these. I wanted gallery representation, and now I have that (Anne Irwin Fine Art in Atlanta, Bennett Galleries in Nashville, Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento, and Stellers Gallery in Jacksonville, Florida). I’m very lucky to have achieved a lot of what I set out to do. Now, my biggest goal is simply to become a better artist. My work has a thousand miles to go, and the development of that will always be my biggest milestone.
AR: What’s the greatest color combination that ever existed?

CB: Blue and white. These colors always feel fresh and optimistic. I could devote a decade of painting in this combination alone. I’m very much drawn to cool colors, and maybe this is because I love water. I grew up on the ocean in Amelia Island, Florida. Now that I’m in Tennessee, I’ve come to love green. From my studio, I can see the hills, my favorite part is where they meet the horizon. It gets a beautiful shade of dark blue, and I could look at it forever and ever.
AR: To you, what is Southern hospitality?

CB: There is something about seeing a friend or family member looking through the window or waiting at the door excited to greet me that makes me feel warm and welcomed. That genuine enthusiasm to welcome guests is the epitome of Southern hospitality. I noticed very early on that in the South there’s a genuine pride in your home. I assume that’s why hospitality is the way it is in the south, and original art is such a desire in their homes. Southern people have a natural gift for making people feel comfortable in their home.
AR: What’s your life motto?

CB: Always continue to learn and grow. I apply this not only personally, but professionally as well. Just when I think I’m starting to figure it all out, a happy accident or an unfortunate mishap reminds me that I still have a lot to learn.
AR: Where do you go to get inspired?

CB: My husband and I take a trip to the Smoky Mountains every spring. One of our favorite things to do is to find a moderate to difficult hiking trail that leads to a waterfall. The rocky pathways, light filtering through the trees, glistening silver blue streams, and breathtaking horizons strongly influence and inspire my work.
AR: What’s the piece of advice you’ve gotten that made all the difference?

CB: Don’t sit around and wait for something to land in your lap. Get up and make it happen.
AR: What’s something we probably don’t know about you?

CB: I’ve always wanted to raise sheep. I adore everything about them and have since I was a little girl. I can’t tell you why. I just do!
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