The abstract paintings by Charlotte-based artist Christina Cottingham easily capture the eye of the viewer through vibrant colors, texture, intriguing composition, and depth. You can’t help but pause for a moment to allow the story to unfold. Each work of art is an output of creative intention by Christina who draws inspiration from her domestic and international travels, motherhood, and experiences shaped by an artistic pedigree and formal art study. A Carolina girl by birthright, growing up in Asheville, NC, Christina found beauty in her surroundings, from the mountains to vacations on the South Carolina coast. The landscape, colors, and memories undoubtedly influencing both her early and most recent works.
Noteworthy sat down at home with Christina to chat more about what inspires her and a show she is participating in later this summer in Charlotte. We walked through her home and selected some of her more recents paintings to reflect on, a collection from the past year. It was interesting to see how the color palettes and energy has evolved. I also enjoyed seeing some of Christina's earlier work around her house, including striking photographs from her days behind the lens.
We traveled through time briefly, as Christina reminisced about her time abroad, art classes in NYC with her mother, and the museums and galleries she made sure to experience as part of her travels. Today Christina is focused on a new body of work, in preparation for an upcoming show in which she will showcase six to eight large scale abstract paintings. She is having fun with bold colors and from the preview she has shared, you can feel (and see) the energy coming from the canvas. I can't wait to see what Christina does next, she is one to watch.
Noteworthy: Tell us a little about your background. How did you get started in painting?
Christina: I'm from Asheville, NC, and my mom is a professional artist. So, since I can remember I have been tracing, sketching, photographing, and painting with my mom, sisters, and friends. I received a BFA in studio art and photography at the University of North Carolina, but I shifted my focus back to painting shortly thereafter, painting small abstracts for clients when I sold real estate. Now with both of my kids in school, I have had more opportunities to show and sell my paintings, and my hobby has became a business.
Noteworthy: What inspires your work? Influences?
Christina: I have always been drawn to textiles and florals, so I do a lot of browsing through boutiques for inspiration. I also find that working on creative projects, like collages with my 3 and 5 year olds inspires me to think out of the box. Like abstract painting, their creativity is raw and playful. When I am painting, I start with images and colors that inspire the vibe I'm hoping to accomplish in a painting and then mix and layer from there until it evolves into a finished work.
Noteworthy: As an artist, how do you stay fresh creatively speaking?
Christina: I stay fresh by experimenting with new techniques and color schemes, and I try to continue to challenge myself with new goals. I also think it's important to have lots of exposure to the arts, culture, travel, and current events in order to stay creative and relevant.
Noteworthy: Tell us about the upcoming show you are a part of at Shain Gallery in Charlotte, NC later this summer.
Christina: I'm really excited about the "2016 Abstract Invitational" at Shain Gallery. I will be one of nine featured abstract artists. The opening reception will be on August 12, 2016 from 6-8pm. There will be an opportunity to see lots of beautiful current abstract work and to meet the artists. I will have 6-8 large abstract pieces, and the collection is off to a great start. I'm excited to share it!
Preview of Christina's new work for the upcoming Abstract Invitational at Shain Gallery (Charlotte, NC)
Christina Brown Cottingham is a contemporary acrylic abstract artist. She paints intuitively with a pallet knife, using quick strokes to create strong movement, interest, and happy accidents. She loves to experiment with color, composition, and elements of nature, fashion, and florals appear in her paintings. Christina loves adventures and learning. She has studied the arts in Asheville, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, San Francisco, New York, Italy, and Japan. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, which often leads to long discussions about a controversial Wall Street Journal article, a progressive announcement from Pope Frances, the latest reinvention of a DVF collection, or an inspired @therow Instagram post. Christina lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband Daniel, daughter Nora Jane, and son Joseph. She always has a stash of semi-sweet chocolate chips hidden in a kitchen drawer. Christina enjoys giving back to the community by donating artwork to local fundraisers and being involved with the Mint Museum Auxiliary and Arts for Life.
Images by Ariana Clare, www.arianaclare.com. Preview images shot on iPhone.