Chat – In the Studio with Artist Helen Brooks
In this series on The Southern C, readers get to “meet” many of the interesting and creative Southern entrepreneurs we know online through our social network and also in “real life” at The Southern C Summits. These individuals are the CEO’s, founders, creative directors, artists, designers, makers and doers that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity. Take a peek into their day to day life, find out what they are working on, discover their “a-ha” moment and gain insight into what motivates and inspires their work and lives.
The subjects and their niche may vary but many share the paradoxical traits of creative individuals – they daydream, observe, ask big questions, people watch, seek new experiences, view life as an opportunity for self-expression, take risks and bounce back all while following their true passions. We hope you will be inspired as we spotlight the creativity that abounds in our region. According to Einstein, “Creativity is contagious”, and this is one thing we are happy to spread.
Helen Brooks, a mixed media artist and #tscsummit alum, has always had the desire to create, even as a child. Believing that creativity is an integral part of each one of us, Helen is using her gift to create lovely and inspirational pieces in her Columbus, GA, studio, that reflect her faith by thoughtfully integrating Biblical scripture.
Her art journey began when her oldest child was in first grade and no one signed up for the class art project for a school auction. Serendipity stepped in with this job falling on her shoulders thus igniting Helen’s creative spark. Long after the classroom project was done, she continued to paint and found this to be just the creative outlet that had been inside her heart since her childhood.
Describe your brand/business:
I am a mixed media artist who desires to share the love and joy of Christ through my art. All of my paintings are inspired by scripture. Like the stones that the Israelites were called to collect from the Jordan river bed so that future generations would know what God did when he took their ancestors to the promised land, I think of each painting as a small stone of remembrance in my walk with God. I currently sell original paintings, prints, and notecards and am in the process of developing other products with the many images I have painted over the years.
What’s a typical day in your life or how you handle the work/life balance:
I make breakfast, drink coffee, sort laundry, spend some time in scripture, exercise, take forgotten PE clothes to school, write whatever comes to mind that morning, push down the urge to paint until I finish things needed doing around the house, decide to paint for an hour, look down and realize its actually been three hours and half my errands aren’t quite finished , so I put them on the list for the next day, and then go pick up the kids from the school, carpool to tennis and soccer, cook dinner, put kids to bed, scratch backs, do my Instagram post for the day, and hang out with my husband.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was young I wanted to be a professional tennis player because I thought Christ Evert hung the moon. Obviously, God had different plans.
How has your background influenced your work?
My Grandfather was an avid supporter of the arts in our community and my mother and aunt are both artists so I suppose they rubbed off on me a bit. My mother recognized the artist in me at a pretty early age but it wasn’t until my twenties that I decided to agree with her. I am so thankful she encouraged me to take art classes beyond college and kept encouraging me to press on even in my early days as a young mother. I am thankful to have had painting as an outlet in my parenting years.
Also, my father and mother have a deep love for nature, so we spent most of our childhood outdoors. My mother’s family had a great love for sport, and quail hunted often. My father spent countless hours plowing fields, tending bee hives, and planting water gardens. I still draw inspiration from those memories today.
Was there an a-ha moment that made you take the leap?
I am not sure I have really leapt yet, to be honest. I am cautiously moving forward, weighing the costs and benefits of taking my art public.
Best business advice you have ever received:
“First and foremost you are a wife and mother.”
The rare day – what do you do to unwind?
Motherhood is my full time job so I paint and write to unwind.
Favorite biz tool and/or app:
My paintbrush and Instagram
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from scripture, nature, things my children say, random phrases found in magazines, articles in the newspaper, food, and the list could go on and on. Most of my inspiration though comes through simple things in everyday life.
Movie: Forest Gump
Book: the Bible
Quote: “Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art” Leonardo Da Vinci
Drink: Whole milk latte with honey
Indulgence– Cookies and cream milkshake
Whitney Wise Long, co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit, loves to connect with Southern entrepreneurs and learn more about their creative endeavors.
This series – “In the Studio With” – offers her the perfect opportunity to do so!
For more of Whitney’s Southern Creatives Q&A’s click the names below: