Show Me Your Hands: The Painter
Words by Nicole DeMarco | Photographs by Paige French
In a world where handcraft is often overlooked, we celebrate artists who work with their hands; those who converse with their own mediums, and from their process emerge tactile products that share their story and spirit.
Raven Roxanne Wilson was raised by two artists on the gulf coast of Florida and later attended Auburn University, where she received a bachelor of fine arts with a concentration in painting. Perhaps it was growing up in a zoo (her parents own the legendary Zoo Gallery) or her playful and energetic personality that led her to the arts. After living and working in Atlanta, Raven quit her day job in 2014, moved to Charleston, SC, with her fiancé, and pursued her dream of becoming a full-time artist. Raven’s studio is located in Redux Contemporary Art Center, where she is surrounded by a community of likeminded, creative, and inspiring artists like herself.
Raven’s work is incredibly colorful and whimsical, while her process is completely organic. Each color pops off the canvas with purpose and life. “My work is about intuition and feeling. I start with a mark and respond. I feel my way through the painting,” she says. In one of her most popular series, Nests, Raven uses acrylic, cold-water dyes, oil pastels, watercolor crayons, and charcoal to connect the work and the image. In this way her process is a conversation, but as in any creative medium, inspiration does not always come easy. “It can be difficult to create work that feels exciting and fresh…sometimes my best work comes out of frustration and pushing through and sometimes my best work comes from leaving the studio early and starting fresh the next day,” Raven says.
However, each day Raven comes into the studio ready to work with her hands. It is a rewarding process. Raven describes herself as a very energetic being who has trouble sitting still, but working with her hands helps her to rein in and focus. This is because, according to Raven, “When you work with your hands, you become part of it.” What emerges from Raven’s process is an expression of herself and her work as an artist, in the hopes that someone else will take a liking to the piece, really connect with it, and love it as much as she does.