Internationally recognized artist Ahmad Austin believes that good art is like good music; it makes you feel something. Marked by bold colors, strong movement and loose strokes, his painting are sure to do just that.
Built upon years of formal training, Austin's personal style emerged when he picked up a palette knife and discovered a new artistic freedom that captured more emotion and energy than he ever experienced while painting with a brush. You'll often find Austin painting to the sound of jazz legends like John Coltrane, creating pieces that capture the essence of jazz.
“When I’m painting, it’s as if time doesn’t exist,” he said. Unwinding as he creates, Austin’s personality and his style are both relaxed. Yet, he uses quick strokes and scratching techniques that convey a certain energy that comes off the canvas. “I’m very easy going—maybe a little too much,” Austin said. “I think some of the emotions I hold back come out in my paintings.”
Austin’s work has been showcased from Italy to Ireland, and he is well respected in his home community of Birmingham, Alabama where his pieces hang in galleries all over town. When he isn’t creating exquisite, award-winning pieces of his own, Austin stays busy teaching others to do the same. By day, he teaches elementary school students techniques to express themselves artistically, and he also teaches numerous classes live and online through his Palette Knife Academy which have been enjoyed nationally and internationally.
Deborah Ballog's glass art has won awards from Ohio to Florida. Her work is displayed in several galleries in the south, midwest and north. Deborah began her art career in 1995, blowing glass at Phoenix Glass Studio in Tampa, Florida. After several years at Phoenix, she changed her focus to kiln formed glass. She continued her glass education by taking classes in
Portland, Oregon and Corning, New York. Deborah began teaching fused classes of all levels in 2001.
With color and motion as inspiration, Ballog enjoys using components made with molten glass in her fused glass projects. She continues to move forward artistically through ongoing exploration of new techniques in kiln formed glass.
Deborah can be found in Studio 3 at Artists on the Bluff.
Kendall Boggs is known as a Southern innovative artist. While staying “true” to her work, she is constantly evolving and creating new ideas in the art field.
Ten years ago, Kendall gave up a successful interior design business to become a full time painter. Through that career change, she has become known throughout the southeast for her peaceful, yet sometime feisty style. Always using a type of texture in her work, Kendall loves to create movement in her pieces. Whether it be paste or stain or watercolor or abstract, Kendall create a dance on her surfaces. As a wife, mother and grandmother to 4 (almost 5) she loves to spend time with her family. When not painting, she enjoys traveling, tennis, golf, cooking, sewing and anything crafty.
Amy P. Collins is a native of Savannah, Georgia. After graduating from high school Amy decided to pursue her passion by studying art at the University of Virginia. She continued her studies with a Master’s of Science Degree in Medical Illustration from the Medical College of Georgia. It was a natural progression for someone with a love of art and an interest in the sciences.
As a medical illustrator my role is that of a communicator. I clarify scientific and medical concepts with visuals that are clear and informative. In recent years I’ve also been able to pursue one of my true passions – oil painting. My paintings are a reflection of my environment – places I’ve been and things I enjoy. People and animals often provide inspiration, and I try to define their individual personalities with expressive and loose brushstrokes. I focus on capturing the light and color nuances that occur at a certain moment in time. Whether in a landscape, a still life, or a figure, I want the viewer to share in that same moment.
Amy lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband Sam (also an artist) and their two children. Amy has exhibited in several juried shows and is represented locally at Artists Incorporated Gallery in Birmingham.
Sam Collins is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. After high school, Sam studied art and biology at the University of Cincinnati. He continued his studies with a Master’s of Science Degree in Medical Illustration from the Medical College of Georgia.
Sam has spent the majority of his professional career illustrating the intricacies of the human body, creating cellular landscapes, and explaining scientific concepts through pictures. He is a Certified Medical Illustrator and a Fellow of the Association of Medical Illustrators.
After twenty-five years of such specialized artwork, Sam is creating digital images and mixed media artwork that are reminiscent of days spent on family road trips when he was a kid.
Everyday objects - signs, buildings, cars, music, advertising imagery and events of the mid 20th century, influence Sam’s artwork. Sam searches garage sales, junkyards and swap meets for items he can use in his collage constructions. Sam combines his photos, acrylic paint, wood, metal, silk-screened images and found objects to create a story with his art. His artwork is a commentary on popular culture.
Sam currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife, Amy (also an artist) and their two children.
Sandra Fuller is an Alabamian, a professional artist, and an instructor, who has a passion for watercolor, acrylics, oils, drawing, pastel and mono-prints. Her paintings are characterized by vibrant color, bold composition, with an attention to detail. Works in realism and abstraction exist side by side.
A lifetime of artistic development began for Sandra when she was a young elementary school student and has never stopped. As a fine arts major, she received her education from Auburn University, University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), and Louisiana Tech University. In addition she has attended numerous workshops and has studied under noted national artists.
Other arts activities include teaching private students, classes for UAH, Huntsville High School, Huntsville Art League and the Huntsville Museum of Art. She teaches children’s classes to develop beginning art appreciation, abilities and cursive writing skills.
As a painter, Ms. Fuller has received awards from many professional organizations and exhibits. Her works have been included in over 40 one woman and group exhibitions. Ms. Fuller’s award winning paintings have been honored in over 25 national and regional juried exhibitions. Highway billboards displayed her images through the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Many corporate, municipal and private collections include her work.
Lana Hobbs is a clay artist and art educator living and working in Birmingham, AL.
She has always loved making things with her hands and teaching. In 2008, she encountered clay for the first time, and what started as a hobby resulted in a career change. She decided to pursue a career that allowed her to use both her passion for teaching and the arts, and in 2014, Lana graduated with a Master’s degree in Art Education from the University of Montevallo.
As a clay artist, she works mainly on the wheel, but she also enjoys hand building and sculpture. In her wheel thrown work she likes to explore the connection between function and beauty and the juxtaposition of an ancient art form with modern surface design. In her sculptural work she often works with pattern and repetition to create large wall mounted pieces. As a clay teacher, she loves working with students of all ages and skill levels. It is her goal to not only introduce her students to clay, but to equip them to develop their own voice within the medium of clay.
Rik Lazenby is an Alabama artist specializing in creating works in both acrylic and mixed media. His studio is located in Hoover, Alabama in the Artists On The Bluff complex. Rik studied at the University of Alabama where he earned both Bachelor and Master’s degrees with an emphasis in art education. Rik’s mentors were Alvin Sella, Frank Engle, Angelo Granata, Howard Goodson and Richard Zeollner. Rik's works are spiritually complex but the messages are focused and simple - "Let your heart guide you to where the soul resides but always let the Spirit lead." This artistic compass is ever present in Rik's work. He works with no road map or predetermined destination but is never lost. Rik relies on encounters that take place along the way. He does not believe in coincidences. Each work is determined before he lifts his brush. Each color is decided before the journey begins.
Rik states, “My art is constantly evolving with the development of new materials. I have little control over where my next project will take me. There is excitement in not being in control, in moving forward without a road map, without knowing the end before it arrives. I constantly look behind me to see the markers that have been left behind. These markers are all the evidence I need that I am moving in the right direction for my life. I believe there are no coincidences in my life, only successes and failures in my reactions to the things that I encounter.”
April Levi’s work displays a brilliant sense of design and color that stems from her high school day at Vestavia Hills where she concentrated in fine arts courses. After graduating in 1991 she went on to receive a degree in Commercial Art.
For over ten years April has worked as a graphic artist for Birmingham based companies. Her current includes that of Art Demonstrator and has given her the opportunity to explore the seemingly endless variety of uses available in acrylics, her preferred medium. Her work shows this variety in landscapes, portraits or organic designs.
Despite April’s evolving interest in pushing her work to the limits in both color and design, each piece maintains an elegant balance.
Her work can be seen in Studio 16 at Artists on the Bluff in Hoover, Alabama.
Karen Libecap has been involved in art for over 35 years. I have been surrounded by artists throughout my life. My mother was an oil painter/sculptor and encouraged me to pursue my passion. I attended Kent State University for graphic design and was an Art Director in major cities such as Chicago, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio. I have always been in awe of the colors and shapes that surrounds me and try to capture that in a photo-realistic approach. I have worked in many different mediums such as Oils, pastels, watercolor, acrylics, clay, and encaustic wax, but will always feel at home with pencil and pen and ink. I entered my first art competition and was awarded the Hoover Arts Alliance Award from the Alabama Pastel Society fall 2013.
I guarantee satisfaction on all custom work. An email with a proof is sent once the commission is complete for you to make any changes. Custom art is an investment and I want to ensure that you will treasure your art for generations to come.
You can follow Karen on instagram @klibecap or tumblr http://klibecap.tumblr.com.
Jayne Morgan earned a Bachelors of Fine Art in Painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2010.
While working on an advanced painting series of grocery store products, Jayne visited a store and saw seven honey bear jars sitting on a shelf. She remembered growing up when no one in the family was allowed to eat unless the honey bear was on the table. She decided to take home the honey bears and started an important painting….a thank you to her dad for encouraging her to be an artist.
She is now a full time artist living, teaching and creating art in Bluff Park, Alabama. She is still painting honey bears and she has learned that many people have their own warm memories of growing up with honey bears. Jayne travels to art festivals all over the Southeast, bringing smiles to all who see her work. Jayne’s studio is #5.
“Creative expression in clay requires surrender, trust, and detachment. In the process of transformation by fire, each piece is ultimately made stronger or destroyed by its own hidden strengths and weaknesses. Those that come through whole are all the more precious and beautiful for this victory. Creating objects in clay marks the transformational experience with universally recognized symbols, reaching past cultural, ethnic and spiritual differences."
"I desire to bring the beauty of life into this world to speak a language which resonates deep within our hearts and unites us." - Deb Paradise
My work is a collaboration between what I see and what the clay wants to become. Clay is a natural material and nature is evident in all of my work. I build each piece from slabs, coils, and chunks of clay through a hand-building process. I fold, sculpt, squish, and squeeze porcelain and stoneware clays, pushing the limits of the materials. I experiment with alternative surfaces and finishes such as graphite, wax, and stones.
Most recently, my work has reflected the Five Elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Metal. Taking inspiration from wood leaves, lichens, corals, oceans, animals, and flowers, my newest work floats and flows across walls in lyrical and harmonious ways.
There is a deeply personal side of my work as well. I begin my work in the studio with meditation and visualization. Often, I stamp words, phrases, and prayers into the clay, slowly building layers of meaning into each sculptural piece. Then, I add motion and emotion through color, texture, and shape, giving each piece a sense of whimsy, humor, and fun. My work draws on the symbols and rituals found in many different, cultural, spiritual, and ethnic philosophies, giving it an underlying diversity and a sense of universal connection.
I offer commissioned sculptural works in Porcelain and Stoneware for the installations on walls and other venues. Bring me your ideas, or I will work with you to create something very special and unique for your design needs.
Kenneth Spivey iii
Kenneth comes from a family of engineers, teachers and craftsmen. He has earned a Bachelors of Science in Art, a Masters in Education from the University of Montevallo, and a MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), graduating with honors.
Kenneth's talents include metal smithing, leatherwork, stone carving, carpentry, hand engraving, glass, plastics, ceramics, painting, drawing and electronics. Most of Kenneth's work can be considered blacksmithing, but his skill set allows for a much broader medium, which his work demands. Using these old world crafts, Kenneth produces fine art, collectible knives, jewelry, novelties, historical recreations, props, restoration works and private commissions.
Kenneth has always striven to challenge and advance his skills by finding new and innovative ways to approach a piece while using the highest quality materials. Kenneth's work is inspired by the things around him and often utilizes historical means of creation, which focuses on the detail and whimsical nature of its design.
Dirk once read "Art is a delicate balance between the visual concept and each artist's technique". After years of chasing the artists balance, it is the anticipation of the struggle that keeps him coming back to the canvas.
Some 20 years ago, in the midst of a professional career and raising a family in Birmingham, Alabama, Dirk unknowingly discovered his path in life that probably was in place since childhood... that he was meant to be an artist. It was there as a boy watching his father paint in watercolors, and memories of himself constantly sketching in pen and ink. Then later, majoring in Industrial Design at Auburn University, the foundation for painting was put in place through academic training on the importance of concept, composition, perspective, color and draftsmanship in presenting a visual message o the viewer.
“Years later the only absolute statement I profess to make regarding
the language of painting, is that it is a life long struggle, but one
that is well worth the journey. It has taken me close to 30 years to realize to be a success as an artist, does not come from sales, having shows, being acknowledged for your talent; it comes from that pivotal moment when you realize the sheer joy you get from taking a painting from concept to completion.
The past two years of being able to pursue my craft without the pressures of gallery ownership has finally allowed me the opportunity to push myself into new directions; and gain a deeper understanding of how far I have developed as an artist and how far I still have to go.
"I am so excited about the work I am producing now, it feels alive to me and the combination of abstract qualities and realistic forms seem to continue striking an emotional cord with my viewers.” —Dirk Walker
Darla Williamson, CZT
Darla Williamson is a Certified Zentangle® Teacher who jumped off the corporate ladder in 2012 to focus on her artistic creativity. Since then, she has helped others find and develop their creativity through the Zentangle and art journal classes she teaches at her Tangled Stones Studio, and on location. She has taught over 2,200 people from individual classes, to corporate classes to birthday parties, ages five to 90! She custom tailors classes to the client’s needs.
To continue to feed her own creativity, she is an established potter, selling her work at local art shows and in upscale retail stores, she also works in alcohol and India inks, dyes silk fabric, and makes handmade books.