who I am and what I do
Hey, I'm Briana
I'm a painter, writer, freedom lover and wholeness seeker.
I create in an effort to give images and words to the journey of wholeness.
I believe that growth brings light and freedom and should be celebrated.
I live just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee with my husband, our two kiddos and a very snuggly studio pooch, Eva. My studio is right next door to our home and overlooks a small lake and beautiful Lookout Mountain.
When I was growing up I had two artistic loves, painting and collage. I spent hours on each, switching back and forth. As I got older I focused mainly on painting, deeming that the more worthy endeavor. I studied art in college but ended up graduating with a more "practical" Marketing degree.
After spending a couple years in advertising and graphic design I found myself being drawn back to painting. As I was due with our first child, I decided I would stay home with him and begin painting more seriously. I sorely underestimated how much time the former would be stealing from the latter. But, having less time to pursue art as a job meant I had more time to pursue it as a passion. I spent years developing my style, technique and narrative as an artist. It was a time of real creative growth.
Then came a detour in my artistic journey in the form of illness. In 2013, a year after giving birth to our daughter, I was diagnosed with Late-Stage Lyme disease. By the time I got the diagnosis it had already had quite a while to wreak havoc on my health and especially my energy levels. Since creative energy takes...energy, I was forced to give up creating for a time.
I was forced to give up most... everything which led me to ask, WHY? What was the purpose, the plan, the sense in stripping it all away? I needed healing, much more than I knew. And I was finally in a place where I was desperate for it.
I have learned that there is a hierarchy, a right order to healing. At that time I was focused solely on my physical healing, but God was wanting to heal my whole person. He wanted to remove the good to make room for the best. I so I slowly began healing in all the ways that were needed. First spiritually, then emotionally, mentally and finally physically too.
As I was healing, but still didn't have the energy to paint, I began to make collages again. That process was more manageable and provided a much needed creative outlet. Collage for me is purely intuitive. I rarely had a set plan, I just pulled out what moved me and put it back together to create a new narrative. It is a great medium for someone who works by trial and error. My process of creating is to start, adjust, readjust, and then finalize. I work best when there is freedom. But collage alone wasn't quite enough. I missed the ability to create the colors, the content and have more creative control over the final product.
As my health improved I realized that the process of healing also redirected my creative motivation. Having everything stripped away, and then receiving it back again taught me that it matters. It all matters. What we do, who we are, what we create in this world: it all matters so very much.
So now I create work that celebrates those concepts: Wholeness. Health. The journey. All that matters and is good in the world. THAT is the "why" behind what I create now. My work explores and celebrates concepts and ideas, and then translates them into visual reminders in the form of fine art pieces. These collage paintings focus our attention on what really matters in life.
The "how"I create is a combination of painting and collage. Everything in life builds and looking back it makes so much sense that I would end up creating this way. Collage painting gives me freedom with color, texture, layers and design to create a final product that conveys so much more richness and depth than either medium alone.
You can visit my Hand collection page to learn more about how this all plays out from concept to final product.