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First Thursday artist profile

Adrienne Headley


Local artists come and go, but long-time Boisean Adrienne Headley is one visionary artist who has stuck around to the benefit of our community. A professional artist for the past 35 years, HeadleyÕs work is currently on display at the Flipside Cafe for their First Thursday event from 6 to 8 p.m. Mainly a mural artist of commissioned works including a three-story dome, Don and Rain SimplotÕs mural series of a nursery, library and fireplace, and the art in the offices of David, Copple, Copple and Cox, Headley is transitioning to focus on large-scale projects within her own prolific visions.

ÒThis is the first opportunity IÕve had in a while to do studio work,Ó she says. ÒPainting murals prepared me for this, but commissioned work involves pleasing a client instead of letting your own muse come through you.Ó Headley has developed her own 12-layer glazing process and built a career worthy of the price she charges, such as $40,000 for a current project at St. Lukes. Going backwards in price wouldnÕt make sense now, though like any burgeoning artist in the 1970s, Headley felt awkward asking even $100 for a painting. Now that she has established herself with a strong technical background and stylized signature, Headley doesnÕt doubt her Òstroke.Ó

ÒIn the work IÕm doing, you have to produce murals at an amazing rate, so it builds a confidence when you approach a blank canvas,Ó she says. ÒI have a lot of visions. Those pieces (in the Flipside Cafe) are studies for bigger projects.Ó One of her most vivid musings are for a 36-part series of paintings of angels, one of which currently hangs at the show. Though this particular piece stand outs in the sea of her other stellar works, the showing Òdoes has a point,Ó Headley says. ÒI guess IÕm going to be more of an installation artist than a gallery artist, but my work always ties in together to create a Ôshow.ÕÓ

Headley explains the title her exhibition, Thought, Sound, Matter, as ÒIf you want to create something in the world, you have the thought first and then you speak it, and ultimately it materializes. The idea of the bigger angel series came in an instant, I could see the entire project but it started with one angel. This process is science actually, like quantum physics.Ó Headley remains humble about the tremendous amount of studio work that Òmoved throughÓ her this year, as she credits anyone to be capable of quality artistic expression once technical proficiency is mastered.

ÒEveryone dreams of expressing their creative side, and everyone I have worked for had a dream to be an artist, which is probably why they were interested in having me do a mural. I am their hand, their brush so to speak,Ó Headley says. So many people feel they canÕt even draw a straight line, Òbut I canÕt either!Ó she quips. ÒFor me its the idea of communicating the invisible to the visible and making that three-dimensional. Either the invisible in our minds or in the universe.Ó

Though her theory on Òeveryone as an artistÓ does have merit, to skip the years of schooling not to mention the monumental task facing all artists of building a solid career, check out her work instead (ranging from $450 to $3,000), at the Flipside Cafe across from the Co-op.

For complete Gallery Listings for First Thursday go here.