Who you NEED to meet: Elizabeth Fowler

We’re absolutely delighted to introduce you to one of the most exciting artists to come out of the South in some time, Elizabeth Fowler! And we’re even more excited to share that we’ll be hosting Elizabeth’s art debut in Atlanta on June 8th – mark your calendars now!!

Elizabeth is fun, dynamic and her work will have you using all the heart eye emoji’s you can handle. She’s a true professional; absolutely polished and totally poised for even bigger and better things. We’re thrilled Elizabeth will be showcasing some of her work at steve mckenzie’s and wanted to give you a glimpse into who she is before the big debut. We hope you enjoy this latest installment in our “Who you NEED to Meet” blog series!

Elizabeth Fowler

Elizabeth Fowler lives in Jackson, MS. She graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in Communication and Information Sciences. She began painting in March of 2016 and has since held successful pop up exhibitions at the Mississippi Museum of Art After Hours series, Courtney Peters Design and Adam Trest Home.

In 2016, her work was included in the Fondren Renaissance Foundation’s annual Cedars Juried Art Show and she was named one of Portico Magazine’s 2016 Artists Rising. This year, Elizabeth was included in the self-portrait exhibition at Fischer Gallery in Jackson.

sm’s: Can you please share a bit about your background/how you started/how you started Elizabeth Fowler Art and how you gained the courage to break out on your own?

EF: I spent the first 13 years of my career in marketing project management, client relations and new business development. I’d always had a desire to do something more physical and more creative. To create a “product” of some sort. A little over a year ago, I left my marketing post not knowing what my next step would be. The main goal was to focus more acutely on raising my 4 year old daughter, nurture my true self, better support my husband and pay more attention to our household. But mainly nourish my then-depleted soul.

I really wrestled with what I would “do next” to make a mark, prove value or justify existence. I received the greatest gift of all…. the luxury of rest and the ability to wait. I thought about going back to school but wasn’t sure how I’d select between multiple interests. I thought about beginning to write but wasn’t sure what my goal would be with the writing and frankly was afraid I’d get lost in my own musings. Then, I remembered painting. I chose painting because I thought it might be the most reasonable way for me to export parts of my spirit.

There were many fears. But, I realized that I really had nothing to lose and just went for it. In short order, I had sold several paintings and was very encouraged to keep going. The work just started pouring out of me. The act of painting was so meditative and healing for me and I loved that it opened me up to so many new relationships with other artists, collectors, etc.

One year later, I realize that this year of painting, resting, trusting has been the best year of my life. That joy is the fuel for growing my body of work and continuing to stretch my abilities.

sm’s: What inspires you/your art? 

EF: Wow. So much.

I’m inspired by materials and processes. I love nothing more than testing new materials and processes.

Other artists. The more I paint, the more I hunger for imagery created by others.  I love it when I think that I’ve seen great art and then I’m introduced to a new artist and my entire paradigm for “good work” is shattered and recreated.

I’m inspired by beautiful weather. I paint out of doors at my home. The light filtered through the tress in my backyard on a 70 degree day is irresistible.

I’m inspired by the forces behind the development and sustenance of the natural world.

I’m also frequently inspired by Instagram photos before they fully load. You know when they’re still blurry and abstract. The most mundane subject matter becomes SO visually interesting when blurred! I always want to paint after seeing those — thank God for slow internet connection!
sm’s: What is your vision, not only for the Elizabeth Fowler Art brand, but also the individual pieces you create?
EF: I don’t consider myself to be a brand. About 8 months ago, I tried to think of myself/ my work in that way and I learned that it took the life out of it for me. So now, I just paint what I paint. Even though my pieces vary in color and theme, they usually all carry the mark of my collective experience. I’m not sure quite how that happens, but the marks end up relating all of my paintings to each other.
I paint intuitively, so I don’t go into a body of work with an expectation or vision. Correction…. Sometimes I do and my intuition takes over, yielding something that in NO WAY reflects my original intention. The piece comes out and it is what it is (forgive the overused expression!). What I hope for each piece is that someone will be drawn to it, appreciate it, buy it and enjoy it.

sm’s: Do you have any “mainstays” in your work – is there something you’re always drawn to? 
EF: If you asked my mentors and art advisors, they’d say “YES!” but, my answer is that I’m so new at this that I couldn’t say there are elements that I cling to. Of course there are tools in my kit that I pull out. Drizzling, dripping, spraying, doodling.
sm’s: What are the differences in your collections – i.e. how do you create such unique pieces that remain a part of one, cohesive line? 
EF: I  paint collections in sessions. On any given day, I’ll put down 3-10 pieces of paper or canvas and paint in succession until they’re complete. Once those are finished, I really can’t replicate it. The work itself is a record of the weather that day, my mood and the materials that were available to me at that moment.
The pieces are cohesive because they all come from the same point of origin, me.

sm’s: What do people need to consider when looking to purchase one of your pieces? 

EF: I think that the only thing that is required to purchase one of my pieces is connection. A connection with the piece. The owner’s connection with the piece, which might be completely different from my connection with the piece. The painting is like a person…. It’s allowed to have different connections with different people.

The second thing that would be nice is a connection between the buyer and me. I love people. I love when I really get to know who they are. I realize that the more work I sell, the harder it’ll be to truly connect with every buyer. But I’d love it if that were possible. I want people to look at my work in their space and feel a warmth because they love the work but also to feel as though they’ve purchased a spec of my being and are able to celebrate the moment I made the piece.
sm’s: What’s on the horizon for you/Elizabeth Fowler Art? 
EF: The thing that I MOST love about life is the unpredictably of it all. Two years ago I was working to help proliferate a casual dining brand with NO IDEA that I’d be painting. Six months ago, I couldn’t have imagined that I’d meet and connect with some of the artists with whom I’ve been fortunate to form unique bonds. LIFE IS AMAZING! That being said.

In the next year, I’d like to amp up my presentation and land a two-person or solo gallery show. I’ve just hung my first solo show in a community gallery. My next step is to work with a full-time commercial gallery on a show.

sm’s: As an artist/business person how do you recharge? 
EF: Funny. Painting is the recharge for me. I paint about two days a week and it is such a catharsis for me. It’s important for me to maintain a balance in my life. Elements in that balance are quality time with friends and family, travel, afternoon cocktails with my husband (Mint Juelps), play with my daughter…. And sleep. I love to sleep. It’s the only time I can get my mind to stop. 🙂

sm’s: Anything else you can think our readers would enjoy learning about you/your business/artwork? 
EF: Come see me! I want to meet you, hear from you, get to know you!
And she means it – and we’re offering the perfect opportunity for you to interact with the artist. Her Atlanta debut on June 8th… We look forward to seeing you there! Contact the team at steve mckenzie’s with any questions.

Art up for auction!

Steve, along with a slew of other artists, both from within and beyond our local interior design community, will have art up for auction at the ASID Art Auction benefiting the American Cancer Society next Thursday evening!

This artful event is open to the public and all proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society. Tickets can be purchased here.

ASID Georgia Art Auction Benefiting American Cancer Society

at the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 | 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT
351 Peachtree Hills Avenue Northeast Suite 403, Atlanta, GA 30305

We look forward to celebrating some fantastic artists and fundraising for a great cause! Please feel free to reach out to the team at steve mckenzie’s with any questions…

Tremendous Tasks of Trays

This year, did you resolve to get organized?! How’s it going so far? If you’ve already fallen off the organizational bandwagon, we’re here to inspire you with one simple item. The tray.

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Perhaps our favorite option – a catchall tray in Loop Indigo, based on Steve’s fine artwork and textile line. Will add a punch of fun and color to any space!

That’s right – as in those pretty serving pieces sitting in your cabinet that only come out during certain meals… Believe it or not, but trays can do so much outside of the kitchen. They can help you become stylishly organized!

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We love the idea of using beautiful trays and even overlooked pieces from your china collection in drawers for organizing small items such as jewelry, spare change, makeup, cuff links, tie pins, etc. So many options!

Simple trays can handle the tremendous task of keeping us organized. Set on a console, nightstand, end table, or even inside a drawer, trays are a fantastic way to compartmentalize all those small items we’re so often digging through our catch-all drawers for!

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This Royal Crown Derby Mikado Sandwich Tray, in Taupe, is a real showstopper! This stunning piece would be a gorgeous spot to place on your foyer table and collect keys, spare change and other loose items.

And you know those small items you reach for most – wouldn’t it be helpful if you could just leave them out in the open for easy reach? Thanks to the tray, you can do that in a stylish way.

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This woven rattan round tray is actually a little larger in scale and would be a brilliant place to collect television remotes, decks of cards, or even add tall glasses to the top and fill with makeup and brushes for the bathroom or silverware for a stylish addition to your next buffet.

As you can see, we offer some pretty fabulous options for organizing small trinkets. Reach out to the steve mckenzie’s team today and we’ll be happy to help you achieve this resolution and become more organized in no time!!

A Christmas Message from steve mckenzie’s

Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday from our team here at steve mckenzie’s! May your Christmas be a meaningful celebration with family and friends and may you savor every wonderful moment.

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Please see a reminder of our holiday hours below…

And if you find yourself wanting to take part in a little post-holiday retail therapy, we invite you to enjoy our improved shopping experience on the steve mckenzie’s website. We think you’ll find something you’ll love to treat yourself to after the holiday commotion has ended. 😉

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We hope to see you in store after Christmas – and please keep steve mckenzie’s in mind as you plan your New Years celebrations. We have plenty of goodies to make your evening sparkle!

steve mckenzie’s TOP FIVE Holiday Gifts of 2016

This year, we’re helping you cross off any and all recipients who may be remaining on your holiday gift list with our rundown of the top five gifts of 2016, currently available at steve mckenzie’s. No matter who they are, what they enjoy or what their age may be, there’s a fit for everyone on our 2016 top gifts list (and maybe a little something to gift yourself with as well :-))…

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  1. PUZZLES! Y’all, who doesn’t love a puzzle?! And this one just happens to feature holiday highlights from across the United States. We think this finished puzzle would even make a fun piece of seasonal wall art! Not to mention all of the fun that’ll be had putting these 1,000 pieces together. It’ll give and give for hours on end! diamente-acrylic-wine-glass-silver-445px-491px
  2. Acrylic Wine Glasses. We don’t have enough good things to say about these glasses! They’re gorgeous, first of all, and coming in at a close second is they’re virtually unbreakable AND dishwasher safe. While these glasses will add a beautifully refined touch to any celebration, we think the recipient on the other end of these glasses will be celebrating the glasses themselves! entertaining-serveware-catchall-tray-loop-indigo-11x17-445px-491px
  3. Catchall tray. These fun lacquer coated fabric trays are like small works of art for your flat surfaces… They feature a Steve McKenzie’s work of art in an indigo loop pattern and because of pattern placement are all a bit different. Put on an entryway table, on a bedside console, even a dining room buffet, there are endless uses for these fantastic trays!! entertaining-serveware-christmas-serving-plate-and-dip-bowl-445px-491px
  4. Christmas serving plate and bowl set. Think Santa would mind enjoying a bit of crudité instead of cookies this year?? When served on this delightful set, we think not! Chips and dip, veggies and hummus, crackers and cheese and oh so much more will be thoroughly enjoyed this holiday season on such fun dishes!decor-candles-and-soap-vetiver-tumbler-candle-11-oz-445px-491px
  5. A beautifully packaged, lusciously scented candle. A green fresh cut grass herbaceous blend, topped with a fruity bouquet, of citrus, bamboo, lilac, rose, clove and musk notes. If that scent description doesn’t make you want to run into the showroom and pick up five or six for your go-to gift stash, we don’t know what will! Plus, there’s no need to know a recipient’s size for this gift and after filling their home with a scrumptious scent, it’ll disappear!

And there you have it – steve mckenzie’s Top Gifts for 2016. So, we need to know… Which of these items would top your gift list?!?

Don’t forget, we offer complimentary gift wrapping, so we literally are a one-stop-shop for all of your holiday gifts this season. We look forward to seeing you in the steve mckenzie’s showroom soon!

Tastemaker Tuesday – Michelle Workman

If you follow steve mckenzie’s on other social media sites, you may have seen us mention Michelle Workman, a phenomenal interior designer, based out of Los Angeles and Chattanooga. Steve was recently commissioned to custom paint the walls in her space for the Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles 2016 Holiday House and we’ve been fortunate enough to get to know Michelle and her work over the last year and she’s an absolute talent! We hope you enjoy getting to know Michelle in this latest installment of our Tastemaker series…

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Born in Los Angeles, California, Michelle’s penchant for the craft was almost immediately apparent. Some of her fondest childhood memories were of her mother chauffeuring her about the neighborhoods to take in the endless array of visually arresting homes. As a budding young designer, Michelle frequently took pleasure in envisioning and fashioning her very own custom designed forts.

Described by those who know her as an “easygoing perfectionist,” Michelle’s philosophy is that interior design should embody the spirit and architectural style of the individual whose home is being transformed – literally, a physical manifestation of the client’s most inherent attributes. Michelle’s signature style is a mingling of the modern and vintage. And her engaging personality, calming demeanor and exquisite attention-to-detail continually instill confidence in her clients as she brings into being for them their one-of-a-kind dream home.

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1. Three words that describe your aesthetic?

Elegant, Glamorous, Exuberant

2. Would you please share a little about your favorite space/project to date?

Hmmmm. Not sure I have a favorite, each project is so unique and a new adventure, they all have aspects to them that are favored!

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3. What’s the source(s) of your inspiration?

Usually the client is the inspiration, but when I do a showhouse or exhibition I make up a person that I want as a client and I design for them.

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4. Name three people (alive or dead) you’d invite to your dream dinner party…

Marie Antoinette, I have so many questions for her, politically, but also she was a revolutionary when it came to style. Ginger Rogers, she seems like not only talented but down to earth and bubbly and wise.. I bet she would have great stories about old Hollywood.  Alexa Hampton, she’s a great designer but is also very well read and knows everything about design and design history, and she’s one of the funniest people in our industry.  I think that would be a lively dinner party!

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5. A piece of/type of furniture you couldn’t live without?

A chair. and another chair, and two more chairs, and then one more chair.  I like chairs… oh and lamps too.

6. Do you follow a particular set of rules when mixing textures, finishes, etc. – how do they work for you?

I work very hard to bring disparate elements into harmony, the overriding rule is balance.

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7. Trending… What is something you are currently “into” and something you are “over?”

Into… ART DECO.  Over… gray and beige and taupe, drab, drab, drab.

8. How does artwork fit into your designs?

I try to use local and emerging artists.  I love to get original pieces for clients even if they are not investment grade – I like to support young new artists this way.

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9. What would be the one thing you would have if you were stranded on a deserted island?

A kindle with wifi.

10. Please share a piece of advice you’d offer to someone looking to break into the interior design industry.

Avail yourself of museums, and historic tours, and anything that will show you the finer things in life.  Try to find things for your clients that are unique and one of a kind… not from big box stores.

Thank you Michelle! It’s been such a pleasure working with you and being a part of your outstanding designs!!

Right at home at the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Holiday Designer Showhouse

Right before Thanksgiving, we were fortunate enough to be treated to a media preview tour of the 2016 Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse and it was a stunner. Truly. Every detail at every corner of every space was just impeccable and totally inspirational!

Photo by David Christensen
Photo by David Christensen

We urge you to plan a visit if you haven’t done so already – it will instantly put you in the holiday spirit, and if you’re already feeling festive, then you’ll just be envisioning even more sugarplums this season.

But – we cannot keep you in total suspense. See some of our favorite highlights below…

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Photo by David Christensen

Michelle Workman’s amazing space was an obvious favorite for us. After all, our own Steve McKenzie created her walls, which we happen to think are pretty spectacular.

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Photo by David Christensen

Truly though, her bedroom design is absolutely transportive and welcoming all at the same time. Her mixing of patterns, colors and textiles is sensational.

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Photo by David Christensen

The holiday house kitchen by Shaylyn Woodbery was glamorous, but absolutely welcoming. Her touches of gold and brass throughout are perfect for the holidays and beyond.

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Photo by David Christensen

And you know we can’t pass up a fabulous table setting!

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Photo by David Christensen

Musso Design Group created a master bedroom space we immediately felt right at home in. Its streamlined and modern, but fits right in with this classic home.

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Finally, the home’s office by Heather Roberts, for Ivy and Vine, was an absolute show stopper. That chair caught our attention first, but what kept us coming back for more of this space was her use of color. The same blue hue on the walls, mouldings – even the ceiling.

There’s just a sampling of what you can expect with this spectacular holiday home for Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, and as you can imagine, there’s so much more seasonal eye candy for you. We hope you enjoy the home as much as we did… Happy holidays!!