Show Opening: Cindy Wilson | Batik: First Show, Second Act
Award-winning graphic artist Cindy Wilson enjoys her “second act” as a batik artist.
St. Augustine, Florida — Cindy Wilson, who recently retired from her 30-year career as an award-winning graphic artist and owner of a full-service design and advertising firm, is enjoying her new mantle as a fine artist—an award-winning one at
that. Cindy’s first full show featuring her batik designs opens Friday, April 4, 2014 from 5-9 p.m., at 57 Treasury in downtown St. Augustine as part of Art Galleries of St. Augustine’s (AGOSA) First Friday ArtWalk.
A longtime St. Augustine resident and business owner, Wilson studied graphic design at University of North Florida following being hired by Tree of Life—a then-burgeoning natural foods manufacturer—as its original art director. This role set Wilson on a path for specialization in packaging design in particular for the natural foods industry. But for the more than 30 years she owned her own firm, Cindy Wilson Design, she assisted clients throughout the U.S. and in numerous industries with innovative identity and design solutions.
In early 2012 Wilson’s husband, Michael, gave his artistic wife a unique birthday gift—a day-long workshop with renowned batik artist, Wendy Tatter. According to Wilson, the media and the master she learned from were a fit. “Wendy is an amazing artist. She is fluid and skillful. I personally have one of her original batiks hanging in my living room,” she said. “The day I worked with her, she walked me through the steps to create three pieces from conception to completion. It was an invaluable learning experience.”
Following that session, Wilson continued to practice and experiment creating batik fabric art. She made a space in her studio office
where she could practice applying the molten mixture of beeswax and paraffin onto fabric to create the lines of her “paintings”.
The waxed areas resist dyes which Wilson applies to create areas of color. The wax is removed by placing the fabric between two layers of paper and ironing repeatedly. Layer upon layer, Wilson adds image and color in this way until the desired effect is achieved.
Wilson enjoyed adding batiks to her artistic life, for her own enjoyment, and created paintings with themes and subjects from her personal life—her grandchildren, the beach, her garden, the flora and fauna surrounding their 13-acre farm in Elkton. “I really had no agenda as I first starting exploring the art of making batiks. I just enjoyed doing it and kept my initial works cloistered except to my closest circle of friends and family while I was learning and improving.”
As 2013 wound down, Wilson officially retired and closed her doors. With encouragement from friends, in November she entered her first juried fine art show—the St. Augustine Art Association’s (SAAA) Viva La Florida. “In these shows, you submit your work for judging and then the committee notifies you if your work was accepted and will be displayed—or if you need to come and pick it up. I had a message from them and thought to myself, ‘Well, they’re probably calling me to come pick it up.’ but the call was to tell
me that my work had been chosen for recognition and ask if I was planning to be at the show opening to receive my award. I was stunned!” Wilson’s “Burned Pine Forest” won second prize in the show, much to her amazement and the delight of her friends and family. “It was really exciting.”
Bolstered by the approval of St. Augustine’s longest established association of artists, Wilson entered another SAAA juried show in December—its Figure and Portrait Show. This time, her batik entitled “Boy’s Flying Diptych” won first prize and her “second act” as a fine artist was officially off to a roaring start.
The transition from a graphic artist to a batik artist is less of a leap than one might think, at least according to Wilson. “I think batiks have a very graphic look,” she says. “You have to break images down into shapes and colors. The process of creating colors through a series of dipping the cloth into colored dye baths takes a lot of thought and planning.” It’s the kind of analytical thinking a graphic artist does constantly. “I have to say I really love the element of surprise at the end when the final dips complete an image—often in surprising ways. I am also really enjoying the freedom of not having to get client approvals on everything I create. I am now free to create with just my own preferences and instincts.”
With more time to focus on batiks, Wilson has created a body of work that will be on display and for sale at the April show at 57 Treasury. Owner Karin Sufalko, a longtime friend of Wilson, is pleased to host Wilson’s first show. “I like to display the work of
emerging artists,” says Sufalko. “That the talented emerging artist featured in our April show is also a great friend is a joy.” 57 Treasury is located at 144 King Street in St Augustine. The show will kick off with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. on April 4 as part of AGOSA’s April First Friday ArtWalk and be on display through end of May. For more information about the show call 57 Treasury at (904) 827-1707.