Artist Chelsea Davidson, a 2008 Lynden Christian High School graduate, opens her gallery, C. René Studios, at 401 Lincoln St., in Everson, with a public reception featuring her photography and paintings from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13. Gallery hours will be noon to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays. Details: crenestudios.com.
Question: What's your background in Canada and the United States?
Answer: I was actually born in Kelowna, B.C., but moved to Bellingham before I was 2. I grew up in Whatcom County with my parents and two sisters. Evergreen Christian School was where I spent my first few years of elementary school; then I transferred to Lynden Christian. From there I chose to go to Trinity Western University, in B.C. That basically solidified my label as a "dualie" and it was one of the best choices I've ever made.
Q: How did you become interested in the arts?
A: I have always loved the arts. My parents would buy me art kits for Christmas often, because I would go through them so quickly. My middle school and high school art teachers were always so encouraging.
Studying art in university changed everything. I was afraid that being forced to keep creating art would make me dislike it, but it did the opposite. My professors, artists Doris Auxier and Erica Grimm-Vance, especially, are tough, really tough, but they know what they are doing. I could not have asked for better training.
Q: Which artists do you admire?
A: My favorite artist at the moment is Gerhard Richter. The way he handles paint, in all his styles, is so inspiring. Andrew Salgado, Paul Wright and Ray Turner are a few other artists who I look toward for inspiration.
Q: How do you describe your art?
A: This is a tough one. I have such a variety. The main theme running through everything, though, is boldness, and generally a bit of quirk. For example, I created a series of paintings that I titled "Negative Ten and a Half," which was a series of nine 24-by-36-inch acrylic portraits on canvas. These pieces were painted with as much clarity as I am naturally able to see with; my eyes are terrible, so these portraits turned into abstract paintings.
Here is another example: I paint off-road racing vehicles. Though these paintings are fairly straightforward, the subject matter is largely foreign to the art world. I am able to capture the movement and beauty in territory not yet captured by other artists.
Odd? Yes, probably, but I think that art should make the viewer see something they hadn't before.
Q: How did your gallery come about, and why Everson?
A: Well, I live in Everson. I know that there are art enthusiasts all over Whatcom County. I don't want to open a gallery to compete with other local galleries, but my goal instead is to help extend the art community into Everson. C. René Studios will be a destination gallery. I will host openings, get other artists involved, and I am excited to see the response it receives.
Everson is a great city to be in for photography, too. The nearest photography studio to the Everson community right now is in Lynden and Bellingham. I look forward to being able to fill this gap.
Q: How do you balance owning a business with being an artist?
A: Being a creative artist isn't hard; it is what I do most naturally. Owning a business is new to me, but I am learning a ton and I thoroughly enjoy getting to know other local artists in the process, and being involved in art organizations such as Allied Arts certainly helps.