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Caroline Simas Says “Good Things Happen Here!”
New mural adds a cheerful note to a South End sidewalkby Page Leggett on August 5, 2021
We asked Charlotte artist Caroline Simas about her newest public mural (a painted sidewalk at 300 W. Summit Ave in South End), her artistic style and her life as a creative working in Charlotte. Answers have been lightly edited for length.
How did this project happen? Who hired you, and how did they know of your work?
I feel incredibly honored to have been hired by Foundry Commercial to paint this colorful sidewalk mural at 300 W. Summit Ave. in South End. Foundry discovered my work on Instagram and hired me to paint another mural on an older office building at 2151 Hawkins St. in the fall of 2019, knowing it would soon be torn down.
They wanted the mural to be present for a block party to celebrate all the good things to come in this special location. The mural reads: Good Things Happen Here!
How long did it take to create the mural? What was your process?
It took me four days to complete. The concrete was extremely porous and required more paint than expected. My process was similar to creating any abstract in any medium. I began with lighter colors and spread them out over the entire area, scattering the swatches of color to have a balanced look in various directions.
Then I began layering in other hues, occasionally overlapping and changing the directions of the strokes. After hours and days of rolling and final edgework with the paintbrushes, I was able to add geometric details using my smaller, detailed brushes. Finally, I sealed it with a concrete varnish.
According to an Instagram post, friends and strangers stopped by to chat while you were painting. Did any of them help?
It was wonderful meeting so many people who live and work nearby, and they were so nice to stop, introduce themselves, ask questions and make kind comments. It truly made my day and all the long hours in the heat worth it!
I also really enjoyed meeting many of the tenants who came out to speak to and check on me, especially the employees of Eight Eleven Group. My friend Matthew Honeycutt came to assist me most mornings as early as 6:15 a.m. so I was not there alone. He helped by opening paint cans and refilling the paint trays, touching up edges and sweeping the sidewalk. I’m incredibly grateful for his assistance. Several friends and family came by to check on me and deliver water bottles and encouragement.
What inspired your design? How do you hope people feel when they see it? Does it have a title?
I met with Foundry Commercial months ago, and we started with their desire to use a similar color palette on the sidewalk to the three incredible murals on their rooftop designed by the very talented Osiris Rain. They wanted something colorful and happy and abstract.
I mocked up two renderings and, thankfully, they loved them and decided to hire me for the project. I named it Color Me Happy and may add the hashtag #colormehappyCLT since so many are enjoying the mural for photos and social media posts.
Have you done public murals before? Do you want to again?
Yes, I painted an interactive mural @crossingsonmain in my hometown of Fort Mill, just 20 miles south of Charlotte. It’s titled Love Where You Live, and it’s been great to see so many enjoy this one – standing between the butterfly wings, acting like they are riding the bicycle or holding the balloons.
You can see this on Instagram by searching #welovefortmill. My art was recently selected for one of the Windows of Hope by ArtPop Street Gallery and can be found on the side of Hub South End Apartments at 2250 Hawkins St. It reads: Love Grows Here.
Years ago, I painted numerous indoor murals but no longer do that due to my main job as a licensed artist. But, I’d welcome the opportunity to create more outdoor murals and – if possible – would choose the spring or fall when the weather is cooler!
How do you describe your artistic style?
It’s a bit challenging to describe my style, but overall, my brand, Multiple Blessings, is known for a bright color palette, florals and faith. I use a variety of mediums – watercolor, textured acrylic on canvas, pen and ink and mixed media. I license my art to the gift and home decor industry which means that companies/manufacturers use my art for their products such as calendars, garden products, stationery, fabric, ceramics, gift items. These products are sold in gift shops worldwide as well as Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Barnes & Noble, Cracker Barrel and more. I have some of these items available in my Charlotte studio.
I also teach workshops through @womenfaithstory and host private small group, in-person workshops in my studio. I’m planning an international art retreat in St. Lucia! I’m a creative business coach, and I love helping women take bold steps toward their creative dreams.
What else should readers know about you?
I’m an artist, wife and mom to four pretty cool kids. They’re mostly young adults now, and they truly inspire me. Most days you can find me joyfully covered in paint in my studio in @southendclt @dilworthartisanstation. It’s now home to over 30 creatives and open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There’s a Dilworth Artisan Station Art Crawl the first Friday of each month (that means tonight!) from 6 to 9 p.m.
Color Outside the Lines with Caroline Simas
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