The rapid growth of Charlotte’s art scene is nearly outpacing the crane-dotted growth of the city itself—and we’re all the better for it. Guided by the talented hands of muralists, sculptors, painters, and fine art photographers alike, our city is diversifying through the lens of its most creative members. These are twenty female Charlotte artists whose work we think best represents that, and who—if you have yet to hear of any one of them—we encourage you to learn more about so you can engage with, support, and explore their work. We need each of their voices, and more, as Charlotte becomes an ever-large urban center.
Melissa Herriott Taking in Melissa Herriott’s art, you’d never guess that she took a break from painting… for 20 years. Her pieces look as though they flow fluidly from her, no matter whether the medium is acrylic or ink. Abstract and color-driven, Herriott’s work showcases in spaces throughout Charlotte. Regardless of the subject, Herriott’s work never fails to stun, assuring her position on our list of female Charlotte artists to keep your eye on.
Rosalia Torres-Weiner Rosalia Torres-Weiner is an artist, activist and community leader. Her work is featured in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum. She has exhibited in venues including the McColl Center for Arts and Innovation, Levine Museum of the New South, UNCC’s Projective Eye Gallery, the City of Raleigh Museum, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington D.C. Her public murals celebrate the rich history and changing demographics of the South. Rosalia uses her art to document social conditions and raise awareness. The issues she explores are typically those affecting immigrant communities like family separation, racism, and moving beyond common stereotypes.
Lita Gatlin Like many of our female Charlotte artists, Lita Gatlin is an artist of many subjects and mediums. However, you’ll most often find her painting her personal take on a contemporary landscape, full of bold color and often rendered with oil paint. Lita began drawing with ink and pencil as a child, but didn’t make it her full-time pursuit until after she had spent nearly two decades in the banking sector and become a mother. What called her back to art was simple, a passion that couldn’t be ignored.
Mary Kamerer For some thirty-odd years, Mary Kamerer has pursued creative arts of all sorts, including ceramics, watercolor, stained glass, photography, and even a one-year goldsmithing apprenticeship. Painting, however, is what calls her most often, and she says she has become enchanted with capturing the charm and simplicity of life in the rural South. An emphasis on textures, light and shadows can be seen in her impressionistic paintings of Carolina landscapes.
Windy O’Connor Windy’s aesthetic evolved from her earlier work in abstract still life, landscape, and figures to a “non-subjective abstract.” This style gave her the freedom to express herself and to pull more heavily from her life and her surroundings. She describes her style as “atmospheric, mostly colorful and organic.” O’Commor cites Pablo Picasso and Cy Twombley as seminal figures of inspiration. Windy dabbles in multiple media, such as paper, cold wax, string and graphite. In addition, she experiments with different ways to manipulate paint to create varying degrees of textures and thicknesses.
Amanda Moody Although she studied studio art at UNCG and Appalachian State, most of Amanda Moody’s artistic education is informed by trial and error. She has learned to be patient during the creation process, to wait for the layers of each piece to unfold before adding more paint. This is especially important since Moody rarely begins one of her pieces with a plan in mind. Moody’s creative process and the trance-like effect of her finished pieces replicate the processes and effects of nature, which she identifies as a primary form of inspiration. To Moody, nature is a model of symbiosis, connection, and complexity, in which she finds not only inspiration, but also comfort and fodder for meditation.
Kathryn Godwin Studio Cultivate, created by Kathryn Godwin, was formed to offer intricate, bespoke creations for a variety of spaces including commercial, residential and event spaces. The team works with a variety of materials, and aims to continually challenge space and process to create whimsical, meticulously crafted, and awe-inspiring installations and experiences. An installation artist and stylist, Kathryn has dedicated her career to the technicality of printmaking and photography and to the layered richness of fiber and textile work within installations and sculptures.
Irisol Gonzalez Irisol’s current body of work includes colored pencil drawings, oil paintings, mixed media, sculpture, and music. With color, texture and sound, she explores the sentiments and physical experience of being a brown, immigrant woman in today’s American political atmosphere. She has traveled to Mexico and Central America to study Latin American Culture and its roots to the Hispanic identity that currently exists in the United States.
Monique Luck Luck is an award-winning international artist and muralist, and she models the features of figures and natural forms using fragments of found paper. Her work exhibits frequently at galleries and museums across the country, including The African American Museum of Dallas, The South Carolina State Museum, and the Heinz History Center Museum in Pittsburgh. She was chosen to create an ArtPop billboard and an installation for the Cornelius Community Garden. In Pittsburgh, she painted murals for the August Wilson Center and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.
Kristle Parchman Kristle Parchman is inspired by moments; her catalogue is a pastiche of places and times not easily forgotten, preserved in the gentle haze of nostalgia. According to Parchman, her paintings “are dramatically positioned to communicate the memory of a vacation journey mixed with dreamlike images that go beyond memory of a ‘happy place.’”She is an adept abstractionist, but her striking figure studies have gained growing attention as well.
Tyler Helfrich Davidson College graduate Tyler Helfrich was a poet and an interior designer before dedicating herself to painting. Now, she spends her days in a small home studio, producing jaw-dropping portraits, landscapes, and abstracts that burst with color. For Tyler, color affords a rare opportunity to “sit in nuance, to experience the beauty available in it,” and her work challenges others to do the same.”Helfrich paints categorically, selecting a subject to paint and repaint until she has produced an entire collection, painting to the core of her subject in the process.
Amy Moffatt A full-time Wells Fargo employee and mother of two, Amy Moffatt has to squeeze her artistry time from the in-between minutes of her days, dashing to the easel in her kitchen to paint a few strokes at a time. Although known in the Charlotte area for her signature angels, Moffatt also paints landscapes and abstract pieces. The success of Moffatt’s art enables her to flex her philanthropist muscles. She often donates proceeds from her art sales to Cookies for Cancer, St. Jude’s, and Project Alive.
Alexis Lorraine Howard Alexis works for the photo and video production company Salt Paper Studio, and pursues her own photographic endeavors when she’s off the clock. She has exhibited her photography throughout the Carolinas and works with both digital and paper film. She received her B.F.A. at Winthrop University with a concentration in Photography. Alexis also has experience with a range of different media. For example, she develops black and white negatives and prints in a wet darkroom, uses alternative processes to print on paper, and creates and retouches digital photographs in a studio setting. Her experience with a variety of media earns her a spot on our list of female Charlotte artists to watch.
Evelyn Henson Evelyn Henson is the talent behind the now-iconic Confetti Hearts Wall and the Confetti Stripes Wall in Charlotte’s South End. “I set out to create something colorful that would inspire passersby to walk away happier and more filled with love and kindness,” Henson says of the 40-foot murals. Her other work is just as bright and joyful as the mural. Through her website, her designs are available for purchase in a variety of forms, including on mugs, prints, and stationery.
Elisa Sanchez Elisa Sanchez is a Charlotte illustrator who draws and creates strikingly unique work on a wide variety of surfaces. Her work explores the juxtaposition of harsh and soft, organic and rigid, even life and death. She uses ink and fire, paper and paint, to create sculpture and images that you won’t soon forget, from paper taxidermy to pyrography and painted ‘tattoos’ using a brush and india.
Mary Erickson When Mary Erickson starts to paint outdoors, on location, she moves quickly. Painting the landscape in front of her means nothing is stagnant. The light source that’s present when she begins will shift in about an hour. As a result, she must recall certain visuals from memory. After finishing this small painting—or field study, as she calls it—Erickson will return to her studio in High Ridge Gardens to work her reference into a larger piece. Her paintings are dreamy but realistic, respectful renderings. They are influenced by the tradition of the artists that come after the French Impressionists of the 1800′s.
Julia Lawing Lifelong artist and longtime North Carolinian Julia Lawing synchronizes color and texture to capture the essence of a moment and evoke the emotion and energy of life’s mundane beauty. Lawing’s work has been exhibited throughout the Carolinas, and even displayed within Charlotte’s own cityscape through ArtPop Street Gallery. She pours back into the community romanticized expressions of the very beauty, life, and energy that inspired the art’s creation.
Kathleen Murphy Between making her own jewelry and now her fine art line, the creative spirit within Kathleen Murphy is nothing short of infectious. Kathleen says her first motivation to make her own jewelry resulted from an inability to find what she wanted. Fine art came later, as the same type of hands-on solution to an inability to find exactly that which she was seeking. Today, Kathleen is the winner of Belk’s Southern Designer Showcase. Moreover, she continues to break the mold, drawing attention from interior designers like Beth Keim of Lucy and Company. Rare materials and delicate, light features make her work fine and airy—capable of being an augmentation or the focal point.
MyLoan Dinh MyLoan’s is art that’s very much of the world—often socio-political in nature, her mixed-media relics are imbued with new meaning as she deftly places them in different contexts. Look up her work and you’ll find thought-provoking installations and paintings, as well. With an art degree from UNC and a degree in visual arts from Wollongong University in New South Wales, Australia, she has exhibited internationally. However, we regard her as one of our Charlotte female artists. She is a member of the Asian American Women Artists Association. Also, alongside husband Till Schmidt-Rimpler, she is founder and artistic director of a non-profit project called Moving Poets. Despite her cosmopolitanism, we claim her as one of our female Charlotte artists.
Shannon Whitworth Shannon’s swoon-inducing, folk-inspired musical style found its first showcase in her Asheville-produced solo debut, 2007’s No Expectations. Followed by 2009’s critically-acclaimed Water Bound, Whitworth has appeared everywhere from Philadelphia Folk Festival to Yosemite’s Strawberry Music Festival to Nashville’s own Ryman Auditorium. Shannon also balances time on her Brevard, NC farm. There, she paints in the barn she repurposed as a visual art and music studio.