Nashville Minted Artists to Watch

Written by Jennifer Griffin

Angela Simeone

For artist Angela Simeone, the creation of art is no picnic. It’s a struggle, a battle, and yet it’s one of the most profoundly human and life-affirming pursuits one can take on. Art can be lonely. It demands mightily of you. And yet look what comes out of it.

An abstract painter and mixed media artist, Angela has lived and worked in Nashville for the last decade with her husband and three sons. Self-taught, Angela has thrown herself into learning the craft of painting with the same tenacity and discipline she exacted in her former career. Before moving to Nashville, Angela worked in San Francisco at the height of the dot-com boom in the late ‘90s, doing marketing for an editorial startup called Chick Click, an online network of independent zines targeted toward young, hip, urban women.

“It was a highly creative group of primarily women. That was the first time I watched women create their own realities, their own lives, their own careers. They were self-starters, writing their own tickets. A lot of them had not done anything like what we were doing.”

That early lesson, that you can push forward, do good work, and experience success despite initial inexperience was a key one, though not entirely new. Prior to San Francisco, Angela worked in marketing in the music industry in Nashville, initially working for free at an independent publicity and marketing label while studying business at the University of Georgia. It was a thrilling gig; the label promoted Hootie and the Blowfish and the Dave Matthews Band on their first albums.

“I got far more out of everything I’ve done for free than what I gave,” she says. “By working along someone for free, learning and becoming part of the process, that person becomes invested in you.”

Southern Cotton Series 4” by Angela Simeone

That spirit continues in the way she’s learned to be an artist. After deciding to pursue art, she sought out a mentor and an apprenticeship, finding what has become a multi-year working relationship with painter David Guidera. She enrolled in his figure painting class and boldly asked both if she could do abstract rather than realistic nudes, and if she could apprentice under him. He agreed, teaching her technique, color theory, color mixing, and critical art evaluation, all while providing a feedback system and companionship. It was art school done in the most traditional of ways, and it continues on.

A Commissioned Original Artist for Minted, Angela’s work is now included in both private and corporate collections, and has been featured multiple times on the ABC drama, “Nashville.” View Angela’s Minted Artist Store here, and her Instagram @angelasimeoneartistnashville.

Laci Fowler

Laci Fowler distinctly remembers when she first became seriously interested in art. She was 9 years old, taking her first art class in a beautiful old building in Brookhaven, Mississippi with a charismatic teacher named Vicky Land she quickly wanted to emulate. The details remain vivid. “She had white hair and wore a scarf. She had perfect posture, and even at that age I knew she was eclectic and brilliant and…different,” Laci remembers. “She always gave us projects that were more complicated than we could really handle, and in retrospect, I think that was intentional.”

Laci took those classes seriously and has painted ever since. Painting and art have become intrinsically linked to her identity. Creativity, she explains, is directly connected to learning about who you are and how you operate, “and not just learning it, but facing it and accepting it.” Walking away from a piece underway has become a critical part of her creative process. “Creating something of value requires patience and discipline, and that means knowing when to stop, knowing when to put space between me and what I’m working on,” Fowler says.

She’s drawn to abstract work for now. “Abstract art is kind of excruciating. There’s so much freedom in it, and yet the fundamentals are absolutely necessary for creating something of value. Holding that tension is no small thing.” Her senses continually receptive to the environment around her, Laci seeks out shapes, colors, and light she might incorporate in her work. Often her works feature a solid foundation of black and white, accented with unapologetic pops of color.

Fresh Indigo” by Laci Fowler

Her latest series of floral abstracts evolved from a moment of stillness. Sitting on her mother’s verdant porch in Mississippi, the haven of her youth, she looked out at the tended plantings, at the leaves and flowers flickering in the wind, and almost felt they were speaking to her, calling her. For the last year, Laci has been deliberately intentional about developing her technique, honing her floral compositions. The mother of a jubilant 1-year-old son, Laci plans to stay with florals for now, but says she’s already “dreaming up new ideas.”

About the author: Jennifer Griffin is a print and radio journalist with an avid interest in the arts. More recently, she’s expanded into the nonprofit and tech industries, covering a broad range of subjects including the arts, business, tech, healthcare, wine, and impact investing. Nicely dovetailing with her work at Minted is her role as a docent for SFMOMA.

Published August 16, 2017

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