Hoa Sypolt’s paintings are more than human figures and images of nature. They’re swirls of color, contrasts of dark and light, and musical in their movement.
“When I’m painting a human figure, for example, I don’t look at the perfect lines of the human body or the face,” she explained. “I look at the light and dark that are bouncing off the lines and the positive and negative space.”
It shows through in works that are both representational and expressionist. Light and color create emotion.
“There’s a sort of rhythm in my painting. Like songs, some paintings are softer and other paintings have a quicker energy. That’s where the light and dark strokes come in. It creates different types of energy in each piece.”
Hoa was born in Vietnam. Her family fled the country when she was 6 years old. They washed ashore in Thailand and lived for three years in a refugee camp.
Her family finally made it to the United States when Hoa was 9 years old. And that’s how her long journey with art began.
“I couldn’t understand English but I understood my art classes,” she said. “I remember the first print that I made and a ceramic piece.”
The day to day of family life strengthened her interest.
“My dad back in the day was a tailor, so he would pick me up and I would go to his shop. I was bored to tears, so I just doodled a lot.”
Hoa said she took art classes every year after that, but her first memorable experience with painting was in high school.
“I started to really understand paints and the freedom that comes with the paintbrush.”
Studying fine art in Tennessee and at the University of South Carolina, Hoa started working with oils because her coursework demanded it. But she is more drawn to acrylic paint now.
“I like the speed of acrylics. When I’m feeling something, I like to get it on the canvas while I’m still feeling it. I like to paint very quickly,” she said. “It’s methodical but organic at the same time.”
Hoa expects her next few works to focus on “spiritual discovery and growth” and how “nature and I have this connection that makes me feel at one with the universe.”
She pointed to Buddhist philosophy as an inspiration.
“Clouds are fleeting and impermanent and that reflects our lives,” she said.
Hoa’s work is on display at Art Mecca of Charleston, you can catch her doing a live painting session in the King Street gallery on Saturday, Sep. 8.
Laurie McIntosh's abstract collection "Pages" is a series of eccentric paintings that challenge the idea of how we read. Inspired by her love of making books, "Pages" offers up non-traditional, and more open format. This deconstructed technique is influenced by the desire to see all the pages at once while in a book. The unique creations have a more interactive approach to art with lots of options as to how to interpret each piece.
Her mediums are chosen for each piece based on "whatever solves the problem," whether it be a water-tight medium, something such as wax, or simply oils.. After created, the pieces are then deconstructed and bound back together to add to their unique formation. She also has recently been commissioned by the city of Columbia to do some exciting work involving painting city buses.
For the former graphic designer each series has a very long creative process to go along with it.. This process includes 2-3 years of developing and working on the art, with a minimum of 40-50 pieces in each collection. This really allows the collection to develop a beautiful story, without the same need for words as books have.
Carol Joy Shannon’s paintings are about cities. At least that’s the most immediately apparent impression. The lines and angles and colors conjure up a world created by human hands, a contrast to the softer forms of nature.
But Shannon’s paintings are much more than just a collection of buildings or, at their most abstract, an arrangement of forms. They’re a natural transition from wildlife painting to what Shannon calls “structured abstract.”
“I found that I loved painting abstracts because they really let our imaginations free,” explained Shannon. “But I also found that I needed focal points and some structure – so I started adding blocks and outlines, and the response was instant – the pieces won prizes and went onto walls.”
Inspired by the “hard-edged color” of mid-century modern aesthetics, the shift to painting cities was as pragmatic as it was a conscious artistic choice.
“The prevailing wisdom for writers is ‘write what you know,’” said Shannon. “What did I know? I knew cities. I’d lived in some splendid ones: London, Monte Carlo, Venice, Paris, Miami, Seattle, Las Vegas – why not paint them?”
To date, she’s painted at least 100 cities.
But in the Lowcountry, it’s impossible not to be awed by the landscape. When Shannon moved back to South Carolina in 2014, her work started incorporating more marsh and less concrete.
“A year or so ago I had a really nice, large scale landscape that looked like Lowcountry saltmarsh, but just needed something. It hung in my living room for several weeks (I always do this) and one day I saw a heron in it. When I painted it in, it just worked,” she said.
Shannon also paints a series of small pieces that celebrate military and public safety veterans. She said the paintings bring in something more valuable than money – the stories. A portion of each sale benefits charity.
But even with her steadily evolving styles and inspirations, Shannon says she wants to make sure that her art is challenging but accessible.
“As a self-taught artist who has painted 6 days a week for the last 17 years, I realized early on that my chances of being in MOMA or on the cover of “Artist” Magazine were small. But what I could do is paint what pleases me and might please other people,” she explained.
“I just want to bring color and light into people’s homes.”
Check out more of Shannon’s work at Art Mecca of Charleston.