Buffy Cope moved to Raleigh April 2016, before she settled on the Triangle she lived in Massachusetts and Australia. We are lucky to have her artwork in the Imurj Main Gallery for two months, in the current GLOW exhibition and in the MONO a MONO exhibit. Buffy’s piece “Lies” is currently on exhibit. Learn more about the inspiration behind this piece and Buffy’s style.
Q: Describe yourself & your artistic style.
A: I have always possessed a creative streak even as a young girl. I fondly remember making my own barbie doll clothes, paper doll clothes and/or accessories, Halloween costumes, playing dress up, or coloring and drawing.
I was called a dreamer in my school days. One teacher moved me away from the windows because I kept staring outside. I wasn’t really looking out the window, I was looking into my imagination. My daydreaming resulted in the need to attend summer school that year in order to not be kept behind a grade. While there one day, there was this newspaper opened on the activity table one of the teachers must have been reading. I saw a cartoon in that newspaper that invited you to draw the turtle, so I did. I remember how excited the teachers were when they saw my rendition. I think that is the first memory I have when others recognized the true potential in me. They were certain that I was meant to be an artist even before I realized that the creative things I did were my true calling.
In High School my favorite classes were art and photography. But the artist in me came alive when I finally went to University for my degree. I earned my BA majoring in Communication Arts with a concentration in Visual Arts and minoring in Information Systems and Art Studio at Framingham State University in Massachusetts and studied abroad for semester at Griffith University, Queensland College of Art in Brisbane, Australia.
After graduating, all of that childhood enthusiasm and imagination spilled over into my adulthood. I tried to pursue other careers but always gravitated to things that allowed me to harness my inner artiste. Like web designer, photographer, graphic designer, and now artist. All fields that embraced the visual arts.
Today, I find when fully immersed in whatever piece I am working on. When I am fully in the moment, when my vision begins to take form I am in my “happy place”. It’s a zen-like state, a feeling of being fully at peace in a world I was always meant to be.
Q: Describe your art/piece that is on exhibit at Imurj.
A: “Lies” is a 12×12 acrylic abstract expressionism action painting on canvas. If you look at it in normal lighting you will see a rich tapestry of color with many intricate layers of color building on one another. So many layers building up in some areas that it is multidimensional. If you try to follow each application of paint it is hard to find where one ends and another begins.
If you think about lies, they are much the same in that respect. It is not simply black and white. Sometimes it is a little white lie but sometimes it is more colorful. Sometimes it is another lie to cover up the one before and then another and then another.
Hanging this piece under the black lights in the main gallery at Imurj gave it yet another perspective. Just like lies, this artwork changes when examined under a different light. The reactive paint shows a more centralized stroke that calls your attention. Was that the intent? Was a deep rooted lie exposed under the spot light that once went unseen amongst the information overload?
I’m leaving that to the viewers to decide.
Q: What inspired you to create this piece of art?
A: Though this piece is not politically motivated it did manifest during the hours (days, weeks, months) when I had to turn off and walk away from the news (on both a national and local level). I instead turned to my art for self-preservation. Some days I was so stressed the need to escape reality was tantamount. Working on lies allowed me disengage my mind and become lost in the artistic process.
Initially, the piece was simply an exploration in the abstract. However, even as I focused on painting snippets of current events seeped out of my subconscious would enter my consciousness – hence, “Lies” was born.
Q: What’s the process of making your work?
A: It’s highly dependent on the piece and which medium I am working. I usually alternate between working on multiple paintings at a time. Abstracts, landscapes, florals, still life, commissioned pieces, etc. I have zones set up in my studio where I rotate active pieces with those that are in-progress or drying.
When I enter the studio the first thing I do is turn on music to help set the mood as I set up the paints and supplies that I’ll be using. I find music adds another dimension to the painting and enhances my enjoyment of the process. Though admittedly, there are times when I am so engrossed in my work I have gone hours in complete silence before realizing it.
With my abstract action paintings as they take shape the uncontrolled aspect of it dictates the results. Lately I’ve been working more with paint application techniques and color combinations. Exploring and learning from those explorations.
With “Lies” I found there is a balance that needs to be maintained. In the beginning, the hardest part is letting go of trying to control the outcome, The second hardest part is knowing when to walk away. As I begin a piece I have an idea in mind, sometimes that idea manifests but sometimes the art takes on a life of its own and becomes something more wonderful.
Q: Does local Raleigh/NC culture inspire or influence your art?
A: Absolutely. I believe my art is a reflection of all the places I have been and all the people I have come in contact with. All of the amazing events and the rich culture of creativity that is embraced in Raleigh and the surrounding areas is inspiring.
Since moving to Raleigh just over a year ago I’ve met and had opportunity to work with some incredibly talented artists here, in Chapel Hill, and in Durham. I joined Imurj, TEAL, and AIGA Raleigh.
In the interest of self-development and to network with like-minded folks, I have been taking workshops to meet and learn from other wonderful artists.
This piece was the result of a learning process from several other pieces, having found an application that awoke an excitement in me as I worked.
Q: Why do you love what you do?
A: When you get to follow your passions and share those with the world and see the enjoyment others derive from experiencing your art… how can you not love that?