Angie Renfro captures the simple beauty of the often overlooked. There is a sense of calm and nostalgia in her paintings, her slightly washed-out style “harkens to memory” while her bold strokes in bright colors create tension within the otherwise muted, austere compositions.
A native Texan, Angie received her BFA in illustration from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, CA. She spent time working as a product and industrial designer before taking the leap to to become a full-time artist.
Angie eventually moved to Chicago “for a change of scenery” and in 2015 she and her husband bought land in the mountains of a small Colorado town. They are building a livable treehouse on the land and she has found inspiration in the vivid surroundings.
What five words best describe your work?
Moody. Energetic. Hopeful. Stark. Quiet.
Tell us about your influences and transition to the most recent landscape/pinecone inspired work?
My newest series is inspired by my recent move to the mountains. There I learned that forest fires are actually helpful for forests – the thinning out of trees and clearing of underbrush is a necessary event for regrowth. This idea that destruction can be a catalyst for new beginnings struck me as really interesting and also analogous to our lives. The pieces are based off of pinecones and in particular, a type of pinecone that is coated in resin and can only open and reseed when exposed to a forest fire. The series is about how loss can create beauty. About how sometimes your path gets rerouted for you without your consent and the challenges and changes that can occur as a result.
What is a typical workday like for you?
Everyday is a little different. I usually start work around 10am. I generally have a bit of non-painting work to do, either computer based stuff – emails, updating inventory data, etc., or photographing new paintings, or prepping panels, or packaging up paintings for shipping. After I’ve procrastinated as much as I’ll allow myself, I start painting. Painting time varies on whether I’m starting a new painting or working on a new layer of a painting in the works. I’ll generally paint 8 – 10 hours. I don’t really take breaks once I’ve started painting. I’ll just stop to eat or to take my dog outside. I just sort of get lost in the painting and lose track of time.
What do you listen to while your work?
If I’m starting a new painting, I’ll listen to high energy music – mostly fast paced indie stuff or hip hop. I’ve learned that this translates into a more energetic & loose first layer of a painting which sets the tone for the whole piece. For subsequent layers, I usually listen to podcasts. Since my job is so solitary, most of my daily input comes from podcasts which results in the majority of my conversations starting with “I heard this interesting article about…”
What is your favorite thing about being an artist?
It is just an incredibly lucky thing to be able to make a living doing something that I love. It isn’t something that I take for granted. I think my favorite thing is talking with someone who has connected a particular painting. To hear that my work has emotional resonance with someone is a profoundly gratifying thing because that’s really the goal of making art in the first place.
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Images courtesy of Angie Renfro.