Transylvanian of the Week: Lucy Clark | Features

Lucy Clark is an artist at heart. Born into a family of writers and growing up in the mountains of West Virginia, at an early age she found joy in being creative and forging her own path as an artist.

Today, as owner of The Lucy Clark Gallery and Studio, she balances life as a working artist with the day-to-day demands of running a thriving downtown art gallery. She takes great pride in creating an inviting, peaceful gallery space for visitors, as well as supporting the artists whom she represents in her gallery de ella. She recently took time to chat about her life and passion for sharing beauty with others.

Does the stress of being a business owner ever crush your creativity?

Clark: I wouldn’t say it ever crushes it although it does have to go on the back burner from time to time. I know that my creativity is always there brewing in the background. I find time in my home studio almost every night to play even if it doesn’t produce anything tangible.

What do you say to people who are intimidated by art and art galleries?

Clark: I would say that at some point they were poorly treated by walking into a gallery. Most folks feel slightly intimidated, but my desire is to make everyone who walks into the gallery feel welcome and acknowledged.

Any advice to people who have a desire to learn more about art?

Clark: Do it! Find a workshop, a medium or anything that intrigues you. Just having the curiosity to find out more about an art form can take you to great places.

Do you listen to music when you create?

Clark: Music, podcasts and audio books are some of my favorite things to listen to while creating.

What have critics and collectors said about your work?

Clark: Everything from glowing comments to the picking apart of my techniques and mastery. Since I create in a few different mediums; ceramics, photography, writing and jewelry, I have left myself open to a lot of criticism and that’s ok. I am certain that my critics have something worthy to say and for the most part I would agree with them. I can always find small faults in my work that I can improve upon. As a creator, I think it’s important to acknowledge that voice but create anyway.

How do you choose which artists to represent in your gallery?

Clark: I am looking for work that has a nice conversation with the other work I already represent. Since my work tends toward the soft side I also look for that quality in the work I include.

How important is social media and online to your gallery today?

Clark: Honestly, during the COVID-19 shutdown, it was a lifesaver. I paid the rent by posting work for sale on Facebook and Instagram, as well as developing a full e-commerce website which I manage on a daily basis. I also write a weekly email to my subscribers that goes out every Sunday morning at 7:15 am as a way of keeping in touch.

Where did you grow up?

Clark: I was born in Ohio but moved to West Virginia as a toddler.

The mountains captured my soul and bolstered my creativity from the very beginning.

The mud in the creek outside our home was ripe for pies, and the search in the woods around our 25 acres slowed me to gain the space that I needed to build little forts and huts. It was a like a big, giant playground with lots of found objects to fuel my creativity.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Clark: The only dream I ever had was to be creative – it always brought me joy.

What are you most proud of in your life?

Clark: My Dad used to call me “flaky.” Since I was the black sheep and the creative in my family I think I have always worried about me making my way in this world. I am most proud of the fact that I have been a sole proprietor for over 35 years, making it on my own. I also have a fabulous partner in my husband, Bob, who supports me every step of the way.

Your favorite way to spend free time?

Clark: Creating!

What/who has truly inspired you in your life?

Clark: My first artist crushes were Ansel Adams and Georgia O’Keefe. To this very day they inspire my art.

Do you know how your first name was chosen?

Clark: I was named after my paternal grandmother, Lucille. Luckily, they shortened mine to Lucy.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Brevard?

Clark: The sense of community.

Are you involved in any volunteer work?

Clark: Yes, I chair the Fine Arts committee for Heart of Brevard, as well as sit on their executive and general board.

What do you hope your children will remember most about you as a mother?

Clark: I hope my daughter, Caitie, remembers that I loved her fiercely. That I was her greatest champion of her through everything.

What’s the best memory you have of your grandparents when you were a child?

Clark: Going to my maternal grandparents home for Sunday pasta with the entire family which could be more than thirty people at any given time. She let even the kids have wine with dinner. It was awesome.

How do you feel about getting old?

Clark: I don’t really care much about it. I decided a long time ago to be very dedicated to my health and well-being so that I can have a great quality of life for as long as possible.

What’s been the most challenging time of your life?

Clark: Being divorced with a 2-year-old, working three jobs and going back to school at age 29. That was pretty challenging but, in the end, very rewarding.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Clark: To be kinder to myself.

What do you think your husband would say is your best quality?

Clark: My attention to detail.

What would he say is your most annoying habit?

Clark: Probably my attention to detail.

What’s one thing that always makes your day?

Clark: When someone comes into the gallery and they see something beautiful and it changes their entire demeanor. I just love that.

What’s your most extravagant purchase ever?

Clark: A very small piece of pottery by one of my clay idols, Maria Martinez, from the San Ildefonso Pueblo in New Mexico.

What are your dreams for the coming year?

Clark: To continue to bring beauty to Brevard – it’s an absolute joy for me.

What’s one thing you hope visitors to Lucy Clark Gallery learn or feel (or take-away) when they visit the gallery?

Clark: I hope when people visit the gallery they leave with a feeling of being welcomed back anytime. Sometimes, we all just need to visit art to feed our soul and turn a bad day around. I also want them to get a sense of peace and calm.

Do you have any workshops and/or special exhibitions coming up?

Clark: Workshops start in the gallery mid-May and run through October. There is a full list of them on the gallery website.

How/where can we connect with you online?

Clark: Website: lucyclarkgallery.com. Instagram: @lucyclarkgalleryandstudio & @lucyclarkartist. Blog: lucyclarkpottery.wordpress.com

Ann Sharpsteen is a local Brevard Realtor with Sterling Real Estate Partners and founder of the “I Love Brevard” blog. She can be reached at 828-606-2141 and online at ILoveBrevardblog.com.

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