“Maturity and Its Muse” Exhibit - Artist Interview Series Five

 By Roxanne Phillips

We present to you our final interview presented in conjunction with our "Maturity and Its Muse: Celebrating Artistic Experience 2021" exhibit at Art Saint Louis (April 19-May 20, 2021). We are pleased to introduce you to artist Cynthia Correll.

Featured in Art Saint Louis’ “Maturity and Its Muse: Celebrating Artistic Experience 2021”: Honorable Mention recipient Cynthia Correll, Ballwin, MO. “The Third Act.” 2020. Mixed Media, 20”x16”. SOLD.
Artist’s statement: “As a book artist and communication architect, I have a passion for creating with mixed media. Turning seventy this year prompted me to seriously ponder the final phase of my life. How do I summon some enthusiasm for my future? My inspiration comes from the last and most important segment of a play—the third act. Isn’t this where we experience the most exciting scenes, and everything comes together?”

Roxanne Phillips: Describe your artistic process/technique
Cynthia Correll
: I love to combine words, images and structure in surprising ways. Sometimes I begin with the words and other times I start with a concept or image in my mind. From there, I enjoy the challenge—like solving a puzzle—of getting to a place where the piece feels joyful.

Cynthia Correll. “Rainfall Eclipse of the Sun.” 2021. Watercolor, Pen, 5.5”x5.5”. NFS.

RP: What is the biggest point of inspiration for your artwork?
CC: My inspiration comes from my spiritual beliefs and a vision for a world built around love, joy and freedom.

Cynthia Correll. “Audrey's River Song.” 2002. Mixed Media, 29.5”x7”x1”. NFS.

RP: What is the best thing about St. Louis for your art practice?
CC: I feel blessed to live in a region where the arts community is celebrated and thriving. There are so many opportunities to learn and be inspired by a variety of art classes and artist exhibitions.

St. Louis area artist Cynthia Correll.

RP: What was it that first prompted your career/activity as an artist? When did you begin to know what your art is about?
CC: Years ago, when I took a Book Arts class at the Athenaeum in San Diego, I discovered a form of mixed media (combining words, images and structure) that has fascinated me ever since. I joined the San Diego Book Arts Guild and exhibited a number of art pieces in California and Colorado. Later, as a marketing consultant, I engaged my artistic skills and became known as the Communication Architect for creating visuals that simplify complex ideas. Last year, when I left my business in order to focus on my art full-time, I thought I had to reinvent myself as an artist. So, I set about experimenting and researching to find my niche. It was a pleasant surprise when my pursuits led me back to my first love—mixed media and creating with words, images, and structure.

Cynthia Correll. “Interiors.” 2003. Mixed Media, 33”x4”x1.25”. NFS.

RP: Describe your path from deciding you want to be an artist to becoming one.
CC: I have always wanted to be a full-time artist. In 2019, I converted my dining room into an art studio. Not long after, I decided to leave my business and focus on my art full-time. During the pandemic, I let my curiosity rule and followed my research from one amazing artist to another. Reading art history books, following the world's great art museums online, taking online exhibition tours and eventually enrolling in art classes via zoom. That led to some wonderful experimenting with a variety of mediums. I discovered watercolor and art journaling and began posting on Instagram. I also searched the local galleries for Calls for Entry. I exhibited a couple of mixed media pieces. "Maturity and Its Muse: Celebrating Artistic Experience 2021" at Art Saint Louis was my first juried show. I was thrilled to have my piece receive an award and have a buyer.

Cynthia Correll. “Sun Cognito.” 2021. Watercolor, Pen, 5.5”x5.5”. NFS.

RP: What is it that you are most eager to convey through your art/ how do you want the viewer to receive or interpret or your art?
CC: My intention is to convey surprise, joy, playfulness or evoke a positive mind shift.

Cynthia Correll at work in her studio.

Artist Cynthia Correll in her Ballwin, MO studio.

RP: Do you have a studio routine? Most creative time of day to work? Process of thinking or setting up before you begin making?
CC: I like to walk in nature and let my intuition be my guide in the creative process, especially if I'm stuck on something. Often, I will design a piece in my head before I start working.  

Cynthia Correll. “Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Shake before reading.” 2002. Mixed Media, 7"x3.5"x3.5". NFS.

RP: What advice would you give your younger artist self?
CC: Make time for creative outlets and don't compare yourself to others.

Cynthia Correll. “Ampersand Window.” 2021. Watercolor, Pen, 5.5”x5.5”. NFS.

Cynthia Correll. “Ampersand Relief Map.” 2021. Watercolor, Pen, 5.5”x5.5”. NFS.

Cynthia Correll. “Ampersand Masquerade.” 2021. Mixed Media, 5.5”x5.5”. NFS.

RP: On what are you currently working?
CC: This year I've created two themed art journals and starting a third. My artist colleagues are encouraging me to publish one of the journals, so that may be the next thing. I'm also in the process of adding another dimension to my mixed media work—something called "experience design" which is related to performance art.

Artist Cynthia Correll in her St. Louis area studio.

Learn more about Cynthia Correll: www.instagram.com/cynthiacorrell/ and www.cynthiacorrell.com and www.facebook.com/correllcynthia
Roxanne Phillips
is an artist and art educator based in St. Louis since 2001. She earned a MFA in Printmaking & Drawing from Washington University in St. Louis and BFA in Painting & Drawing from University of North Texas. Roxanne is an adjunct art instructor at Washington University in St. Louis and has worked with Art Saint Louis since 2017 as Administrative Assistant and Installer. From 2018-2020 she was Master Printer for Pele Prints. Her works have been featured in numerous exhibitions throughout the St. Louis region including at Art Saint Louis, Crossroads Art Studio & Gallery, and St. Louis Artists’ Guild. Her work is currently available at Union Studio in St. Louis. She has served as exhibit Juror for several regional exhibits & art fairs. Roxanne is past Board member of St. Louis Women’s Caucus for Art.