Cammeron Batanides is one of the most interesting, versatile artists working in Wilmington. Her wide usage of mediums and her persistence will impress. She ended 2013 with live-painting for such well-known musicians as Michael Franti, and toured NC with the Jamaican artist Edge, as well.
She’s starting 2014 with artistic greater expansion, as Batanides began to write the column “Diary of an Artist” for a Jamaican newspaper. Her most recent work touches on the idea of endurance, as she states:
“Art embodies persistence, and an artist has to surrender to the will of art to yield the true satisfaction of what their art will dictate. Art does not take kindly [to] being rushed. Art will allow you to suffer the process of starting over if you rush its outcome. Your work as an artist is an indication of how well you have submitted to your master, Art.”
Dedicated to achieving her goals and continuing to create, the accomplished children’s book author has exhibited her art work locally and in Los Angeles and New Orleans. Over the past few years, she has become most well-known for her series “The World of the Creative.” Here, Batanides created a fictional world showcasing piano keys as sidewalks and music notes as houses.
Visiting the 28-year-old in her home-turned-studio is like being transported to the world of the creative. Her friendly pit bull Panda greets visitors, as her walls display paintings, while walls act as lean-tos for others which aren’t hung. Every piece envelops viewers in Batanides’ playful, fantastical style, brimming with bright colors.
Batanides’ home is just a reflection of her warm, inviting personality. Her passion and dedication to work is contagious, if not admirable. Her innovative environment is inspired by cuts to arts education, which plagues the state and nation. “I really want to focus on the importance of art as well as books in this digital world,” she states. Her commitment to the arts not only expresses itself through the fantastical creative world composed of music and visual paintings, but also through her published children’s book. With her rescued pit bull, Panda, as inspiration for the book, she promotes self-expression which she hopes encourages children to follow their dreams through creativity.
Although she has been focusing on her “World of the Creative” series for several years, Batanides decided to return to her watercolor fashion series she started while at UNCW in 2007. “Watercolor and I were not compatible at first” she states, laughingly. “I dreaded going to class because I didn’t understand the medium or how to really control it.”
Inspired and encouraged by instructor and acclaimed artist Ann Conner, she kept at it. “Ann was such an inspiration for me . . . one day it all just clicked,” Batanides says.“At the time, when I was developing it, people didn’t really understand what I was doing, but I kept working on it and it really paid off.”
Batanides previously displayed the fashion series in 2007 at Wilmington Wine when it was located on Front Street (where Wayfarer is now). Although it had commercial success and was well-received by the public, Batanides didn’t want to become locked into one style. “I had all of these ideas of ideas I wanted to artistically explore,” Batanides notes, “and that required me to put the fashion watercolors on hold.”
The series helped market her talent. Today, Batanides works on an influx of private commissions and often receives high sales at her exhibitions. After a two-year hiatus from the watercolors, she returned to them because of demand from her fans and loyal followers.
At her pop-up show at Fermental in Ogden, she will be exhibiting work from the “World of the Creative” and her fashion watercolors. Though the subject matter at first may seem divergent, the artists’ self-espoused dedication—most obvious in the faces of her figures—unite the paintings. Faceless forms populate the canvases and worlds of Batanides’ imagination. She says it started with the watercolors.
“A friend who was in the modeling business told me that the model’s identity was secondary to the clothing they wore,” Batanides notes. “Essentially models are a canvas for someone’s creativity. This idea of facelessness for creative purposes really resonated with me. As an artist I’m just a vessel for something that is so much bigger than I am. I have completely given myself over to my craft, so my identity is sacrificed for my creation.”
Her delicate control of watercolors make the dresses pop off the canvas. The outfits look both beautifully constructed and elegant, with vibrant colors and gorgeous draping. A green evening gown in “Lost in Through” revels in old-world elegance—something which will appeal to any “Downton Abbey” fanatic.
“City Girl” showcases a pink day dress which would appeal to an everyday woman. Batanides has considered fashion-designing.
“I am learning how to sew and would like to start my own line of clothing that is affordable but extremely fashionable,” she states. “I have about 30 or so designs I would like to base them off of.”
Once the clothing line is created, she’d like to have a fashion show merging the physical product with its painting. Batanides assures, however, it’s a few years off. “I’ve got to get better at sewing first!” she quips.
This weekend’s pop-up show fuels the artist’s passion and comes with a dose of instant gratification. “There is so much energy because it’s brief,” she says. Actually, the pop-up show carries on innovation from early 20th century. It helps keep them not only creatively inspired and working but fed.
“When the economy was not doing well, artists would rent an abandoned building for a week and stage their own exhibition,” Batanides notes. “This shows how historically the creative spirit [could] not be crushed.”DETAILS:
Cammeron Batanides Pop-Up Art Show
Fri., 2/7, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Fermental • 7520-B Market St.
Live music with Kyle Lindley,
8 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Free beer and wine tasting