Charleston-based artist Blakely Little’s love of her home city is a recurring motif in her artwork. Her newest series, “The Color of Home”, is a collection of windows and porches, each sketched in a different private residence. So it was only fitting that to launch the collection, Blakeley hosted an intimate dinner party that felt more like hosting friends at home than gallery exhibition. She partnered with design firm Basic Projects to use one of their renovation spaces, a beautiful 1900’s corner store turned jazz bar. Basic Projects is also the team behind Basic Kitchen, a Charleston restaurant, who created a family-style meal for the night. A local home furnishing store helped outfit the space and Blakely herself designed the florals and fruit centerpiece inspired by the namesake painting in the collection.
What was your inspiration for this art collection?
‘The Color of Home’ was an ode to what your favorite porch feels like under your bare feet or the way the sun spilled in window of your childhood home. I hoped the paintings reminded viewers of the coastal breeze, the fresh oranges they picked themselves and the falling into a rocking chair at the end of a long day at the beach. I wanted to capture the elements that make the coast feel, taste, and look like home, because to me that is where I find comfort, and ease.
How did the event’s decor and ambiance complement the collection?
I chose a dilapidated, yet historic space in downtown Charleston, and had the vision to paint the whole interior white. Once we cleared the cobwebs and dust, and the paint was laid across, the crown molding, beams, and
large windows looked beautifully restored. This created the perfect backdrop for the paintings to take center stage.
From there, Celadon Home made some magic happen! They layered sisal and antique Turkish rugs to warm up the space, and give it a collected feel. The tables and bar were worn wood paired with white cotton sofas and brass metal chairs. These elements really played off the coastal vibes. We hung three large dramatic, yet natural looking beaded chandeliers which elevated the entire environment.
Finally, I created a tablescape that would contrast the blues of the paintings. A top a raw linen runner, I lined the table with warm colored citrus and poppies. Then, to tone the color down a bit, we added gorgeous large artichokes, and sprigs of fern. I wanted the elements to reflect things we would normally have at our home, fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants.
When did you discover your love of art and how have you transformed that into a career?
Growing up, I was always crafty. I love taking random materials and objects and turning them into something else. In high school, I ended up getting more into painting, but still wasn’t really considering becoming an artist. It wasn’t until studying Arts Management and Studio Art at the College of Charleston, that I realized my deep passion for art. I ended up going to SACI, an art school in Florence, Italy for a semester and that changed everything. My professors there really encouraged me to allow my personality to shine through the style and subject matter of my work. I was hooked! Upon moving back to Charleston with some direction in style, my good friends Lulie Wallace and Teil Duncan encouraged me to give it a go. So, I worked doing floral design for weddings, and painted at night and on the weekends. Slowly but surely, the Arts Management and the Studio Art degrees began to kick in and the art was improving, and I was figuring out the business side. I did about two years of working another job while painting, and then I was able to go full time.
Now that you’ve started to get into the swing of being a full-time artist, what’s next for you?
Right now, I’ve have a collection out with Anthropologie, which was a total dream come true for me! This summer I have a few pop up shows in Charleston, Annapolis and Raleigh this summer, a show at The Captain’s Daughter in Cape Cod, and will be releasing my annual summer marsh collection in August.