Charleston’s rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture have long inspired a community of artists. Among them is Haley Mathewes, a talented artist whose expressive style captures the essence of the female form and contemporary abstracts. Her body of work includes hand-cut collages and modern landscapes, each piece carrying a unique expressionist style that captures the eye and the heart. We had the opportunity to catch up with Haley and ask her about the influence Charleston has had on her work, the creative and technical process behind her art, and her tips for interior designers interested in acquiring a custom piece.
What inspired you to pursue a career in fine art, and how did your journey begin?
I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t drawing or painting or doing something with my hands simply for the sake of creativity. I studied communication and costume design in college before working in high end retail where I did a lot of visual merchandising and displays. All throughout that time, I painted just for fun. It wasn’t until a dear friend kicked me into gear and got me started professionally. It’s been the most incredible and rewarding journey ever since. I am so grateful.
How does the city of Charleston influence your artistic style, and how does it shape your creative process?
Charleston is such a special place. I am most inspired simply by walking. I usually try to get in a few miles before I start to work in the studio - and I especially love to walk along the marsh or by the water when possible.
How do you approach the creation of your figures, and what techniques do you use to bring your subjects to life?
As far as my creative process, I am no holds barred. I take the pressure off of myself by allowing myself to “mess up” - I think this is the most fun and freeing way to create, and I often find that the freedom to make “mistakes” results in my best work.
How do you manage to achieve such a harmonious balance between colors, textures, and composition in your artwork?
I don’t typically overthink color or combinations too much. I love mixing my own paints, and I do try to let variety come through in the shades and tones of those colors for dimension. Because my style is typically abstract, it’s proportion I like to play with most. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I do try to strike balance even if the proportions within a piece are funky. To me, the magic is knowing when to say when - it’s always hard to stop but restraint is key in my opinion!
Our design community loves incorporating your pieces into their spaces, what do you feel is most important when bringing art into your home?
I think artwork is incredibly subjective and personal. My motto is if it makes your heart sing, go for it.
From figure paintings, abstract artwork, drawings, illustrations, to collages, your work has a great range, what is your favorite to work on?
That’s a hard question to answer because the truth is, I like doing a bit of everything! I do love collages - they feel like abstract puzzles and are very satisfying to make.
How has your artistic style evolved over time, and what factors have contributed to this growth and development?
I have been fortunate to work with so many lovely people through my commission-work. I feel that because every situation is unique and the context is always different, that I’ve been pushed to create things for specific spaces I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to do - this has certainly broadened my range.
The FP Design Services team greatly appreciates your custom commission capabilities. What recommendations would you give to someone who is interested in acquiring a personalized piece with specific colors?
Just ask! I love making things work and I love making people happy. I do find that seeing photos and swatches of a project is a very efficient way to get on the same page for a commission without a lot of back and forth.
Why Fritz Porter?
Sarah Hamlin’s vision, the store aesthetic, the expertise, the team, the clients, the space itself make it an honor, a privilege, and an ever-evolving adventure that I am so grateful to be a very small part of.
A Charleston, South Carolina based artist with a background in costume design and fashion retail, Haley's main field of subject is not surprisingly, the female form. In addition to figurative studies, Haley’s body of work includes hand-cut collages, contemporary abstracts, and modern landscapes. Characteristic of her work is an expressionist style and layered media ranging from charcoal and plaster to acrylic, watercolor and gouache.