Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Art Space Talk: Ginger Pennington

I recently interviewed emerging artist Ginger Pennington. Ginger embraces a spiritualist philosophy with her work. In her view, she shares the energy of her soul with others via drawings, paintings, and other mediums. Thus, her works can contain both the positive and negative aspects of her life.

These two forces center in her work to reveal a form of balance. I observe an aspect of daoism within the context of her art. In a sense, she acknowledges the beautiful and the ugly with amazing ease.

Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "I knew art would be the most important part of my adult life by the age of 17. In high school I found drawing to be cathartic for dealing with new emotions and confusion as my mother survived a serious brain tumor. Before that time I always thought I’d become a musician, as I sang since age five and played the piano since I was nine. Weighing the options, I knew I should stick to the Visual Arts as career because I never minded practicing; it was difficult to make myself practice the piano as one should."

Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?

A. "Society always impacts whatever I create, even when there seems not to be anything representational in a piece. My messages now have a much more global reference than what I created in my late teens. Still, the constant theme revolves around beauty in the world or the lack thereof. Other themes that also recur come from issues related to health, 9-11, and crimes. Issues I’ve worked through and expressed in the past include the following: aging, loss, terrorism, death, the body, illness, loneliness, anger, escapism, peace, contentment, nature, re-birth, enlightenment, neuroses, grieving, materialism, success, failure, distraction, freedom, hope, and inspirational souls."

Q. On average, how long does it take you create one painting?

A. "Usually I begin to create a themed set of Three to Six paintings in two days. With the foundations started, it then takes about two or three months to have each finished to my satisfaction."

Q. Do you have any 'studio rituals'? As in, do you listen to certain types of music while working? What helps to get you in the mood for working?

A. "I get so excited to have a day of creation that it’s almost like planning a great party and then going to it. I must clean my entire apartment and studio first. I then lay out all of the materials that I will need for the day’s adventure. All of the anticipation is heightened after I change into my painting clothes, get the perfect sets of music lined up, drink a lot of coffee, and turn my phone off. Sometimes I’ll have my photographs or sketches lined up for visual references. Other times I just need to get out raw emotions and let the colors, shapes, and energy unfold naturally. I leave the window open in my studio when I work.

The best music for my process usually has few words and spans from jazz, ambient, trance, progressive house, or drum n’ bass. My theory is that music with words makes one nostalgic and can affect the thought process or subject matter. The genres I prefer produce a mind frame of direct subconscious energy and non-stop concentration for the right-brain mode of thinking to remain strong."

Q. Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art? If so, how did it help you as an artist? What can you tell us about the art department that you attended?

A. "My first degree is an AAS in Advertising Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in NYC and I am a Presidential Scholar Alumni. I planned on staying there for my BFA until 9-11 made me re-evaluate my life and its purpose. I wanted to show kids how art can help them understand and deal with life so I transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond , VA to earn my BFA in Art Education with University Honors.

FIT is a great school for understanding and mastering lifelong business and networking skills within the art world. It provides a healthy dose of the tough reality of the art world for a strong background to keep pushing and survive. VCU is one of the best Fine Arts Schools in the United States . It has the space and amenities to allow students to explore every possible genre of art one could think of. Also, their Arts Education department was so thorough and supportive as we trained to become teachers. I was completely prepared to handle the demands of teaching in public schools."

Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

A. "Most of my artwork is mixed media with a base of acrylic. I’ve never been interested in the traditional oil painting process because I am too impatient. Acrylic is best because I love working in layers and I also want to keep a steady pace all day long.

Once I get the compositions and colors laid out, I then choose whatever other crazy materials to add to the scene. I’ve used things like toys, glitter, sand, plastic, ink, marbles, wrappers, metal shavings, glue, and wire … and now you are dangerous because you know all of my secrets."

Q. Where can we see more of your art?

A. "My website:

My Flickr Photographs:

My Website of older works:"

Q. Are you represented by a gallery? Do you have any upcoming exhibits?

A. "Most of my artwork is at the Artemis Gallery in Richmond , Virginia .

I’m working on my newest collection that will be featured in NYC; I am still looking for the right place for this. In the next year I will have some work at the National Arts Club in NYC."

Q. What galleries have you exhibited in? Can you provide links to their sites?

A. "I have exhibited in several places. The links are on my website at the Resume page."

Q. What trends do you see in the 'art world'?

A. "The biggest trend I have noticed is an art scene that has so many boundaries and limitations while claiming to have "none". There is a disturbing viewpoint that praises the obscene and devalues real talent. All of this is subjective really, so I don’t know how to begin explaining my broad summary. I think the best and most meaningful explanation comes surprisingly from an analysis of the recent film adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations by Shari Hodges Holt, PhD titled "Dickens from a Postmodern Perspective: Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Great Expectations’ for Generation X":

…her gallery’s latest exhibit, which consists of rows of tall boxes, each with a hole in the center through which protrudes an enormous pregnant belly. Stopping by one of the boxes, she whacks the side, shouting, "Bellies out!" The resulting movement and groans from within the boxes reveal that the pregnant bellies are in fact real women trapped in an artistic simulation exhibited for the gallery patrons’ consumption…the dehumanization of the human subject at the dawning of commodity culture, the pregnant bellies, fragmentary simulations of life, suggest the fate of the subject in a postmodern culture in which identity is fragmented, commodified, and consumed in media images. The exhibit thus parodies Finn’s own birth as a simulated subject in the hyper-real Manhattan art scene, foreshadowing how his very life, transmuted into the art by which he has constructed his identity, will be denigrated into a commodity."

Q. Any tips for emerging artists?

A. ""Convey the passion of doing something you believe in-if it comes from you it will be new. Keep it coming from YOU!" - Joan Williams, owner of The Hall Tree in Richmond , VA and a wise, inspirational friend.

Also, don’t buy into the glamorized "starving artist" or "don’t sell out" theories. None of this is reality and there is no such thing as selling out. Having shelter, food, and a healthy life certainly is not unimportant. There is nothing wrong with growing up and being a responsible adult with a job to support your life. You can’t rely on someone else to do that for you."

Q. In one sentence... why do you create art?

A. "I always sensed that there is some thing, some message that I am supposed to spread; I have to get out the beautiful and the ugly things I see around me because they need to be paid more attention."

Q. What can you tell our readers about the art scene in your area?

A. "The art scene in NYC is huge and I honestly don’t know enough about it at my age and length of living here to begin to know all about it. I do know, however, that a lot of young artists seem to have internalized this insane persona or idea of what "real artists" are. I do not like the "woe is me/my life stinks" attitude and have a hard time relating to kids my age. Therefore, I prefer to go to museum functions or the National Arts Club. Possibilities in NYC are inspiring and endless and that’s why I moved back here last summer."

Q. Does religion, faith, or the lack thereof play a part in your art?

A. "God and my faith in him is always a part of my life- I see it in the sky, in nature, and in people. We are all given these little things everyday as a reminder to keep hope, faith, and excitement for the blessing to be alive. I think God gives us gifts so that we can share them with others and so they know that someone else does understand, that our feelings are normal and healthy, and that we will survive and be stronger as a result.

Art and faith helped me work out hard periods such as illness, 9-11, death, surgery, and opposition. We are all in this world living this crazy life for some reason, so we should all do our best to help each other get through it. God blesses us with life and gifts so we can use them for each other."

Q. Do you have an account on If so, what is it?

A. "I can be found on’s Global Directory and I am working on my gallery account. In the meantime, you can see all of my newest events and artwork at!"

I hope that you have enjoyed my interview with Ginger Pennington. Feel free to critique or discuss her work.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin


Anonymous said...

Hi Ginger When are you going to paint me? I love your choice of colors.

Anonymous said...

what wonderful work. the images are captivating. i understand you have a new studio in brooklyn. where abouts?

Anonymous said...

Hello Ginger,

Great Interview!!! Love your work and hope to see much more of it.

Robert Durant

Anonymous said...

Your art is amazing. Love it. Glad you found something that makes you
inspired and that you are passionate about. Congrats! Let me know if you are exhibiting in NY/Brooklyn anytime soon.


Anonymous said...

Ginger your work is really great. I can see how the pieces you choose to display coincided with the theme of the interview. I also checked out your website and love the works I saw there. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Ginger, you are so real. You have the soul of a much older person who has seen and lived through adversities but yet you have the heart of a child. You are so attuned to your spirituality and open to challenge whatever life brings you.


Anonymous said...


Most people posting comments on your site are listed as "anonymous" --however, since I was lucky enough to be exposed to your enthralling spirit as your guidance counselor in the 7th and 8th grades, I AM TOTALLY PROUD TO IDENTIFY MYSELF as I write this comment for your site -- The old sage that I am, it is exciting to predict a stupdendous CAREER in the world of art for Ginger Pennington. Emily Hughes, Richmond, Virginia

Anonymous said...

didnt i see you in shoprite near mcdonald avenue the other day. i was gonna ask you for an autograph, but you looked preoccupied....