It’s Quite Fun to be Old
Cynthia Anne Brown
“It’s quite fun to be old. I only do what I want to do now. I didn’t think it would be this much fun, but it’s a blast, ” exclaims artist Cynthia Brown. What a way to begin an interview with an inspiring statement like that! But it was just as inspiring walking onto her property. Her home holds her studio, and it’s a sweet little haven that gave me goosebumps as if happy little fairies were floating around the fountains in the front yard. I felt immediate good vibes. When she opened the door with a warm smile, jazz playing, and incense floating around, the creative spirit was alive and lured me right into her idyllic space. She gave me a quick tour, and I kept thinking, ‘I love this place. How cool is this space? I want a place like this one day!’
Cynthia’s simple and sweet success story is one I find incredibly relatable, her story is of persistence, humility, hard work, and intentionality. She started in the Tulsa Art community in the mid-’80s and describes herself as “super shy and without much talent or confidence,”- which I find hard to believe. But aren’t we often our own worst critics?
Another relatable quality I found in Cynthia was an honest confidence that seems to grow increasingly with age. Cynthia explains. “It has taken me a long time. I was waiting tables, teaching school, teaching yoga, juggling many jobs, and wearing many hats but all the while, still making art.”
Though she has many side jobs (as most artists do), she had a 20-year career as a ceramic artist, with a featured item that was a national hit: Prosperity Cats. You know, the ones you see at the Chinese restaurants waving to you, symbolizing prosperity and good fortune? Well, they certainly did that for Cynthia and her husband, “My cats were really a big deal for me,” Cynthia explains, “they got us out of poverty. ” Cynthia and two other local artists, Matt Moffett and Lisa Regan, were all featured on HGTV. Cynthia’s moment of fame was making about 100 Money Cats live on TV because she received so many orders for them.
Ceramics to Painting
Though artists do not need to be defined by only one medium, Cynthia transitioned from ceramics to painting in 2013. That was also the year she quit teaching Art at Booker T Washington Highschool and Project 12. She remembers her husband saying, “Why don’t you try being a full-time artist, and let’s see what happens.” It was a lifetime dream of hers, and at 62, she was finally ready to pursue it.
Cynthia explains how she set out to work and worked like a “freaking dog” that whole year.
Cynthia described all these signs she had posted in her studio, encouraging her to Be Bold. Paint with Joy and Ease: prompts to counter and drown out any doubts still lingering in her head about being a painter. “I painted every single day, I worked my ass off and it paid off”.
Soon after she got into a world-famous workshop in Latvia with a three-week residency, a gallery in Santa Fe on Canyon Road, and her art started selling like crazy. Cynthia recounts, “it was in my 60s when it finally started happening for me.”
She begins her process by lighting a candle, smoking some herb, playing jazz, moving, and breathing. ” I always pray to the Creative Divine for a magic connection. I ask for this connection to touch my Art,” Cynthia continues, “I work from my heart, with spontaneity and intuition.”
Her Art is composition driven, colorful, and layered. She uses various drawing media in her paintings: charcoal, oil, pastel, pencils, and watercolor crayons. She describes her Art as mark making – and the unique patterns in us all, “When we make marks, we all make our own individual marks, my way of making marks is going to be totally different from yours.”
She sometimes works with her non-dominant hand so her critical, left, professionally trained hand can stand back, allowing her ‘child’ to take over. “My right hand is not my dominant hand, and it doesn’t have the same kind of control. I like that. I liked relinquishing some control.”
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Advice for Aspiring Artists
Short, sweet and to the point:
“Believe in yourself. Because if I had believed in myself, I would have been a full time artists in my 30’s instead of waiting until I was 60” recounts Cynthia.
Since everything has a process, especially the Creative Divine, maybe there was a method to the madness of starting later in life? Giving Cynthia exactly what she wanted- a colorful, layered, dimensional and spontaneous magic to the unique mark she has made with her art.
Ready to Plan A Visit?
Cynthia’s Art will be featured at Price Gallery in the Meadow Gold District of Tulsa as well as at Liggett Studios.
Local Hotels & Restaurants
While visiting the Price Gallery you will be in the Meadow Gold District of Tulsa on Route 66.
- Ike’s Chili: Tulsa’s oldest restaurant
- El Rancho Grande Mexican
- Howdy Burger
- Jose Records
Stay at the Campbell Hotel on Route 66.
Cynthia Anne Brown Ar
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