Dusting off the paintbrush

Shannon Newlin of Southpark began Shannon Newlin, LLC in January 2014, where she uses her talent as an artist and illustrator in a variety of ways. After taking a hiatus from a successful design profession to be a stay-at-home mother, Newlin has revived her love of art once again. In the past 6 months, Shannon has been contacted to do her first art licensing deal and is in the middle of developing a new collection for them.

She will be also be exhibiting for the first time at "Vintage Charlotte" on June 14th at the Fillmore. Vintage Charlotte is a popular pop-up market that features local artists, handmade crafters and makers, as well as antique vendors. Keep reading to learn more!

Q. What all do you do?

A. I am an illustrator and painter who licenses artwork to different manufacturers. I also sell original artwork directly to consumers. I work in a variety of mediums including watercolor, oil, acrylic, digital and pen & ink. I’ll also be opening an Etsy shop soon to help broaden my reach of customers.

Q. What drew you to art?

A. I have always loved art. I remember painting on an easel as a little girl and loved to explore the colors and movement of painting.

I had a professional career in graphic design, product development and Disney style guide design. Before the birth of my first child, I worked as a creative director in NYC for a multi-line children's product manufacturer. Once my son was born, I decided to become a stay-at-home mom, and my late nights at the office became late nights in the nursery.

This year is the first year both my kids had the same school schedule. I knew I wanted to get back to doing something creative so I picked up my paintbrushes again and started where I left off. Painting has been a great way for me to fulfill my desire to be creative and also have the flexibility to work from home and take my kids to all their activities.

Q. What has been your key to success as an artist?

A. I believe art has to come from within. There are many talented artists in the world. I think for artists to be successful they have to do what works for them and not try to be someone else. When you paint a piece of art and you start to feel excited about it and it makes you happy, chances are it will make someone else happy too.

Q. What is your favorite piece that you've created?

A. I’m not sure if I have a favorite piece...I feel like creating art is a journey. Each step leads to the next one. I do love to paint florals though and look for ways to incorporate florals into whatever piece I am working on...

Q. Do your kids love to paint with you?

A. Yes, both my kids love to paint with me. They join me in the studio and we all paint together. I love these moments. They are so creative and express themselves so freely through their art. I also love to ask them for feedback on what I am doing because I know they will not sugar-coat it and will give me an honest answer.

Q. How have you incorporated art in their world?

A. The art table is always open and we have fun picking out new colors and surfaces to paint on. We also talk about observations like shadows, dew on the leaves and colors. These observations come through in their artwork. They are at a great stage not to overanalyze things though, and just let the creativity flow.

Q. What all have you done for Disney?

A. I use to work in the Consumer Products division in LA developing artwork for various Disney style guides. When we moved to NYC I went to work for a several of their licensees developing infant and children's products for them.

Q. Tell us about your Disney's Infant Division "Product of the Year" Award.

A. When I worked for a Disney Licensee, my team won this award based on developing a new type of bib for babies. The bib was able to incorporate the look of a Disney character while the child wore it. It sold very, very well and we had so many re-orders that we were awarded this honor.

Q. What is the "The UPPERCASE Magazine Surface Pattern Design Guide" you are featured in?

A. UPPERCASE Magazine is a beautiful art publication that showcases professional artists and creative inspiration. The Surface Pattern Design Guide was just released this spring and highlighted 100 surface pattern designers from around the world. I was so honored to be included in this issue.

Q. Where can locals find your art?

A. The first opportunity to see my art for sale will be at the Vintage Charlotte pop-up market this summer at the Fillmore on June 14th. (See more about Vintage Charlotte and their pop-up markets here.) You can also follow me on my Facebook page (ShannonNewlinLLC) , where you can hear about future opportunities and placements coming up.

Q. Any tips to aspiring artists?

A. If it is something you are truly passionate about, I think you should go for it! Despite what many think, not all art professionals are gallery artists. There are many opportunities for artists to make a nice living outside of galleries - there are product designers, fabric designers, stationary artists, animators....the list goes on and on. I think it is important to get out there and see what is going on in the art world but still stay true to yourself.

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Twitter: @SNewlin1