This Artists Reminds us of the Importance of Taking Care of Ourselves and Our Earth

Art is a medium of expression; a way for people to show the world who they are, and express what they have to say. Artist, Shaylen Broughton, has always used painting and art as her medium of expression. We discovered Shaylen’s work, and immediately felt her passion.

Broughton creates small and large works, murals, and paintings with many different materials, including acrylic paint and watercolour. It is no secret that Broughton loves the ocean… all of her pieces reflect the beautiful waters of mother nature- whether in technique, form, or colour.

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My art is simply the all-encompassing Mother Earth, nudging me to share her entangled memories.”
- Shaylen Broughton

Broughton’s passion for Mother Nature extends beyond the canvas. She donates a portion of her profits from all works sold to the Ocean Conservancy Organization.

We had a quick chat with Shaylen to learn more about her background as an artist, her inspiration, and future plans.

THE PLUS: Would you tell us a bit more about yourself, and your studio, SAB art?
Shaylen Broughton:
I grew up in Ashland VA. I have been painting for as long as I can remember. My Grandmother Grace was a professional portrait artist and formally taught me to paint with oils and watercolors at a young age. I continued studying art throughout grade school but when it came to choosing a major in College I went with a practical choice, Interior Design. I moved down to Savannah GA in 2008 to attend SCAD and I graduated in 2011. After working as a freelance designer for a year, I moved back to my hometown of Richmond VA in 2012.

I worked for a large firm in the field of hospitality design for two years before realizing it just was not the right path for me. I began painting again as a way to let go of the stress and anxiety I was feeling about work and life at the time. I decided to share a piece I was working on via instagram and ended up getting a few commissions from it. I realized at this point my true passion was painting, and maybe it wasn’t such a crazy idea to make a career out of it. In March 2014 I started an official LLC, and received my first large commission with Hyatt House.

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TP: Though you began your career as a visual artist, you now consider yourself an abstract artist…correct? How did this transformation come about? What was most significant during this process?
SB:
Starting out I painted a lot of landscapes, and portraits, or pretty much anything I was commissioned to do. While I enjoyed that practice I still felt as if I wasn’t fully connected with my inner self and would get easily frustrated trying to work from photographs. I began doing yoga and sound meditations every morning. One morning, I became inspired to paint abstractly with watercolor. It just came flowing out of me effortlessly…like a waterfall and I felt free and alive. It took me a while to share these creations publicly and when I did I was astounded that I wasn’t the only person who loved them.

It brought me an intense amount of joy to find that other people connected to what felt like my actual soul on paper. I have always had a difficult time communicating my emotions and this gave me the platform to do so. While I loved working with watercolors, I wanted to work larger and on canvas so I began experimenting with acrylic and different mediums to find what we now know to be fluid acrylic painting or acrylic pouring! I did not discover it by any means but it was much harder to find mediums and figure out techniques in 2014. This process brings me so much joy because 5 years later it still challenges me to really let go and feel my feelings, use my intuition, and create without expectation. It truly is fluid and I both love and hate that I can never recreate a piece, they are all completely unique!

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TP: Could you tell us a bit more about your hometown, Richmond, VA.? Do you pull any of your inspiration specifically from your environment? Or primarily from emotional exploration?
SB:
Richmond is a great place for artists! I have found a pretty solid support system in the community here. From small businesses to corporations, it seems like Richmonder’s really want to support the arts. As far as drawing inspiration, my work is most definitely an emotional exploration. However, I have spent many hours with my feet in the James River, trying to find my flow. When my mind gets too busy, to the water I go!

TP: Your reference mother-nature quite frequently on your website, as an inspiration. Have you always looked to nature for design inspo?
SB:
It has been a repeating theme in my work for as long as I can remember. When I painted representationally, I always preferred a natural setting and felt more frustrated with man-made objects such as buildings and cars. In my abstract work, it’s more about connecting to the feeling I get from nature. I also use a bit of the natural water source in my work such as ocean water or river water, to make a physical connection and capture the energy I am trying to express.

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TP: Could you tell us about your process when it comes to creating?
SB:
I consider myself a “fluid artist” which basically means my paint is messy and drippy, and is usually poured onto the canvas instead of brushed. I love this process, because it feels good.I love getting messy, I usually end up with paint in my hair and in between my toes, the paint is not only poured, it gets thrown, rubbed, scraped, pushed, pulled, swirled, you get the idea. I usually start my day with yoga and sound meditation. It is incredibly important for me to be in the right state of mind, in my flow state. When I am suffering emotionally, my work suffers too.

TP: Your work is bright, and the colour palette catches the eye– what draws you to these colours?
SB:
The colours I choose are always based on my emotions and what I feel intuitively drawn to. Most of the time it’s blue or purple because that is what feels best to me.

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TP: Do you have any exciting plans for new pieces coming up soon?
SB:
Well, I am not one for planning but I do have a lot of ideas swirling around. We will see where the wind takes me in 2020. I am excited to keep moving and flowing and breathing.

TP: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
SB:
I am always updating my Instagram with information about shows, process photos, and videos, so if this is something you want to see, you can find me at @sabartstudio. If you’d like to see my work online or in person please check out my reps. Crossroads Art Center in Richmond VA, BoJu Art in VA Beach and Laguna Art Gallery in Laguna Beach CA.

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