This February will mark the one year anniversary of Southern Grist Brewing. The three owners have worked their tails off, and to celebrate a year of success, I conspired with their wives to surprise them with custom art for the brewery. We commissioned one of my childhood friends to paint three portraits of them and their wives, as it is clear that the success of the brewery was a family affair.
My goal was to find someone who not only was great at painting faces, but who also had a vibrant and whimsical style. Simply stated, I wanted it to be fun. As I started scrolling through my list of favorites (yes, I keep a spreadsheet of my favorites), I came across my childhood friend, Alicia Maynard, and I knew that she was a perfect fit.
Alicia Maynard and I grew up in Coopertown, Tennessee. We rode the same bus and attended the same small country middle school together, which was literally located in the middle of a corn field. There were less than 150 students enrolled K - 8th grade back then, and most of our peers were the sons and daughters of farmers. Art was so absent in our rural community that the idea of creating for a living was nonexistent. Because Alicia and I are both now artists, I was especially excited to interview her and hear her take on growing up in Robertson County.
WCG: How did you get to be where you are now as an artist?
Maynard: My path to where I am now was a very, very long journey; and at the same time, I am still the 3 year old girl who announced she was going to be an artist when she grew up. I never ever questioned that. It was the only destination for me.
But growing up in a fundamentally southern, Christian home was not a breeding ground for creativity. And the fact that the home was located in a fundamentally southern, Christian area of the world didn't help. Critical thinking was actively discouraged, and painting "made a mess." But my mother always acknowledged that if I had crayons and paper, at least, she didn't have to worry about me. And they always told me I could be whatever I want, they just didn't know I was going to "be" it so loudly!
I knew I was going to college, and an art college was all I would entertain. I ultimately stayed here, earning my Associates degree in commercial art from Nossi College of Art in 2000. It would take another 10 years before I really got serious.
Instead, I fell into doing makeup. I learned about contour and highlight, depth and shadow, color and blending. After several years, I went back to painting for fun, and found that all my cosmetic training had taught me how to paint faces! That was when I decided to plunge forward.
I dropped my hours at work by half. I struggled financially for the next 3 years, just building my business, honing my craft.
And three years ago, I quit my job altogether. I paint, illustrate, make things, bodypaint, and still do freelance makeup. And I have never been happier.
WCG: What does being an artist mean to you?
Maynard: To me, being an artist is just creativity. It's combining two or more things that have never been put together to create a new thing. A brand new, completely original thing! I think more people are artists than would call themselves that. I also think being an artist calls on a large amount of bravery. Sometimes it shows up as anxiety, or tenacity, or (in my case) stubbornness! But it's all just masked courage.
WCG: What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work?
Maynard: My ultimate goal is to help and serve others. I have been given a passion and a talent. And while I am in this body, on this planet, this is what I am here to do. I prefer to help others express themselves in a visual way that they couldn't do on their own.
WCG: What two art-related achievements are you the proudest of?
Maynard: I got to design and decorate alien-saloon girls for the cover of Big&Rich's album "Hillbilly Jedi" in 2011.
But my greatest art achievement is being able to do this every day as my career.
WCG: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Maynard: Art is a lifelong journey. Every time you create, you grow and get better. Never stop.
Alicia Maynard resides in Murfreesboro where she creates out of her home. She specializes in helping people express themselves visually through art
“I am active in the Murfreesboro Art Crawl every other month. I also draw coloring books. My first publication was called GIRLS, and it is still available. I am currently working on another one based on the burlesque women of Nashville, hopefully due out this year!” - Alicia Maynard
SGB Featured Work (Jan - Feb 2017)
The Duke and Duchess of Ale
The Barron and Baroness of Brew
The Lord and Lady of Lager
Acrylic and watercolor on canvas.
Contact or keep up with Art by Alicia here:
Facebook: Alicia Maynard
Art by Alicia Maynard
Makeup by Alicia Maynard