Artist to Know Right Now: Chandra Savaso

I love to learn about new artists. I love makers, shakers, and creators. I love to see people using their creativity. I love to chat with these people, especially when I am intrigued by their artwork. I found one such artist on Instagram recently. I commented on one of her works and asked if she'd let me feature her here. (She said YES!)

I wanted to be able to share her artwork with other art lovers, art teachers, and art students. I think it is important that students see that art is about creating. I grew up thinking that I had to achieve some mysterious level of success to be a "real" artist. (I may or may not also have been under the impression that I had to be an old white man to be an artist...I wish you could see my face as I type that...anyhooooo...that's a journal entry for another It took me well into my adulthood to understand that an artist creates. That's it. Period. Even if an artist doesn't share their art with anyone ever, they are still an artist. The need to create is an innate thing for human beings. 

Even so, I think it is important for students to see art as a viable career option. In fact, I think they need to learn that most careers involve the arts in some form or fashion. The critical thinking that the creation of art builds is invaluable to any path a person chooses. In that spirit, I also think students need to see artists who create for part-time income and as a hobby. 

I believe it is our responsibility to make sure everyone has access to the arts. I don't think it is fair to wait and see if/hope and pray that people will get lucky and find a way to be creative. I believe in giving opportunities!

So, I am using my little artsy blog space to show the vast ways people have the arts in their lives. This is what this post is about. 

It is my pleasure to introduce you to Chandra Savaso. I asked her the following questions, and she has responded for us to gain insight into her work. (Her responses are her own words.)

1. Tell us a little about yourself: what you do, where you do it, where we can follow you, anything else you feel like sharing! 

My name is Chandra Savaso I'm a 47 year old wife, mom and Southern California native. I'm sort of an accidental artist. I worked in finance for years, got married, worked as a makeup artist on weddings, film, tv, and runway.  I don't have a website but I'm on Instagram: RusticResouled and on Facebook under Chandra Savaso Art. 

One night (a year and 1/2 ago) I dug up an old paint brush, craft paints and a sheet of watercolor paper out of my kids craft supplies. I had fallen in love with an angel painting I'd seen online and wanted to see if I could  paint something similar. (Without a lot of hope). I finished it in about 20 minutes and thought, it was "okay" although it didn't look anything like the one I loved by that artist. My family and close friends saw it and encouraged me to keep painting.  

So now, a year and 1/2 later, I'm self teaching, (self taught sounds like you're done learning and hopefully that's never the case!) I try to learn and improve a little everyday.  I paint in my "studio" (aka, the kitchen or dining room) when everyone's asleep. I use acrylics because I've not learned oils YET!

2. What motivates you to create? What inspires your color schemes? I notice a similar color scheme throughout your work (the New Orleans one is different), and I find this interesting! 

I'm motivated by the desire to create something that reflects what's in my heart. The things I love most. God, family, country life (even though I'm a suburban girl). I paint angels often because the thought of them watching over us has always been comforting to me. 

The color palette I seem to gravitate to most is neutral tones of muted blues, greens and cream. But over the past year and a half I've started to appreciate and love more colorful and even more abstract styles of art. I read and study about artists (Old masters and current living artists) every chance I get.  As my knowledge and appreciation of art has grown,  so has my taste in different styles of art. I think at first I was attracted to art that I thought I could maybe replicate.  Now, I am at a junction of frustration, due to my lack of experience and skill.  I want more of myself than my skill level can deliver. But, It's impetus to keep me going to work and be better today than I was yesterday. I want to work more color into my paintings. 

3. Who is your favorite visual artist and why? Which piece is your fave by this artist and why?

One visual artist, the creator of the angel painting I love so much is Deann Hebert. Her work is so skillfully and purposefully unstructured! Her color palette is just 'comfy'. Like a favorite blanket or quilt that's been washed so many times that it's soft and faded to perfection.  I saw one of her Angel paintings and I swear, it's the first time I saw an art piece and thought, "How can I find a way to put that on my wall so I can look at it everyday?"

I respect realism and the skill and patience it takes to create it. But the type of artwork that captivates me most is the kind where an artist can translate something real he or she sees and paint it in such a way that you see it from inside their heads, a completely unique viewpoint. I also love artists that give hints but let you come to your own conclusions about what you're looking at. The artist Dan Mccaw, is such an artist. His work "Figure with Umbrella" is one of my favorites. His ability to convey light is such a gift. 

4. How do you feel about arts education? Do you advocate for arts education in anyway? Do you think it's important for others to do so? 

You are the first person to ask me this question! I believe that arts education is invaluable whether it be visual, music, dance etc.  I've only advocated for arts education in verbal conversation with friends and fellow artists. Mostly in stating that I dream of the day that I can attend school to be formally art educated!  I do believe it's so valuable (It's not a necessity, because creativity has no real rules or boundaries, but it is so valuable). 

I think that if a person has the opportunity to receive an art education, .... carpe diem!!!! What's the old saying " Learn the rules, so you can break them beautifully". Something like that. 

5. I found three pieces that I really love and admire: The Last Supper, The Bored Farmers, and New Orleans. Could you tell about those: what inspired them, how did you create them, anything else you feel is relevant? 

Thank you! I was inspired to try my hand at the Last Supper because I had Jesus heavily on my mind.  I wanted to paint something that would glorify God and His importance in my life. Like when a child draws something and shows it to mom or dad and waits for that smile from them. 

The "New Orleans" painting was originally a completed angel painting. An ugly one.  I hid it in the coat closet. One night, in the spirit of recycling, I took a healthy blob of gesso and painted over it. I do that a lot, even on paintings I've spent hours on. Sometimes you just need to let Jack go.

I decided to try a limited palette of only primary colors in both cool and warm undertones. (Because artist Mark Carder of Draw Paint Mix suggested it in a YouTube video). I had nothing in mind. I squeezed some paint straight out of the tubes onto the canvas (a sort of no no I guess?) and just started painting. It was just for fun and it ended up looking like Jazz musicians and felt like New Orleans to me. 

Bored Farmers was inspired by the original "American Gothic" by Grant Wood. It's a funny piece. It's quirky. I've pondered it.  Is the woman ticked off? Are her kids getting into trouble while she's standing for hours being painted? The man almost looks bewildered or hungry. But they don't look happy. No one did in photos back in the day. Smiling wasn't en vogue.  I bet if you ask 10 people their opinion of what the two are thinking, you'd get 10 very interesting answers and probably all different! For some reason I see Steve Jobs (in mine) every time I look at the guy. I should have put an apple or an iPad in his hand. 

Be sure to follow Chandra on Instagram and Facebook (see above for FB info).

Let's talk about ways we can use her story and her work to teach our students!


(Thank you so much for doing this, Chandra. Your artwork is beautiful.

I have shared this bit with you, but I'd like to share it here as well:

I have followed Deann Hebert for a long time. Your work caught my eye on Instagram because of the angels. It made me think of her. What made me reach out to you, though, was your subject matter. Deann, an artist I really love, sticks to a comfortable range of subject matter. It works for her. It brings more beauty to this earth. I love her for that. However, where her subject matter is predictable, yours is exploratory. THAT is what I wanted to learn more about!

I am so happy to be able to share this with my circle of folks.)