CH: I did sponsorships for large companies, so I traveled non-stop for 10 months out of the year all over the United States, Canada and Europe. Then, I would usually have two to four months off each year, and then I would travel back overseas to different countries and backpack around for two to four months. So, I did that for a really long time. I went all over Scandinavia, the North Pole, Eastern Europe, Africa, Central America and all over the United States. I usually traveled to a different city every week in the United States for seven years.
DTH: What has been your favorite place throughout your travels?
CH: I would say the North Pole. That was, by far, one of my most favorite places. You had to check out a rifle to walk around because the polar bears would attack people. It was pretty interesting.
DTH: When and how did you get into mixed media art?
CH: My grandmother is an artist from Amsterdam, so I have always been inspired by her work, but I have always done mixed media. Since I was a little kid and throughout elementary school and my art classes in college, I have always done collages and totally mixed media. I have tried to do oil painting classes or acrylic classes, but I tend to go back to mixed media.
DTH: Is there a particular style of mixed media that you tend to gravitate towards?
CH: I love using acrylic. I like using oil paint, but a lot of times, I will go to The Scrap Exchange, and whatever I find there, I will try to incorporate into the paintings. Or, if someone gives me a thousand silver sequins or something weird, I will try to incorporate that into the art, as well. So, I try to use what I have around in buckets or from The Scrap Exchange or whatever and see if I can place it in a painting.
DTH: Why did you return to Chapel Hill?
CH: My mom has a store in town, so I moved back to help her with her shop with the intentions of moving back to California after a couple of months. But Chapel Hill has changed a lot since I have been away, and I really, really like it now. So, I have been back for three years, and I love it. I thought there was no way I would stay, but I absolutely love it here now.
DTH: What inspired you to begin doing landscape work?
CH: When I moved back, I was not sure what I was going to do, but I have always done landscaping on the side in college and in high school. I could still be creative, so I really enjoyed that aspect, and it just kind of took off. I still get to use design skills. I get to work on my own. I get to be creative, so it’s been really good. It’s been different because I did marketing for many years so it was a total career change.
DTH: What effect do you think art has on the Chapel Hill community?
CH: It just seems like there is a lot more art and avenues for art here than what I remember. I have been taking green building classes in Pittsboro, and it’s amazing how many artists are out there that live on the outskirts of Chapel Hill. There are these incredible craftsmen, sculptors and potters, so that has been kind of amazing to discover. I had no idea that there was this whole culture of artists all around Chapel Hill.
DTH: Which of your works are you most proud of?
CH: There is a mermaid painting that I did about 20 years ago, and it has gotten me into a lot of shows like Spoleto. I think it has gotten me into Spoleto about three or four times, and that’s, by far, my favorite. It’s just a mermaid and mixed media, but it took weeks and weeks to do it, and that’s my favorite piece.