The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday February 2nd

The Beehive hair salon becomes a gallery of local artist's work

Paintings by Katie B. Cassette will be on display throughout the month of March at The Beehive. 

Artwork courtesy of Katie B. Cassette
Buy Photos Paintings by Katie B. Cassette will be on display throughout the month of March at The Beehive. Artwork courtesy of Katie B. Cassette

Art and hair collide at The Beehive in Carrboro, a salon that doubles as a gallery once every two months. This Friday, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., all the salon chairs and mirrors will be pushed to the side as local painter Katie Cassette’s work goes up on the walls. 

New collections flow in and out of the salon regularly, as The Beehive participates in Chapel Hill and Carrboro's 2nd Friday ArtWalk. The art then remains up for clients to view and purchase until the next artist’s work is put on display. 

Nicole Hopper, manager of The Beehive, said supporting the local artists is a key way that the business attempts to take an active role in their cultural involvement through the town of Carrboro. 

“Usually the artwork is for sale and we don’t take a commission, so we are hoping that if anybody sees something that they like they can make a purchase, so we can help support the local artists that way,” Hopper said. “It’s a great thing for — not only something for the community, that there’s a space for the local artists to hang their work, but also to expose our clients to some of the talented people we have here in the area.“ 

Cassette is the chosen artist for months of March and April. Her collection is called "Portrait of My Selves," which she said is based largely on vintage women with a flair of bold color and animal traits. 

“When I find someone that I want to paint, I will add like a chicken head on it — I love chickens — just something different,” Cassette said. “It’s just trying to bring something new and fresh into a world that I find so monotonous. A lot of those images are just women that I identified with.”

Cassette connected to The Beehive through a friend and mentor, Tonya Sink, a stylist at the salon. She said they formed a tight friendship living in the same town and recently Sink reached out to her to be the artist for these months.   

“I’m just really grateful for the exposure and the opportunity, for one thing,” Cassette said. “I’ve never done this before. I’m really excited to experience standing there with my art while people come in. That's never happened to me before. Just getting to talk to people and see how they react to it.”

Transitioning into a gallery for local artist is not the only part of The Beehive’s community, though. Owner Diane Koistinen said there also is local jewelry, soap and other beauty products for sale in the salon. 

Additionally, it hosts a themed art challenge every year. Various artists all submit pieces and The Beehive displays them on the walls. This year will mark the 12th art challenge hosted by The Beehive. 

“I like the fact that we are able to highlight different, local artists and let people experience some of their work maybe they wouldn’t have seen before,” Koistinen said. “Also, for us, it’s important to be a part of a community."

Koistinen said she would characterize the atmosphere as fun, relaxed and comfortable. Hopper, who has worked there for six years, said the art adds another unique layer to the salon. 

“It definitely changes the color palette in the salon,” Hopper said. “When stuff is big and bright and vibrant, it becomes a lot more cheerful in here."

Cassette said the styles involved in most of works and general way of life, and especially in "Portrait of My Selves," are in the attempt to add a bold vintage spin on the dull aspects of daily life. 

“The way I dress and collect things and live my life is my war on starkness or conventionality or mediocrity,” Cassette said. “I’m just starving for freak-ness or flair.” 

She said she hopes her work inspires viewers and makes them realize something about who they are. 

“I hope it jolts them with the bright colors and broad strokes,” Cassette said. “I hope it makes them forget the bounds of reality and helps them transcend that to embrace something new and fresh. I hope it wakes them up. I really want to wake up people to their own authenticity and rekindle the fire in their heart if it, God forbid, has gone out — to me that’s like the saddest thing in the world. I’m on a mission to keep mine burning no matter what.”

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