I met Dorothy Collier of Dorothy Art at a local event held here in Memphis called Urban Barn Market back in May. Her art was so inspiring and unique I just knew she would be a perfect fit for a guest blog post. She create original oil paintings atop vintage book pages or sheet music, painting southern subjects relative to the background pages she finds for her paintings. During this Q&A session we will talk to Dorothy and get to know her, learn about her home decor, inspiration and paintings and maybe you will get inspired as well!
GAHS: What inspires you?
Dorothy: Everything that reminds me of my childhood and the idea of home inspires me. My grandmother owned two antique shops and I remember learning that those pieces were so old and that they had a story to tell. Her love of “the find” has definitely continued down to me. I love searching for older pieces for my home and use vintage books throughout my artwork. The old pages bring such great texture to each painting and tell another layer of a story from years past. I started using the books because I was finding them at yard sales or thrift stores and it was sad to see such beauty being sold for only pennies. Many shops told me that if people don’t by them, they toss them out after a month or two. Other inspirations include the deep south. My maternal grandparents are from the Mississippi Delta and it was always such a treat visiting them, driving through cotton fields to get there. Something I didn’t see growing up in Nashville!
GAHS: What is your decorating style?
Dorothy: Quirky antique? I love pairing something of old with a new piece from a local artist. A couple of years ago I found a primitive chair and sewed together these eyeglasses cleaning cloths that had an eye doctor’s advertising on them and recovered the chair with that fabric. I think it’s fun to see something and think it’s pretty, and then look a little deeper and find something unique and odd within it. Mixing a little bit of old with new is fun. Lately I have been liking the industrial trend. I just purchased some vintage Edison bulbs for my bathroom and some metal baskets for a wall in my kitchen.
GAHS: What is one piece of advice you would give a person trying to decorate their home?
Fill your home with beautiful things that bring you joy. Last summer we recently moved to a home in Midtown. I found it pretty hard to leave my old home which I had spent so much time filling with beautiful art. Although the actual process of selling was made easier thanks to a company like these local, yet legitimate cash buyers in SA that get it done, it was still a hard decision to make. While I was packing up the old house, I asked myself with every piece, “Does this bring you joy?” And if a little bit of me said no, then I’d donate it. My style has changed a little over the years and it’s okay to let go of certain items if they’re not speaking to you anymore. It made unpacking much easier than bringing in things I was no longer crazy about. It’s also made the décor in our new home have an overall cleaner feel rather than having many items cluttering up space. I want to surround myself with pieces that are unique and have a story to tell. Custom stickable photo tiles can be a great way to add art to a space. If you are a keen photographer, you can hang your work for others to admire. You tend to cherish items that you have made as it is a product of your hard work, so I would also have a go at making your own decor. You could look at making a neon sign from instructions from the likes of NeonMama.com, or create your own rustic shelving with old pallets; the opportunities are endless and will save you some money too!