Landscapes and Color – An Interview with Chuck Creasy

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As many of our readers know, all of us here at Buttermilk Trace are involved with the Ads2Art charity art auction taking place at the Centennial Art Center in Nashville this weekend to benefit AAF Nashville, Centennial Art Center and Nashville Tools 4 Schools. We look forward to seeing all our local friends there {Purchase tickets now on Eventbrite for Ads2Art}.

To help promote Ads2Art, we decided it might be worthwhile to interview one of the many extraordinary artists whose work we’ll be auctioning on Saturday. In this case, it’s Chuck Creasy, who has been a powerhouse in the advertising and marketing business here in Nashville for decades, and whose work is well worth adding to your home collection (should you choose to bid on the auction).

Chuck was nice enough to submit to a mini interview with me, and this is how things went:

How long have you lived in the Nashville area and been involved in the advertising scene? I have lived here most of my life, moving here from the small town of Westmoreland (in Sumner County) when I was young. I have been involved in the advertising scene since 1970, when I went to work for Eric Ericson & Associates upon graduating from art school.

As an artist, what about the city gives you your inspiration? I think the music scene here fuels a creativity that carries over to all the other creative disciplines –and also the collaborative spirit of those in the arts.

You started your career in the 1970s, can you tell us a little about your early days of art study, and what it was like learning from masters like John Pike and Norman Rockwell? While I was still in art school I spent two summers in Woodstock, New York studying watercolor with John Pike who at that time was arguably one of the foremost watercolorist in America. From John I learned to not just look, but really see what was around me that was worth painting and the importance of value. John broke everything down to darks, lights and mid-tones. And the thrill that comes from applying a large wet wash with those beautiful subtleties that can only come from transparent watercolor.

Meeting and spending a week with Norman Rockwell in his studio in Stockbridge, Mass. was a real game changer for me. I had gotten interested in art by copying his Saturday Evening Post covers when I was a boy up in the country. He had great advice and it took me most of the rest of the summer to come down from that high.

How has your choice of subject matter changed over the years? Are you still drawn to the same things that impacted you when you began? My subject matter has definitely changed. Now there are categories that I seem to continually go back to for inspiration. One is the ocean (general seascapes, boats and lighthouses; the islands, et cetera). And two is music (portraits of music icons, and so on).

Do you consider your work to be of a particular “school” or art, or do those designations matter to you? Those designations don’t matter, and I tend to experiment a lot. But if I had to pigeon hole my work, it would probably fall in traditional transparent watercolor.

What do you want viewers to take away with them, after looking at your work? I feel good when people are moved by my use of color. I’m not a traditional colorist. My color palette seems to be influenced by warm Southern light or the brilliant light of the islands. For example, I don’t see shadows as gray but instead purple. My skys tend to go toward a more pink glow.

What mediums have you not tried that you’d like to experiment with? I would love to explore sculpture and pieces made of found items.


The Fun Stuff

Spouse: My wife Marnie and I have been married for 46 years and remain best buddies. We love to travel and have spent a great deal of time over the last 20-some odd years scuba diving the western Caribbean. We are both avid readers and enjoy curling up with great novel. We both enjoy music, the theatre and movies (good or bad).

Dinner Location: There are many here, but it seems we always go back to Jimmy Kelly’s.

Lunch: Oysters at The Southern

Store: Steinmart and Flip

Pets: We have two cats, Minnie and Pearl.

Neighborhood of residence: We live in Hendersonville near the lake and have a small place in Aruba. We can’t stay away from the beach for long.

Local escape: Tootsies Orchid Lounge

Cocktail: Jack Daniel’s with a little splash of water.

Jeans: Levis

Gadget: My iPhone, where I play on-line poker a lot

Reading: My favorite book of all time is Pillars of the Earth and almost anything else by Ken Follett. I read a lot of Native American history and am an avid scholar of Mayan history.

Watching: Gray’s Anatomy, old MASH reruns (seen ‘em all a thousand times), Biography channel, and music documentaries.

On your MP3 player: Ah, lots and lots of Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard, but also Big Band, Sinatra, Creedence, early rock and current Americana.

Charity: Boy Scouts of America, Nashville Humane Society, Native American Indian Association of Tennessee

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