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Modern Living in the Old South

Modern Living in the Old South

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Flower Girl – Artist Claire Kendall

With a focus on fabulous florals, a Charleston painter shares her flourishing talent.

Claire Kendall is not your typical artist. Squarely centered in the Millennial generation, the Daniel Island resident approaches artistry in a way that would have simply been impossible in previous decades; relying heavily on her phone, computer, social media, and internet connection, Kendall manages to take the art of collage to a whole new level–without ever picking up a pair of scissors or bottle of glue.  

Originally from Virginia, Kendall moved to South Carolina to attend the College of Charleston, where she majored in Corporate Communication and minored in both Spanish and Art. She went on to work within the wedding industry of Charleston, including a one-year internship with Cory Winn Lambert of Sage Innovations and later, at Branch Design Studio and Gathering Floral and Event Design. While lending her creative talents to the fabulous fetes of Charleston, Kendall became immersed in the world of florals, and quickly became adept at identifying flowers and assembling beautiful arrangements. She loved her work, but came to realize one debilitating issue: she was allergic to the very medium that brought her so much joy. She opted to finish out the wedding season, but when it came to a close, she found herself looking for other ways to express herself creatively.

As a child, Kendall had exhibited quite the artistic talent, and she took private art lessons for years to bolster her skills. In high school and college, she often created artwork for assignments, but it wasn’t until she was relatively free of commitments that she truly flourished as a painter.

With her wedding seasons behind her, Kendall found inspiration in the florals she worked with previously, as well as her lifelong interest in fashion. The artist was soon combining her passions, painting surreal images of fashionistas with singular blooms emerging where their necks and heads were expected to be. She loved the unexpected nature of the work and the positive reactions her friends and family members had to the paintings, and with the support of her loved ones, she decided to pursue her art full-time.

Still in her twenties, Kendall grew up with technology at her fingertips, and she utilizes it often to aid in navigating her creative vision. She traverses the internet for photos that inspire her; swiping through Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google Images, she collects the images that compel her to create. Sometimes, it is an outfit or a pose that catches her eye, while other times, it is a flower arrangement or color palette. Then, with her oil paint, acrylics, and water soluble crayons, she combines the inspiration into one cohesive canvas, allowing the mediums to take her in whatever direction they may. The work of Claire Kendall evokes a sense of simplicity, calling to mind vintage paper dolls and collages while still retaining a strong element of sophistication. The natural world is present in all of her works, while color, pattern, light, and linework are viewed through different lenses, often ambiguous or subtle. Her flower head paintings are arresting, a compilation of things that simultaneously do and don’t make sense, inevitably causing the viewer to linger on the unusual juxtaposition.

At present, Kendall is a rising star in the Charleston art community, with the bulk of her work shared on social media channels and in local coffee shops. She paints commissions and original works, consistently offering both larger and smaller pieces in an effort to make her art accessible to all. She has hopes to work with local fashion designers or boutiques, showcasing their work on her flower head models. And, of course, there is no telling what may inspire her around the bend, resulting in a new and unexpected path for the creative soul. Wherever her unique mind takes her in the future, one thing is certain: witnessing the painter blossom into a household name in the Charleston art community will truly be a sight to behold.  

By Jana Riley

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