Visions of Memphis
The amount of talent and creativity in this city is incredible. Memphis truly is a city of dreamers and doers and we are thrilled to get to play a part in that every May. We saw the talent first hand as submissions for our Visions of Memphis open call came in each day.
All 20 submissions depict something unique about Memphis. View each submission below, along with the artist statement, and then click here to vote and help decide what original piece of art will be used as the 2019 Fine Arts Poster.
Art Medium: Ink pens, acrylics, colored pencils and markers
This painting represents the substantial growth of the community of Memphis, Tennessee during the past, present and future. This is executed by highlighting blues music, civil rights, sports, education and humanitarian attributes.
Art Medium: acrylic on canvas
Art is a strong contender for sharing our [artists] thoughts and ideas with the world. As artists, art helps us to express our own thoughts. Art also allows us the possibilities of opening new ideas, using our interpretation of ideas that we perceive. During the creative process my intentions are always to produce a work that expresses an absolute consciousness of what surrounds me. I am consistently influenced by everything that I see, hear, feel and experience. I truly like to capture the beauty in everyday objects and places. Thus this project was of special interest to me. Downtown Memphis is the hub of the city and embodies several elements that enrich Memphis’ culture, including its music, BBQ, and landmarks. This piece gives a glimpse of VISION OF MEMPHIS from my perspective.
Art Medium: oil on canvas
My goal with this piece, was to capture images of iconic people and scenery designed in a puzzle form, to give viewers an idea of the culture that is connected within Memphis.
Art Medium: Oil on canvas wooden board
I am not a Memphian by birth, I chose to live in Memphis. To paint Memphis on a single canvas seems impossible. Memphis to me is not represented just by Elvis, Bridge or Beale street. Memphis is so much more. Memphis is its people. People that choose Memphis to be their home. People that are not stopped by challenges but build on history and persevere into the future. As a fabric we are woven together with our different cultures, languages, traditions and customs. That fabric is unique and authentic. Celebration of what each of us can contribute to our city simply comes down to a point: “This is Memphis, this is US’’
Art Medium: acrylic over goldleaf on wood panel
Dimensions: 36" x 36"
As a native Memphian, I have witnessed the transformation of our city into a diverse culture that has only added to its allure. Its geography has provided a framework for its comings and goings for these 200 years. Built on a bluff, Memphis has been a port for river traffic, accommodating the commerce of the city. The natural elements of land and water are the foundation of my expressive style, speaking clearly to my love of the river. Painting in layers, I periodically sand into areas to reveal the initial layers, creating a history narrated by texture and form, a history upon which our city was built.
Art Medium: Acrylic and oil on canvas
The diversity of Memphis from our past 200 years into the future 200 years can be expressed best by our children. As they grow and thrive in our town their races, backgrounds and religions are set aside as they each become Memphians. And as Memphians each contributes their own culture and passion to and for our town, that is, as long as we as adults and longstanding members of the Memphis community set the example for them to follow. Our past taught us lessons that should not be forgotten, and our future should create lessons for the benefit of all Memphians. My portraits of children represent just a sample of all who come to our great city. Their signs can be read "We are at home in Memphis", a rally cry of "At home in Memphis we are!", the reassuring, "In Memphis, we are at home", and a simple child's statement addressed to our city, " Memphis - we are at home in!" with positive meanings for our future any way it is read.
Art Medium: Digital painting
Dimensions: 30" x 40" 600dpi
Being new to the Memphis community I wanted to incorporate a few of my favorite places into this piece. One of those is the Mississippi River. I love going down by the river to watch the sunset and admire the light reflections on the water. I also enjoy the events and nightlife around Downtown Memphis. I incorporated the Peabody Ducks into this piece as well because they are a classic part of Memphis' history and community. I used to raise ducks, so they hold extra importance to me. In this finished piece you see the colorful lights of Downtown Memphis and the bridge reflecting down onto the Mississippi River, with the Peabody Ducks swimming along side.
Art Medium: mixed media (acrylic, oil and pencil) on canvas
I created a work of art that reflects my love for Memphis. The people of Memphis are filled with love, light and passion. It was my desire to capture icons and images of Memphis that are meaningful and make our community better. I want to highlight things that bring us together; like, really good food that nourishes the soul, the hard work and hustle of our people, and the very best music on the planet.
Facing our divisive past head on, monuments of racism and hatred that once found a home on our bluff are being removed or re-purposed. They have become living memorials of freedom for equality and civil and human rights. Our city has a generous heart that is tenacious and gritty.
My work purposefully includes colorful characters. I have chosen to highlight things that are our common ground, that are filled with hope and healing. I wanted to capture what draws people to our city from all over the world. I wanted to create a work that every time Memphians look at it, they discover something new that makes them feel proud and blessed.
Thank you for this amazing opportunity. My heart is truly grateful.
Art Medium: Acrylic on Canvas with Epoxy Varnish
Striving to match reason with passion while sucking the nectar out of life is the fuel behind both my process and my experience—it’s all in the details. Memphis is an anchor in both my personal narrative as well as in Southern Art culture with distinguished soul and character. My hope is to leave room for the viewer but nonetheless invite you into my world that upholds the philosophy of life in color through motion and emotion within the hues. As a devoted lifelong learner, I explore the relationship of releasing the internal into the external and intend to leave you with a sense of joy.
Art Medium: Mixed Media Acrylic on Canvas
My work is inspired by historical themes, family stories, current issues, people, music, sounds, moods, and books. I have been a professional working artist with a steady studio practice since I first began showcasing and selling my work in a gallery on Beale Street. Living in the culture of Memphis has molded my artistic direction and the elements of this painting speak to the historical and cultural beauty of what makes Memphis such a creatively beautiful city.
Art Medium: acrylic on wood panel
Our enthusiasm for Memphis encouraged us to combine our love for painting landscapes and our passion for the city. Using favorite textures, techniques, and colors while simultaneously portraying beloved local landmarks has shaped the path of our art and developed a deeper personal esteem for the beauty and history of Memphis. The work, “Tent Tops”, was painted to inspire community appreciation for the annual BBQ celebration and remind Memphians of the vitality and unity created through Memphis in May festivities.
Art Medium: paper on board
This piece is made from different wallpapers collaged together. All of these wallpapers are of my own design and feature an image that evokes Memphis. One image is of tasty looking pigs, one is an abstracted representation of the Hernando de Soto Bridge, another of the Pyramid, etc. The piece is lively, colorful, and bold, a representation of our city's culture. I wanted the piece to speak about Memphis, but in a more abstract way. The layering of the piece allows for layers of meaning. One image could never truly capture this city, so I relied on the layering of images and the feeling conveyed through abstraction.
Art Medium: mixed media on panel with epoxy resin
As a little girl, I would go to my grandmother’s home studio where she would not only allow me to experiment with different mediums, she would encourage it. I can still hear her favorite phrase, “there are no mistakes in art”. “Nanny” taught me to follow my intuition and I have done just that in art and in other aspects of life.
My art is expressed thru different textures and mediums and fueled by instincts within. I was fortunate to have been exposed early to creative freedom. “Red Sky at Night” is my version of the Memphis sky line. I am proud of my roots and being from Memphis.
Art Medium: oil on canvas
This painting is a replica of the way I see Memphis illustrated through abstract shapes and images representing feelings and emotions. The vivid, expressive colors and unique designs cause one’s imagination to explore more than just what the eye can see because after all, Memphis is so much more than what meets the eye. Memphis is a city filled with some of the most talented people I have ever known.
The left side of the painting contains 18 symbols that represent all the new new birth and renewal of hope that is coming into Memphis. The big orange ball located at the top left is a defined symbol to portray the fact that Memphis is an amazing sports town. Those who call the Bluff City home rally around our team’s win or loss with the grit and grind mentality. The symbol next to the ball is an electric shock wave that goes through Memphis each time a sport is being played.
Underneath this ball is the washing of the waves of the mighty Mississippi River. Some of these waves are very gentle, while others are all-consuming. The black waves represent the shipping of enslaved African American people to work on the cotton plantations. The red underneath represents the blood that was shed from the Civil War to free the slaves. The black triangle and the orange triangle describe a very divided country.
In the bottom under the black is a boat coming down the Mississippi to bring products for new industry and business expansion that is happening now in Memphis. Let your eye go back up to the top right and you’ll see the five spotlights centering in on the entertainment aspect of Memphis. One light represents the great Memphis music industry, while the second light represents performing arts. The third light represents the amazing culinary creativity in our city, the fourth stands for visual arts and the fifth is culture. Underneath the five spotlights is the famous Beale Street full of excitement. The timelessness of this world-renowned attraction is represented by the hour glass. The symbol under Beale Street is the crossroads sign. Memphis is a crossroads bringing tourists from all over the world to enjoy all the things it has to offer.
Under the crossroads sign is the spiritual side of Memphis. Religious freedom for all has been an important part of the success of the city - freedom to worship and pray. Then, you see a colorful path of stepping stones to pick the flower at the end of the path. This is Memphis in May when all the foliage is in bloom. At the bottom of the path is the white wooden fence protecting the flowers and the beautiful green yard. In the spring, Memphis is beautiful. The yellow on the bottom right, represents peace from the name Memphis, which was given by Andrew Jackson, John Overton and James Winchester, meaning “place of good abode.”
Art Medium: Digital Painting (Photoshop)
Dimensions: 11in x 17in
I wasn't born in Memphis, or even in Tennessee for that matter, but I have come to call it home. One of the things I love most about Memphis is the huge mix of cultures that really make it unique and amazing and one of the biggest unifying things across all of those cultures is music. Music brings people together and Memphis has such a rich history of music that I wanted to showcase how important music is to the city of Memphis. I wanted my piece to show how music wraps around the city and pulls it, and everyone in it, together.
Art Medium: Mixed Medium
As a lifelong Memphian born in the sixties, the city's rich music, art, and culture has always had a profound influence in my life.
My interest in the history of Memphis began to manifest and lead me to create works of art using various art mediums. After transferring my visions in works of art, I had a desire to somehow put them on display. So, to learn for the first time the MIMIF was offering such an opportunity to local artist was very exciting.
In my piece, I've captured two hundred years of Memphis' music history. Using bright burst of colorful paints and art papers, I create a collage telling a beautiful story of how Blues, Rock n Roll, and Soul music has feed the souls of not only Memphians, but also the world.
Art Medium: Acrylic on hand quilted cotton attached to fabric mounted on stretcher bars
I hand painted the magnolia flower on a cotton shirt. As the shirt wore out, I saved the image. I used a quilting technique to make the flower stand out from the blue fabric. The poem around the edges simply summed up my feelings about my city. I smell the lemony scent of the trees when biking in May. I added the yellow background for this competition to reveal the bright future I see for our city and used a textured fabric to illustrate the variety of people that live in Memphis.
Art Medium: Digital
With this piece, I wanted to capture all of the best parts of Memphis. I chose to draw a man playing a trumpet because Memphis is known for its music among-st other things. The other well-known items in this piece such as the Memphis Grizzly's logo, Elvis, BB King, etc. were added to further help familiarize people with Memphis greatest tokens. I also wanted to have a sense of motion throughout the piece, which is why I used so many lines of various colors. Another reason for my color choice is that I wanted the viewer to feel the vibration of the colors, which also contributes to a sense of motion.
Art Medium: mixed medium on canvas
My artistic experience is inspired by the many interactions with people. My drive for creating art is to use visual expression to bring awareness to a situation or educate the viewer in a way that may cause them to observe what they see in a different light. As a painter, I aim to create the change that i want to see and any kind of influence or interaction with my current environment blends into my production as an artist. As a resident of Memphis, I am inspired by the daily interaction with different people from all walks of life, moreover I am amazed and inspired by the diversity and positive progress in this city. In addition, the variety of local live music, concerts and the arts scene here in Memphis are unmatched. This place is creatively unique and that is what makes it more inspiring to not only just be an artist, but to be an artist right here, right now in Memphis. This festive community makes it much that easier to create freely and unbounded. To create you must have a sense of some bit of freedom.
Art Medium: acrylic paint
I look out windows to find myself. I see dreams in the sky for paintings. So I dream with paint.
- Beale Street Music Festival
- World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest
- Great American River Run
- Celebrate Memphis
- Student Exchange Program
- For Educators