Heather Deaton, Tranquility Artisans

I began drawing as soon as I could hold a crayon and never stopped. Through the love and support of those around me, I have grown and found my aesthetic and style, and have determined the purpose I want my art to serve: helping others grow and learn, as well as helping fill the world with beauty.

I have always been drawn to the idea of death not as a permanent end but as a step toward rebirth. In the endless dance of the cosmos, endings and beginnings are one and the same, and nowhere is this more apparent than in nature. Each season waxes full only to wane and bow to its successor, returning and ending again and again, circling without end in their destined order with no heed to the lives they pass by. This eternal dance of change inspired me to compose this piece, entitled “Spring.” From the death of winter, from the bones of the earth herself, new life begins to blossom. This shift is heralded by a songbird who has no fear of Winter’s cold, unliving visage because it knows Spring must and will return, bringing rebirth and new life as the natural order commands.

I grew up in a town of about 3000 people in central Iowa, and graduated from Ballard High School (where my natural talent was acknowledged and encouraged) in 2006. I attended Des Moines Area Community College and earned an AA in Liberal Arts, taking art classes (figure drawing, painting, illustration, and art history) as well as studying vocal music, violin, piano, French, and a variety literature. I proceeded to complete my BA in English: Literary Studies at Iowa State University, where I also took Latin, Russian, Metalsmithing, and joined the fencing club (which is where I met my fiancé, who challenges and pushes me to help me grow as an artist). In 2013 I moved to Denton, TX and attended the University of North Texas for my graduate studies in Library Science, focusing on non-traditional aspects of librarianship (collection management, digitization, digital curation, rare books, special collections, and graphic novels/comics in libraries).

I probably started drawing as soon as I could hold a crayon (I usually guess about age 3) and I have worked to improve my skills my whole life. I contributed to a mural outside my high school art classroom, and completed two murals in the Huxley Public Library (where I worked for about 8 years from high school to the end of my undergraduate work). My talent has been acknowledged since I was very young, and I am always thankful for that, but hard work, practice, tenacity, and resilience have been the driving force behind my confidence to start selling, and the resultant success.

Full Artist’s Statement:

I am Heather Deaton, and this is my art.

I work with a variety of tools to create, including paint, ink, colored pencil, pastel, and markers. Most often, however, I sketch an image in pencil then scan it to color digitally, meaning much of my work is “born digital.”

My goal as an artist is to take those subjects that are negatively portrayed or received and to pull their natural beauty out where everyone can see, to create work that is both dark and lovely, and challenge the predetermined perceptions others have about the visual definitions of both. My goal as creator is to help expand the understanding of those who see my work–even if only briefly–by challenging their views and portraying something that many would recoil from in a way that draws them in and sticks with them long after they’ve stopped looking.

I am a firm believer that art has the power to transform the world, and that artists deserve the respect afforded to any other professional. I love to help new artists who are just beginning to look at selling or showing their art that they, their craft, and their time are worth something (just as many wonderful people reminded me). I like to remind those who come to me and hesitantly admit that they too create art that they are as deserving of respect for what they do as anyone else who does anything else.

I also believe that anyone can create art. Natural talent can only take someone so far; practice and dedication are the real force behind art. It’s never too late to decide you want to be an artist, the only “trick” is in devoting the time to whatever art form you want to do. I believe children should be supported if they want to go into the arts, regardless of natural inclination, and I believe that someone who has lived their life all the way up to retirement without drawing so much as a stick person can take up any tool and begin to create. Talent and training help, but practice is what truly makes an artist, and it’s never too late to try.

I hope that while some of my ideals may seem lofty or even naive, they can continue to be a reality as they have shown themselves to be since I began selling my art in earnest 3 years ago. I hope that I can continue to change peoples’ minds about what is dark and what is beautiful. I hope I can continue to remind up-and-coming artists of their worth. I hope I will sit with many more people–children, students, adults, grandparents–and show them how easy the first steps to creating can be.

I am Heather Deaton, and this is my art.

This image, entitled “Flutter,” has been well-received at every show she’s been shown in and has become a crowd favorite. At ArtsGoggle 2016, the 24”x36” canvas print of her I had went to a permanent home with a repeat customer and long-time fan of my work. In conjunction with “Spring,” both were shown at the Greater Denton Arts Council “Arts Open Call” show in Spring 2016. 

“Flutter” was inspired by the nervous, exciting sensation of butterflies in the stomach, and became an exercise in portraying something normally considered dark in a beautiful light.