Cleveland may have the worst pro sports teams, but when it comes to gifted talents, our city is not recognized enough for the talented writers, journalists, artists (studio and visual), filmmakers and other extraordinary individuals who reside in the area. To get great recognition in your hometown it takes networking, making a difference through mentoring and your philanthropic work and (eventually) making a name for yourself. In this Cleveland Local Artist spotlight S.C. Versilllee, who was born and raised here, tells us about her story as an local artist.
Q. What type of art do you do (visual, performing, sculpture, painting, etc)?
A. Oil is my absolute favorite medium, it’s very versatile and forgiving in comparison to say, watercolor. As far as subject, I really don’t have a fixed subject. I love the human figure, and I‘m attracted to form, contrast, dynamic composition and rich, deep colors. I also love horses or large animals with complex bone structures or accentuated musculature. My work tends to focus around strength and beauty, and the intrinsic power found in the natural world. I strive to tell stories with my work, whether it’s a simple portrait or something more complex.
Q. As a Cleveland local artist and native how do you incorporate the city or your neighborhood into your art work?
A. Cleveland is surrounded by a wealth of park lands and we are lucky to be situated next to a beautiful lake. Nature is a very powerful muse for me. The city itself also provides a wealth of inspiration; I draw references for my work from sounds, textures and colors, whether these elements originate from an abandoned factory, an old cemetery, or the lake during a summer sunset.
Q. Have you been featured in any galleries or openings?
A. Yes, I try to have work exhibited in at least two shows a year.
Q. What artists have been your inspiration in the past and present?
A. Contemporary artists whose work I admire include: Dean Mitchell, Phil Hale, Poteet Victory and Philippe Faraut. Past masters whose work I find inspiring include John Singer Sargent, Caravaggio, Ludwig Deutsch and Jean Leon Gerome.
Q. How did you get your big break as an artist? When did you know this was a gifted talent?
A. I wouldn’t say there has been a “big break” as much as just steady work; defining my goals, building my skills, and setting my art journey on a trajectory that I desire. My art career is a work in progress and I prefer it that way otherwise I would end up getting bored. As far as being gifted or possessing a special talent, I take Malcolm Gladwell’s view on the subject, what appears to be “magical” or a “gift” is more likely the result of continuous study, practice and dedication to your craft.
Q. Has your work been featured anywhere else besides Cleveland?
A. Yes, I’ve participated in several national shows, most recently in a summer show at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art in Marietta, Georgia.
Q. What local artists do you admire or have great connections with?
A. There are several local artists whom I admire because of their dedication to their craft and the quality of their work, one of those is Virgie Patton-Ezelle. I had the honor of participating in a four-woman show called the “Darkest Sisters” with Virgie several years ago and just being in the presence of a talented artist who’s practiced her craft for as long as she has made a great impact on me.