"I live in a different world every day—and that's only because I can do something different every day."
"When I was taking a ceramics course, they told us to make six coffee cups that looked as close to the same as possible. I told [the professor], 'I'd just as soon work in a factory somewhere. Not for me.'"
Elayne first took the ceramics class in the late '80s when she took a 30-day leave of absence from her job as a nurse — and she never looked back.
Her work, created from anything and everything, is heavily influenced by her upbringing. She grew up on a farm in rural Columbus, Mississippi where she resides to this day. Growing up, her family had absolutely no money, but the farm had been in her family for generations; and with that came generations of "accumulations of stuff." She learned to make do with what she had.
Elayne's masterful use of color and pattern adorns found object assemblages, both two- and three- dimensional. Each dot of color, each stroke, is meticulously and precisely placed to create intricate patterns signature to her work. Her portrayals of Elvis, for which she is most known, are a not-so-subtle reminder that Elvis is, in fact, the indisputable King of Rock 'N Roll.
"Art takes you into some places that you never ever dreamed."
Elayne's work has been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine and collected by Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, and Brooke Shields—but she makes a point not to take herself too seriously. Her sharp sense of humor shows through her work, down to the titles.
"There's more power to art than a lot of people realize. It can make a huge difference in some people's lives."
"If I had a wish for the people of the world, I wish that everybody had a place to do whatever it is they like to do," Elayne said. "I have a room where I can pile all this junk, and I don't have to clean it up unless I get a notion to. I just go out there and play. I just start something. I usually don't have a finished idea. [The piece] might be in progress two years, or it might be in progress two days. I never work on something I don't want to work on that day because that's the quickest way to ruin something."
Her home has become a gathering space and a tourist destination for art collectors and Sunday school classes alike. Almost every surface—including the refrigerator, the headboard of her bed, and her studio floor—is covered in swirling, brightly-colored patterns. Outside, there's a 200-foot long embankment Elayne has been decorating with traditional and nontraditional mosaic materials for years. Kentuck took a group on a trip (an "Artscapade") to her home last year. Flip through the photos below to see what we saw!
Elayne recognizes that not everyone will like her work—and she doesn't seem to mind. In fact, she laughed as she spoke about it during her artist talk.
"One man went all the way through my house [on a tour] and came back and he said 'I must've missed something.' It was not his thing—he just didn't get it! We have met an awful lot of people, and we've had an awful good run," Elayne said with a smile.
"It's been a real godsend, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
It's been a good run."
"Elayne's Idiosyncrasy" is in Kentuck Art Center's Museum Gallery and at Kentuck's Gallery at Hotel Indigo. We encourage you to visit to see this work in person! If you are unable to visit, please peruse the gallery below and view the video of Elayne's artist talk.
Museum Gallery: 1/23/2020 - 3/3/2020
Gallery at Hotel Indigo: 1/23/2020- 4/28/2020
If you are interested in purchasing the artwork in the Museum Gallery, please call (205)-758-1257 before March 3, 2020.
(Call for availability)
If you are interested in purchasing the artwork at Hotel Indigo, please call (205)-758-1257 before 4/27/20.