Carrie Pearce was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1969. She has been drawing and painting as long as she can remember. Her earliest memories include a Walt Disney light-up table and asking her mom to draw her pictures as she described them. Pearce’s first major inspiration came from Ann Adams, an artist who drew with a pencil between her teeth. At the age of 6, Pearce was amazed at her ability and tried to duplicate her drawings with and without a pencil in her teeth. Pearce attended the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, where she graduated with honors.
In 2007, upon seeing DaVinci’s portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci, she declared, “I want to paint like that.” Her paintings can be described as imaginary realism. Although dedicated to the 16th-century techniques of the Masters, she also finds room for the occasional scribble, inspired by children’s drawings. Pearce describes her work as emotional portraits rather than portraits of people. The people are inspired by turn of the century photos that she finds at antique stores and estate sales.
Pearce believes that every artist is unique, and her works express her own vision, voice, imagination, humor and emotions, as seen through turn of the century children often with toys, confectionaries and other delights. “What you will find in my paintings are love, tragedy, humor, emotional upset, color, hypnotic faces, darkness, mystery, funny faces, hoopty-do’s and hoopty-don’ts; I also like to write a short free verse poem with every painting,” she says. “I think it helps the viewer understand my direction. More importantly, it is a part of my creative process. I don’t feel as though a painting is complete until I do so.”
Pearce is a “Living Artist” with the Art Renewal Center and was one of the 10 finalists for the prestigious Bennett Prize. This year she will participate in a number of exhibitions around the country, with updates available on her website. Studio visits are available by appointment. —
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