Spiral-themed artwork featured in library gallery through May

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The new art display in the Cartersville Public Library gallery is a little different than anything that’s hung there before. 

North Druid Hills artist Tori Price of Luna Leigh Arts chose to show her spiral series, a collection of 12 paintings that all feature a spiral of some sort, in the exhibit, which patrons can view through the end of May.  

“My spiral show here is all about the pattern of the spiral and how that shows up in different places throughout the world and in our universe, too,” she said at her artist reception Tuesday evening. “I feel like, as an artist, my job is to see different patterns in the world and then present them in a way that people can be like, ‘Oh, I never thought about that before,’ and kind of expand their world view.”

Price, 28, said four of the 16 paintings in the series, which she created in 2017 and finished and showed for the first time last year, have been sold, but the remaining 12 are hanging in library gallery.

She also said the spiral series is “my favorite thing I’ve ever created.”

“I think it’s my best work I’ve ever made so far,” she said. “I kind of leveled up my work and really focused hard on what I was capable of making as an artist. This was the first series I created, but it was the first thing I made with true intention. Instead of just playing and seeing what happens and that kind of thing, which I really enjoy, too, I was like, well, let me think about this and let me study it and let me do some research and let me put these thoughts together in a way that I can present them. Instead of going with my fleeting thoughts, let me explore deeper into this concept.”

Adult services assistant Meghan Stipe, who’s in charge of the gallery, said she loves Price’s work because it’s “all about positivity, perfect for spring.”

“I like it because of the bright colors, and I like how there’s a running theme through the whole thing, like it’s actually meant to be shown together, which is different than some,” she said. “And I like the process behind it. She has her story to go along with it and what it means to her and everything.”

Price, who learned of the library exhibits last fall from a Facebook post her mom shared with her, said her inspiration to paint a series of pieces featuring spirals came from her childhood.

“I’ve created spirals in my artwork since I was a little girl, and I don’t know if you’ve ever heard people say, ‘If you ever kind of lose sight of what you’re interested in or who you are, look back to your childhood and see what you did there’ so I like to get some inspiration from what I created long ago because I know it’s still a part of me,” she said. 

Her other inspiration is “definitely nature,” said the Marietta native, who is exhibiting at the library for the first time but does other shows around metro Atlanta. 

“Most of my work is inspired by nature and energy,” she said. “I like to see the beauty in what surrounds us in our natural world and how that reflects in our inner world. I guess I like to pay attention to nature because in the end, we’re nature, too, even though we see ourselves as very separate. So whenever I see something happening in nature, to me, I think that that’s a message for me and my life.”

She also said when people spend more time out in nature, “we kind of come back to our most natural selves, and then when we’re in our natural selves, we can spread love a lot easier.”

The self-taught artist describes her work as “very colorful, full of energy.”

“My goal when I create artwork is to help people see the world in a new light and kind of spread some joy and positivity into the world and really make them wonder about what’s going on beneath the surface of their everyday life and kind of think in a grander scale of things,” she said. 

While art has been part of her life since she was a child, Price said she didn’t start painting until 2014, even though people kept asking her in high school and college why she wasn’t in Advanced Placement art or majoring in art.

“I was managing a children’s art studio, and after I taught a class, we had some extra paint and materials, and I just started painting,” she said. “I was like, ‘Whoa, I love the way this makes me feel,’ and what I was making turned out way better than I thought it would. I was like, it’s time to explore this new curiosity.”

Instead of majoring in art, Price earned a degree in psychology from Furman University in South Carolina, which helps her with her creative sideline. 

“My view of psychology kind of informs my work, and I’m really interested in how creating art and viewing art can improve well-being,” she said. “A lot of what I make is intuitive, coming from the place of playing and exploring, and that kind of thing really opens you and can affect mental health in a big way. I want people to see my work and have them feel that ‘ahh’ feeling or a ‘hmm’ feeling. It’s kind of hard to describe.” 

Price, who graduated from The Walker School in Marietta, enjoys “so many things” about creating art that she couldn’t narrow it down to one or two favorites.

“Usually when I paint, it’s kind of like a meditative process for me, and so I get to explore myself while I paint, which is a really good feeling,” she said. “It gets me in this flow state where nothing else exists outside of what I’m doing there, and it’s just me and my art.”

She also likes the aspect of making something from nothing.

“You have this white canvas, and there’s nothing on it, and you’re creating this thing from nothing, which I think is amazing,” she said. 

Price said the artistic process brings out the emotions and vulnerability in the artist.

“You’re creating something from your inner world and your inner mind, and you are allowing people to see within that realm of yourself so it’s really kind of a vulnerable thing to show your art,” she said. “Most artists are connected to their work emotionally. It means something to them. It has a lot of meaning in their lives. It’s a way for me to be vulnerable with myself during the process and then be vulnerable with other people when it’s completed.”

Another good thing about art is it doesn’t have to be perfect.

“A lot of people think that making art is all about having whatever’s in your mind look exactly like what you’re creating, and I purposely don’t create with an expectation in mind because you’re never going to make what’s in your head,” Price said. “Your mind is incredibly expansive — it’s infinite — and what you are able to do, putting that into art, especially when you’re first starting out, that’s such an unrealistic expectation.”

While she’s not making her living as an artist — being a nanny is her full-time gig — Price said she used to be an art teacher for ages 2-18 in after-school programs and homeless shelters, and she managed the youth program at the Chastain Arts Center in Buckhead and a children’s art studio in Roswell.  

“I basically tried to do all the ways I could teach children art without teaching in a school because I don’t want to put myself in a box quite yet,” she said, noting becoming a full-time artist is one of her long-term goals. “I like to change and mold as I need to.”