Art is a tool not only as a means to express, but to engage the viewer. Some artists have to work hard to maintain their skill of expression while others seem to flow effortlessly onto their chosen canvas. Laurie Maves is one such artist who was born to share her creative expression with the world.
Creating art for Maves has been a part of her life ever since she can remember. “Getting art supplies I was like a kid in a candy store, saying “oh my gosh, look at the new crayon colors” I was always drawing, always creating” Maves states “I remember having the experience in kindergarten loving to be at the easel, always loving to create art”. It was her kindergarten teacher that had noticed and encouraged Maves to pursue the dream and then reality of being an artist. It was this encouragement that stuck with Maves in her pursuit into the field of art and being an artist.
Not all creative people have the support of family when they first begin their artistic journey. They must sort through their family’s expectations and not allow their judgment to derail them. They must remain firm in their path and own potential, and believe that this will lead them to their ultimate artistic destiny. For Maves, this was the case. Her parents were supportive of her “hobby”, but were concerned this would not lead her to a paying profession.
Maves chose to attend the University of Wisconsin to hone her artistic skills in the form of a graphic designer, as this was the typical professional direction of the time that an artist had to choose from in order to make money. She did not connect with this course at all and ended up taking ceramics classes as well as an art therapy class her senior year in college. This is when everything began to connect, and her destiny as an artist was truly revealed.
Maves began to feel confident again about her artistic abilities and the direction of her life and how she could use whom she was as an artist to connect with and help people through art therapy. After completing grad school Maves received her Masters in Art Therapy. Approximately 15 years ago Maves arrived in Denver, Colorado as an Art Therapist. Being an Art Therapist puts you in touch with individuals that can be challenged either with their age or their mental ability to cope with day-to-day activities. Maves worked with geriatric patients, children of families, and mentally ill children. “It was very taxing and extremely hard to hear those children’s stories as I was also raising my own children at the same time” Maves explains.
Maves left art therapy and took a position as Program Direction at a non-profit called I Have A Dream Foundation, a dropout prevention program. This seemed to be a better fit as she had received a license as a professional counselor. Working in the non-profit Maves participated in the Leadership Denver Program. The last course was an art and culture day with the group being taken to Susan Wick’s Gallery Studio space. This was an “ah ha” moment for Maves as she declared, “this is what I want to do, this is what I want to do”. However, resting also in her thoughts and vision was “this is what I will do when I retire from non-profit. I will be an artist when I retire. I can’t wait to paint when I retire. Being an artist is really who I am”. “The interesting part of working at the I Have A Dream Foundation we would ask the children, “what’s your dream to be?” and my dream wasn’t to be a Program Director it was to be an Artist”.
It has been a slow transition since 2006 as Maves took other part-time positions while also showing at galleries around town that were satisfying her artistic taste buds, but she still felt like she was missing a component, as she wasn’t focusing on Laurie Maves the Artist. “It was really a soul searching journey as I didn’t have a lot of mentors step up and tell me that I could do this” Maves confesses and continues “Looking back at that now, whenever I meet young people, high school students or people who are interested in art I invite them to my studio to come see what it’s like. I want them to see what a possible career is like in the arts”.
Maves has finally reached her dream of being a full-time Artist. Everyone has their own journey in life and it has been Laurie Maves journey to give back with her art. “Everyday I keep developing my skill set” Maves states and smiles “My job is coming to my studio everyday, creating paintings for people, promoting that I am making paintings”. What a beautiful job of exhilarating artistic expression it is.
Laurie Maves invites you to join her to view her next exhibition “Dolce Vita” at the Chambers Centers Hirschfeld Gallery on the Denver University Campus, 1901 E. Asbury Place, Wednesday, December 5th from 5p-7p. There will be live music and refreshments. “It has been a year of change and evolution for me, as it has been for many, and those changes have been encapsulated in my newest works of paintings and mixed media. Please join me next week to celebrate this”.
Maves artwork can also be viewed on her website LaurieMavesArt.com. Feel free to contact and commission Maves to create a work of art for your own personal collection, as did Barbara and Paul for the “Poppies” painting above, included in writing across the painting were their wedding vows.
Maves is also participating as a “live painting” artist for the upcoming New Year’s Eve event, 11th Annual White Rose Gala & 4th Annual Champagne Hotel hosted by Kevin Larson Presents at the Hilton Doubletree, 7801 E. Orchard Road, Greenwood Village, CO. Visit KevinLarsonPresents.com for ticket information, special room rates available. Two Parties, One Hotel, December 31st, 2012.
Wendy L. Pitton R. is a culture writer for 303 Magazine and the owner of WENDO Productions. WENDO Productions is an artistic production and artist representative company. WENDOProductions.com