Local weekly paper covering regional news and events gets an interview with artist Campbell Grade. by Tara Collins AKA Twisted T

Campbell Grade - Losing Brain Cells to Linseed Oil
Campbell Grade - Painter's Tape is my Favorite Invention
Painter's Tape is my Favorite Invention - Wheaties for Breakfast

Now that we have stretched out, shed the “athleisure wear” and got vaxed, how exciting is it to see the world opening up again and adding things to our weekend calendars?! I for one, am stoked to be able to see some live music and go to art openings again! One Opening I am looking forward to is at ChaShaMa in Matawan. ChaShaMa offers 11 artist studio spaces and an exhibition space steps from the Matawan train station. It’s run by my dear friend and Asbury local, Donna Kessinger. The Opening is this Friday, June 25th from 6-8 pm with live music being performed by Johnny Nameless. This dual show called, “Headspace”, will be featuring the art of Kelly Benning and Campbell Grade. I follow Campbell’s art page on Instagram and contacted her about her art and this upcoming show.

What is your background, are you self-taught or did you go to art school?

I went to Elmira College and majored in Studio Arts. I took classes in a lot of different media: digital, sculpture, printmaking, and I pretty much sucked at everything that wasn’t painting so it makes sense that painting is what I continued to enjoy after school. I love painting because it’s tactile and mushing paint onto a canvas just feels good. Oil paints are even better because I can still push them around a week later because they take ages to dry.

Tell me about the art your exhibiting in the “Headspace” show.

I created this series because I had done some 10″x10″s, 4″x4″s and eventually found 2″x2″ canvases. I really enjoyed the challenge of working on something that small, but also with my limited attention span, they were projects that I could easily finish. When I was making these paintings, there was always leftover paint on my palette which I hated to throw away. My solution was to scoop it all up with a big brush and plop it onto the small canvas. It just developed from there. I like to see how much paint I can get on there and the different strokes I can make with a brush that’s the same size as the canvas while still maintaining separate colors and layers.

How often do you create?

I really try to sit down and make something every week, even if it’s just a small study of one of my plants. Life can become so hectic and if you don’t make the time for art then it quickly stops being a priority. Like I said, I have a limited attention span, so I usually have multiple projects going at once.

If or when you get lost in an “art funk” (like writer’s block for artists), what helps you get back to creating?

I did not do well with creating last summer during Covid. Not going to work and not having a social life made it very difficult to do anything. I had zero motivation. I do work better in isolation, but since everyone else in the house was also home because of the “lockdown,” I felt unable to paint even when I wanted to. However, this show was supposed to happen last year, and I would not have completed 100 paintings in time if everything didn’t close down.

As a Monmouth County resident, how do you think the community can better
support their artists?

It would be nice if there were more opportunities for artists who are just starting out. ChaShaMa is great because it gives artists the space they need to develop their work and it’s created a community in and of itself. A lot of young artists need more than just a month-long show to launch their careers, they need resources to create and they need opportunities to learn how to market themselves and make connections so that they can continue showing their artwork after their exhibition. A lot of artists have to figure out how to navigate this on their own and I would like to see a nurturing art community helping and guiding the young artists.

See more of Campbell’s work on her website:
& Instagram: @campbell.paints

ChaShaMa on Instagram: @chamatawangalleryandstudio

Email Donna ideas for shows at: