Naomi Haverland on the strange things that inspire her
You can find art all over town -- not just on gallery walls. In this series, we'll be looking at some of the local artists who serve up their work in coffeehouses and other non-gallery businesses around town.
Welcome to Naomi Haverland's delightfully quirky world, where the art and the living are big, bright and bold-with-a-capital-B. The Colorado native, painter, hobby upcycler and mother finds inspiration just about everywhere she looks: her children, garbage, Jesus and people with deformities, for starters. "I like to have a story behind my artwork because I think that is always more interesting for viewers," says Haverland, who works primarily with acrylics, oils and chalk.
Haverland's use of bold color and her gift for capturing wry human expressions on a large scale are what set her work apart. You can see it for yourself when T Gallery Denver -- half gallery, half teahouse -- features Naomi Haverland's child-inspired paintings in a Mother's Day exhibit, A Mother's Muse, opening with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. this Friday, May 2.
Several of the pieces in Haverland's upcoming show feature the artist's "mini-muse" -- her daughter, Roxanne. The artist uses the expressions and situations children find themselves in, and she paints in a way that expresses how she feels. "I've never actually done a literal self-portrait," Haverland says, noting that the portraits of her daughter serve a similar function. Ring Pop (above) with Roxanne posing larger-than-life with a glowing green candy ring exemplifies this ideal.
"Now that my daughter is older, we have a side-by-side relationship where I can do my art and she can do her art," Haverland says. (She has a son, too, but he isn't so much into art.) Ten-year-old Roxanne will be at the T Gallery opening on Friday, operating a booth where she'll draw portraits for people.
Haverland has also created several new pieces, including a portrait of Dame Edna (above), the character created by Australian performer and comedian Barry Humphries, with her signature "wisteria hue" hair and glasses. "I always like to have something interactive with my shows," she explains. For this opening, she'll have a station where folks can create their own "face furniture" -- what Dame Edna calls her glasses (see below).
"I also really like unique body types," Haverland continues. She's always searching for folks with interesting, unusual characteristics who are willing to model. One of Haverland's favorite models is Little Miss Firefly (below). "She is very, very short, just 21 inches tall, and she's very fun to paint," Haverland says.
The artist sees plenty of beauty in "things some people might think of as defective," she says. Features you won't find on a more mundane, run-of-the-mill body type create interest in a visual art sense, Haverland adds.
Keep reading for more on Naomi Haverland.