Camden Cotton Mills has most recently added a Game Room/Conference Room to the property. A silent room equipped with internet ports, board games and a conference table, the new room has clearly become the building’s new ‘Hotspot’! Whenever adding a new amenity to our community, the Camden Cotton Mills staff go on the hunt for unique works of art to help bring out the already artistic flair feel of the building. This time, Camden Cotton Mills decided to go with a painting showcasing cats playing poker (as our new Game Room has a poker table and we are a cat only property).
In today’s blog, I will be shining a bright light on the artist of said painting, wife of Camden Cotton Mills’ Maintenance Supervisor, Daniel Willner, and local artist, Kimberly Connelly- Willner. I sat down with her to discuss art, her passion and what gets her brain creatively ticking.
What is your name? Kimberly J. Connelly-Willner
When did you first realize that you were good at art? I’ve been doing art since I was a wee little thing. I began by drawing number 5’s and spiders all over my mom’s walls – she was less than thrilled. As a grade schooler I was always drawing/coloring, doing crafts, and sewing clothes for my stuffed animals. My later years in high school I drew a lot less and began my focus on graphic design work. I went on to get my associates in Graphic Design which lead into my “career” for over 12 years. Three kids later I am a mom first, I do freelance graphic design projects as they come along and teach people how to paint with acrylics.
What would you consider to be your greatest inspiration? Creative people in general. I love to see what other people can do then I try it myself!
Have you always been a painter? No. I honestly never had an interest until about 3 years ago. My husband and I did our first arts-n-crafts style show at the Neighborhood Theater, The All Arts Market. He sold his wood carvings and I sold things I knitted and sewed. I was very much inspired by the painters at that show, so I gave my hand a try at it. And, well, I fell in love with it!
What other artistic talents do you possess? I knit, crochet, sew, draw, make jewelry, create clay sculptures, screen print, graphic arts, carve pumpkins, cook, bake… I would label myself the next Martha Stewart minus the tax evasion.
When do you do most of your work? Morning? Or evening? If my kids are quiet I may be able to rock out a small painting during the day but I am mostly a night owl.
Have you always enjoyed art? Always. It was my escape and still is. I NEED to create something everyday. It helps me to relieve day-to-day stress as well as get ideas out of my head.
Did you go to school to study art? Not for fine art. I went for Graphic Design which tended to be more computer driven.
Who is your favorite artist and why? I would say the Dutch Golden Age painters for their realism. But locally I adore Carmella Jarvi’s and John Hairston Jr’s work. I also have a long list of tattoo artists that do absolutely amazing work both on skin and canvas.
Camden Cotton Mills prides themselves on being able to work with local talent, whether it be for resident events or interior design. We want to take a moment to thank Kim for her hard work on the “Cats Playing Poker” painting.
If you would like to contact Kim or view additional pieces, please contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org!