We had the good fortune of connecting with Vickie Martin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vickie, what do you attribute your success to?
Artists don’t typically think in terms of having a brand, but before I became I full-time artist, I worked in advertising. So, branding is not foreign to me. My brand grew organically starting with my mother’s dementia. When I began teaching art at an adult day care, I immediately noticed how music could change the most non-verbal person, so I began researching and learning about music and memory. I come from a musical family, my grandfather was a piano tuner and had a music store and my father rebuilt pianos. So my artwork pivoted towards music themed art.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
At the present time, each piece I create is based on a particular piece of music. It has been scientifically proven that your musical memory never goes away. While I research each song, I also learn to play the song on the piano. I worked in a multi-layered, highly textured style, so the first layer begins with the lyrics to the song (if there are lyrics). For classical music, I am finding ways to work the rhythm of the piece into my paintings. When COVID hit I was working with someone about putting together “favorite songs” for her mother, who was in hospice. I also was organizing a “sing along” to take to memory care centers, which I haven’t given up on yet! I really want to communicate and bring awareness about the terrible disease of dementia – which is the only disease in the top diseases in the world that is not curable! It is estimated there are approximately 50 million people with it now, and it is expected to triple by 2050! Those are staggering statistics. By pairing my art with my cause to raise awareness about dementia, I found my calling. Along the way I learned consistency is important. I also learned it is important to never stop learning and experimenting, and in doing so, it keeps it fresh.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I used to give tours for the Atlanta Preservation Society, so I’d love to take them on some of the tours of some of Atlanta’s neighborhoods, maybe Druid Hills ( I gave that tour for several years) or Ansley Park. A trip to Atlanta without a trip to The Fox Theater isn’t complete (I gave that tour also). Atlanta is full of hidden forests, so there are many places to go for a hike or a walk! Of course, a visit to the High Museum of Art would be planned, with a side visit to the SCAD Fashion Museum, right down the street, with lunch at Taqueria del Sol on Howell Mill. I often take out of town guests to the Colonnade Restaurant on Cheshire Bridge for a good Southern meal (and the best rolls in the world).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to give credit to my husband, Joel Conison, who is a professional photographer and teacher. He has been very supportive and doesn’t laugh at some of my outlandish ideas. I also want to give a shout-out to my art teacher Chery Baird. She has encouraged all of my experimentations with different mediums (which includes fire and gunpowder at times). She also encourages all her students to learn art-history, find out who your ancestors in art are and she also taught me to pay attention to what artists I am looking at and why.
photographs of all artwork is by Joel Conison