Studio Visit Book Vol. 1

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Abby Elise Baker on transforming Acrylics to Ornate frames

Welcome to a fascinating conversation with Abby Elise Baker, a talented painter living in Grove City, Ohio. In this interview, Abby talks about her journey from studying art to getting a business degree. She shares how she came up with the idea of extending her paintings onto fancy frames and how she blends old-fashioned styles with modern ones. Abby also tells us about starting her art brand, Oiseau, and gives us a glimpse into her daily routine in her studio.

Abby Elise Baker

Before moving forward to the interview, let’s take a moment to get to know Abbay through her bio. Abby Elise Baker is a painter who works and lives in the small town of Grove City, just outside of Columbus, Ohio. Her art career started in late 2012 when she studied Fine Arts at The University of Dayton and learned to capture nature and figures abstractly and organically. In 2016, she received her bachelor’s in business administration from The Ohio State University. While her education changed paths, her passion for the arts remained, and her work continued to grow and develop over the years by practising in her home art studio. Developing a deep passion for acrylic painting, her work now transcends temporal boundaries by extending her canvas artwork onto ornate frames. This modern idea came to her when wanting to create something innovative, edgy, and timeless. In her compositions, she captures the emotions of nature that are relatable and fulfilling to its viewers, creating a sense of relation between nature and humans that is undeniable and comforting.

1. Abby, your journey into the art world is quite dynamic. You started with your studies in Fine Arts at The University of Dayton and later transitioned into a degree in business administration from Ohio State University. How did this art and business education blend shape your approach to your art career today?

It for sure wasn’t a path that I had planned on! It’s funny. I first went off to college to be a doctor of some sort, but we see how that ended up… Life is like that, and I think the pressure we put on kids to know exactly who they want to be at 18 is unrealistic. I was very lucky to find a deep connection to art in my freshman year at The University of Dayton, and I 100% give the instructors at the university that credit. They were passionate, provided a creative environment, and had much knowledge to share. I would spend hours and very late nights just in the studio, not even realizing how much time I was there for. Taking breaks for some sushi and coffee was the only way to pull me away from it! However, with the negative opinions of others around me, I felt a lot of pressure to switch career paths that would provide me with money and a level of respect for fine artists. I often heard the phrases “Art is a hobby” or “Did you colour with your crayons all day?” it was rough, especially for someone like me who tries to understand and resonate with people. So I ended up leaving my fine arts program, changing schools, and getting a business degree that showed everyone that “yes, I am smart” and “yes, I am capable of making money”. Graduated with a BSBA in Marketing from Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University and got jobs at some top corporations in Columbus. This lasted until one day, I couldn’t continue to go through the motions of life; I wanted to live it. I felt held back and needed to get back to my creative lifestyle in both my career and personal life.

2.  What inspired you for your creative approach of extending your canvas artwork onto ornate frames and how do you feel it adds to the overall storytelling of your pieces?

Have you ever seen the old buildings of France, specifically Paris? If not, check out the Haussmann buildings now; they are some of my favourites! Their designs are what made me fall in love with architecture (along with some others), and the reason was because of all the ornate details. This obsession with these ornate designs then transformed into a love for ornate frames. Each one is a work of art and, if used correctly, should enhance whatever is in it. But that’s not always the case… Think about all the times you’ve looked at an artwork and thought I love the art, but don’t love the frame. This was happening to me, too, but with my own work. Well… now I have taken care of that issue! I believe that the art should also be the frame; the frame should also be the art. You see? It is together already, so why not make it truly one piece? A simple idea, but it took YEARS for me to figure it out!

“Abby Elise Baker” De La Crème, 2024, 22 x 17.75, acrylic on raw canvas and wood frame

3.   Blending vintage aesthetics with contemporary expression is a hallmark of your work, creating an ageless narrative in each piece. Could you share more about the thought process behind this blending of styles and how you aim to bridge history and modernity in your art?

This goes back to art history and learning from those great artists we all love. Monet, Da Vinci, Bernini (another artist to look up!). I have taken my favorite parts of their practice and transformed them into my kind of style, which is contemporary. Like Monet, I use impressionist-style compositions; like Da Vinci, I use linework similar to those of his sketch studies; and like Bernini, I create more dramatic versions of realistic compositions. As artists, we all learn from other artists, but it is what we do with those lessons and how we take our spin on them to make something that is truly unique and our own.

“Abby Elise Baker” Moving Sideways, 2024, 16.5×16.5, acrylic on raw canvas and wood frame

4. The launch of Oiseau as an art lifestyle brand in 2023 is a significant milestone in your career. Could you tell us more about the inspiration behind this venture and what you hope to achieve with Oiseau, both for yourself as an artist and for your audience?

In early 2023, I worked for an interior design company as a contractor, and it was in April that I realized that I was spending more time designing than creating artwork, which was not okay. I wanted to be a full-time artist, and I felt like I was moving further and further away from that. Oiseau was the rebranding I needed to help me push that art career and also help explain to the world who I am, what art I make, and how art can impact our lives. I call Oiseau an art lifestyle brand because, as a true creative, I don’t like holding myself back. If I want to own a gallery one day, I can… If I want to support other artists and their careers, I can… If I want to paint all day and sell them, I can do that too! Defining Oiseau will never be simple and will change over the years. But one thing is for certain: I will always be creating art, and I will always live an artistic lifestyle.

Every day looks so different! But I do have some constants that keep my creative juices flowing and my energy high. My mornings are sacred, and they typically start with coffee and the news and then transition to pilates in my art studio. The studio has a very zen personality, and getting some movement done in there before I start working has dramatically changed my energy for the entire day. From there, the work day begins! Some days, I am researching ideas for new artwork, applying to gallery openings, responding to clients, creating canvas frames, and, of course, the heart of the operations – PAINTING. I recently added an oversized chair to the space; since then, I have not used a desk for my laptop work. I sit in my chair, in a little corner nook, and get so much more done because I am comfortable and relaxed! Another element that is abundant in my studio is art history books. They are stacked everywhere. Everywhere!! I grab them for inspiration when I am feeling stuck on an artwork.

Abby Elise Baker’s journey shows us that following our passion can lead to amazing places. From studying art to starting her brand, she’s shown that creativity knows no bounds. As she continues to grow, Abby reminds us that living an artist’s life is about more than just painting; it’s about pursuing what makes us happy. To learn more about Abbay, click the links below to visit her profile.

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