Fall share artist, Lisa Shimko, paints in a signature style with subjects that range from whimsical animals and natural elements to the abstract. Read on to discover what inspires her work.


Waterways and interconnectivity, low country to mountains, micro to macro.

(R) microscopic view of algae

I’ve always loved being “away”; in a quiet spot in the woods, on a boat without anyone in sight except the crabs and birds. Similar solace and curiosity comes in a city, gazing up close at a flower bloom or an old oak tree canopy with the worlds within.


Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” was an epiphany to me when I read it as a teenager.  Being able to tell a story using our surrounding reality as a backdrop but adding in surrealistic, “magical” elements was eye-opening in the sense that in art rules did not have to be followed.

Still from feast scene in “Pan’s Labyrinth”

Adding to Magic Realism in literature, some directors took on the genre in film, bringing engaging, beautiful, sometimes terrifying worlds to light.  Twisting the “rules” of our surrounded outside reality can successfully give heightened depth to psychological inner truths for individuals and/or our society as a whole.  One of my favorite’s is Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

(L) still from David Lynch’s “Rabbits” (R) still from the bear scene in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”

Speaking of film, now may be the time to mention a couple other favorite directors, David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick.  They are not in the Magic Realism category per se, but used film to psychologically render their own worlds and storytelling styles. Their movies have blown my mind since I was a kid, and are samples of what mastering a craft can look like.


(L) detail of “Mahasamvara Embracing His Consort” (Nepalese wall hanging, artist unknown), (C) center panel of “Enthroned Virgin and Child, with Angels and Saints Bonaventure, John the Baptist, Louis of Toulouse, and Francis of Assisi” by Cittore Crivelli, (R) Duchamp

(L) “NIgredo” by Anselm Kiefer, (R) “Fifty Days at Iliam: The Fire that Consumes All before It” by Cy Twombly

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has many days of my time, it’s one of my favorite places. Here I can zone in on a 15th century Nepalese wall hanging, medieval Italian altar pieces, modern abstract paintings, and chill out in a 13th century cloister or Japanese Buddhist temple.  Its beauty, thoughts, ideas, our humanity and cultures throughout the ages.


“Watermark” documentary by Edward Burtynsky & Jennifer Baichwal

(L) Sylvia Earle, American marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer

I’ll wrap up with saying scientists, documentaries, NPR, and music inspire me.  While I drink coffee and paint it’s common for me to be listening to NPR, podcasts, or music.  Summing up, I love learning, whether the topic is how our food is grown, world cultures, psychology of criminals, Arctic exploration, or water conservation, it’s a buffet I never tire of.  An underlying importance is how we are as humans on this planet and how we effect it. Sylvia Earle is an activist/educator scientist I much admire in her longevity of passion for saving the life of our oceans (and therefore saving us).

Music always will be a necessity in life.  In short, I’ll listen to jazz, classical, blues, pop, hip-hop, whatever the mood guides.  John Coltrane’s “Olè” is one of my favorite pieces of all time.


Lisa Shimko is one of the 2015 Fall share artists.



Fall share artist, Nina Garner, creates work that moves between photography, collage, sculpture, and assemblage.  Her pieces are intricate compositions that “glorify moments in time, the beauty in nature, and people.”  Read on to see how Nina is inspired by the past and present in the creation of her work.


A big influence on my work are vintage mementos created by ordinary people during the mid 19th to mid 20th century. During this time it was common for people to decorate photographs as a way to strengthen the emotional ties to the loved ones photographed. The time and dedication it took to create these intricate mementos, as well as the creativity behind them is fascinating to me. These were not created as art but as object, painstakingly created through the act of remembrance. I try to adopt this same concept to my own work by embellishing my photographs with fabric, paper, insects, flowers, leaves and even hair.


I love books with torn pages and heartfelt inscriptions, handwritten letters, love notes, dedicated piano music and records. I love the mystery behind them.

I love the idea of family heirlooms, objects passed down through generations, rich with history and tradition. I don’t have very many heirlooms myself and I think that is why I have such a fascination with them. I like looking at items, such as quilts, baby clothes, handkerchiefs and jewelry at antique and vintage store because to me those are the kinds of items I consider to be heirlooms. I like to think that at one point someone loved these items and that maybe they were their family’s heirlooms. But the fact that they are being sold and then bought by me suggests otherwise. In turn, I like to give these things new life by incorporating them into my work and then maybe they will be heirlooms for my family someday.


I draw a lot of inspiration from nature. While on photo shoots I like to collect leaves, fungus, flowers and insects and incorporate them into my work. But nature is also a great source of color and pattern inspiration for me. I mean, come on, look at that birds feathers!


Lately I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration from craft and party supply stores. First off, it’s fun. I like the festive nature of it all, the vivid colors and the all the whimsy. I also like the contrast between these synthetic materials with natural, found materials.



I like to watch movies. I like all kinds of movies but one of my favorite movies is LATE SPRING by Japanese film maker Yasujiro Ozu. It’s a story set in post war Japan about the relationship between a father and his only daughter. It’s a simple story structured around the very ordinary, everyday life of this small family but it is rich with emotion. It makes me cry everytime. What’s great about this film though is that all the shots are so meticulously planned and each still could be a photograph on its own. I love the little details and the way Ozu frames his subjects. You get a real sense of the characters and the lives they live. It’s not complicated or over the top and I like that. It’s something I want for my own work.


A great influence on my work is Japanese photographer Masao Yamamoto. The instant I saw his work I knew there was a place for me in the photography world. On one hand he is a traditionalist in that he uses 35mm film photography and darkroom techniques but on other hand he is doing his own thing by staining his prints with tea and printing very small. Every print is different and tells it’s own story but at the same time each print works together to weave a larger narrative. It’s magical.


Another photographer I greatly admire is Sally Mann. I love her series entitled ‘Deep South’ which includes photographs taken throughout Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia. These images are so haunting and ethereal. Just stunning.


There is a lot of fine art photography and photographers that I draw inspiration from but I love everyday, ordinary photography just as much, specifically vintage snapshot photography. I love the vacation photos, the family portraits, the first day of school, the clothes, the hairstyles…they are so authentic and rich with memories.


Nina Garner is one of the 2015 Fall share artists.




We begin our Fall blog series with Jordan Fowler. Jordan is a sculptor inspired by the universe, ancient Greek sculptures, and everyday movement.


I am greatly inspired by the cosmic forces that govern our universe; my sculptures are an illustration of these forces at work. I often incorporate revolving lines and curves around a central negative space; this is an ode to my fascination with the mysteries of black holes. I also like to imagine the effects of gravity on the geometry of the piece and its competition with the gravity of space it exhibits and the surface on which it stands.

A black hole is a geometrically defined region of spacetime exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing—including particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from inside it.

I like to imagine a black hole resting in the center of my pieces, as an unseen negative space that greatly shapes the surrounding geometry.  The paths of revolving lines that I bend around this space is often reminiscent of the orbital mechanics of planets and other celestial bodies.


My pieces often resemble a figure or a dynamic pose; this is often a starting point in my designs. As an undergraduate, I initially found a lot of inspiration in the marble structures of ancient Greece and the Renaissance.

(Left) The Discobolus of Myron, a Greek sculpture that was completed towards the end of the Severe period, circa 460-450 BC. (Right) Sketch, Jordan Fowler

Stripping away the figure and focusing on the pose leaves behind a beautiful network of abstract lines and arcs. Since then I have extended my search for poses to everyday life, and I often find them in non-human objects that seem posed and figural.

Embracer, Jordan Fowler

Sketch for Microscope. Jordan Fowler


The monolithic forms and stacked structures of ancient civilizations have always fascinated me; especially in their aged and dilapidated form. I’m greatly influenced by the way in which some of these forms have survived. Some of my work has been an exploration of the partially stacked components of ancient megalithic architecture.

(Left) Machu Picchu, Peru. (Right) Black Totem, Jordan Fowler

I am equally fascinated by movements in modern architecture that have been influenced by the balance, and crude monumental poses of ancient work. Specifically the constructivist era, brutalism, and futurism have been very influential on both my form and material choices.  One of my favorite artists, Lebbeus Woods, is an  experimental architect who I am especially drawn to. His work imagines a future in which complexity, chaos, and scale overflows the boundaries of current architecture.

(Left) Lebbeus Woods, Inhabiting the Quake

Jordan Fowler is one of the 2015 Fall share artists.





Summer Season Unveiled!


Thank you to all who came and supported the summer season artists yesterday evening. You can now purchase spring and summer seasonal shares to receive as soon as today!

View a sampling of the works created by the CSA summer artists:

Arianne King Comer

Lune Mer Porcelain

Riki Matsuda

James Wine

Up next, the fall season artists (Jordan Fowler, Nina Garner, Lisa Shimko, and Alex Waggoner) will be featured on our blog followed by the pick-up event on November 5, 2015 at Blue Ion in Downtown Charleston.

To become a CSA Shareholder, purchase a season of your choice today! Payment plans for each season are available ($200 deposit to reserve a share, final payment of $225 to pick-up a share).

What Have We Been Up To?









Co-founder Camela Guevara asked Summer share artist James Wine a few questions about his artistic practice, and then some just about life in general. Read on to learn what he listens to in his studio, which body parts inspire his work, and more!

CG: What creative goals do you have on the horizon?

JW: I have absolutely no idea. I’m just going to keep making art.

CG: Where is the strangest place you’ve found inspiration for your geometric works?

JW: I used to draw a lot of inspiration from the human body, specifically orifices. I probably shouldn’t go into detail about that.

CG: Do you have any interests completely unrelated to art that you would pursue in another life?

JW: I wouldn’t say anything is completely unrelated to art, but if I wasn’t spending all of my time doing that, I would want to become a carpenter. There’s just something magical about the smell of fresh cut wood, and having to be right the first time you cut something.

CG: What is your favorite meal?

JW: Just get me a jazzy pizza from Dellz anytime.

CG: How does your job at Artist & Craftsmen influence your work?

JW: Artist & Craftsman Supply has made me so much more knowledgeable about the materials that I’m using. I used to just stick with what I know, but now I want to try everything. I haven’t quite gotten to that mystical ‘everything’ yet, but I’m working my way there.

CG: Why did you want to be a part of Charleston Supported Art?

JW: I wanted to be a part of CSA because it’s cool! There isn’t a whole lot of variety here in Charleston when it comes to how artwork is seen and sold. So, this program was definitely a nice breath of fresh air. Plus who doesn’t want to work side by side with a bunch of incredibly talented people who are doing what you’re doing?

CG: If you could travel anywhere to see an art exhibition this summer, where would you go, and what show would you see?

JW: I’m not picky, I just want to go somewhere colder and see some Lucian Freud paintings.

CG: What’s a typical day in your studio like?

JW: It starts with a cleansing. I can’t begin my studio day unless everything is cleaned up to a satisfactory point. Afterwards I decide, is this a Netflix day or a music day? After 2 more hours of procrastinating, I’ll get to work. The process usually involves lots of sweet talking, or cursing, depending on how the piece is progressing.

CG: How do you handle a rut in a creative project? 

JW: I try something new. I always have different projects and materials lying around, so I jump into something else.

CG: What do you normally listen to in your studio?

JW: The sounds of Buffy kicking some butt, or of Dana Scully calling out Fox for being a weirdo. Other than that I’ve been listening to a lot of Eagulls, Parquet Courts, and Tame Impala.

Artist James Matthew Wine at the 2015 Meet + Greet.


James Wine is one of the 2015 Summer season artists.



CSA co-founder Erin Nathanson spoke with Lune Mer Porcelain about their collaboration, the need for support for artists in Charleston, and what summer shareholders can expect in their CSA – well just a “hint.”

EN: Ruth Ballou and Rena Lasch, you’re a collaborative duo. This is a first for Charleston Supported Art. What inspired you to apply together? What are the benefits of working as a team?

LMP: We were hoping that you would be open to the idea of us applying as a team because the C in CSA stands for Community. Community is about collaboration.  We love collaborating with each other, we see this as one of the biggest benefits of working as a team.  We both like being part of an artistic community.

EN: Let’s go back. What was your first experience with ceramic art?

RB: Seeing a potter in the mountains of Georgia was the first time I saw something that I thought was true magic. Watching a bowl or a mug emerge from a lump of clay seemed easy. But the first time I tried it myself I realized it was very difficult. It engaged me in a way that none of my other course work ever had.

EN: Have you seen a change in the medium over time?

LMP: The craft movement of 60’s has developed into a more sophisticated and broader range of work. Potters are generally very open about sharing skills and knowledge, both as individuals and at universities and colleges. As a result, there has been a rapid growth in the understanding of glaze chemistry, firing techniques and methods, as well as a deeper understanding of the 3d form and surface finishes. Clay is the original plastic; only imagination and persistence are required to stretch the limits as we know them. Potters seem to love doing just that.

EN: How did your collaboration come to fruition? 

RB: I first met Rena through a mutual friend when Rena helped design my garden. I was struck by her design aesthetic and artistic eye. We realized we had a common interest in clay, so she came to work in my studio as an exercise. We quickly developed a rapport in our work.

EN: What’s in store for the future of Lune Mer Porcelain? Any concepts floating around the studio?

LMP: We have some lighting ideas we are working on, as well as larger work. Both of these ideas push the limit of what we can do with clay, which is what we try to do with all our work.


EN: When you think about the arts in Charleston, how well is ceramic work supported? 

LMP: As individuals, I think artists in Charleston try to support each other.  Cone 10 Studios provides shared studio space and equipment. However, clay is a difficult medium to master that requires a lot of practice and expensive equipment and there is room for city or county establishment of community art centers.

In addition, very is little being done to bring clay work as an aesthetic and skill to the next generation through the educational system. The important contribution that working with clay can make to developing minds is sorely misunderstood and undervalued. Clay provides an opportunity to practice patience and persistence while thinking in 3 dimensions and solving multiple problems along the way to a finished product.

As for “the arts in Charleston” I think our City has a lot of room for growth and really needs to take a serious look at how it can nurture and sustain the artists that are an integral part of our community here in Charleston.

EN: Rena, working in porcelain is new to you but you’re familiar with three dimensional work. Tell us about your background in sculpture and landscape design and how you came to your current work in porcelain.

RL: Well, I am new to working with porcelain, but my experience working with clay goes back over 20 years.  Prior to this hand building venture with Ruth I worked on the wheel and I did figurative sculpture.  I will always feel like I am a beginner because the medium of clay provides an endless learning process.  Each clay body has different strengths and limitations.  Firing is an art unto itself.  The chemistry that is glazing one could spend a lifetime exploring, in fact I think Ruth is doing just that.
On the surface clay seems so direct and simple, but it is anything but that.
I see my work in landscape design and my clay work as very complementary.  I have found that one practice helps me in the other.  I really like working in tandem.
I have been a gardener all my life and I am endlessly fascinated by nature.  These things were strong reasons why I chose to earn my degree in Landscape Architecture.  Throughout my career I have tried to improving the quality of life through design.  I still strive for this.   I currently work on small scale residential garden designs although I do have ambitions to do large scale public garden/art projects.  We will see what the future brings.

EN: Ruth, how important would you say continued education in your art form is? You travel, lead and attend workshops, and have an MFA in ceramics. What has been your favorite learning experience?

RB: Without knowing it, I have always worked to the standard that Edgar Degas expressed in a quote I read 2 years ago in an exhibit of his work in Copenhagen:
“You must aim high, not of what you are doing, but of what you may do one day: without that, there’s no point in working.”

To this end, continued education is vital. My travel to other countries has exposed me to a wide variety of approaches to clay work, in galleries, museums, conferences, workshops, and conversations with other potters.  The most mind expanding workshop was at the ceramic center La Meridiana in Italy on paper clay porcelain with Giovanni Cimatti.  I had signed up for the course with some expectations. Instead, he opened my eyes to a whole new way of working with porcelain. Most recently, the International Ceramics Festival in Wales provided another amazing experience with artists from India, Serbia, the Philippines, Canada, France and the UK.

EN: How has this combination of backgrounds affected your work? Studio practice?

LMP: Our working together seems so easy.  We share many interests in common, we share a similar aesthetic, we both understand a balance of working together and allowing time alone in the studio. We also share a sense of play with our medium and take many opportunities to just have fun with new ideas. Our differences allow us to encourage each other to take chances.

EN: And at this point, let’s talk about the fabulous studio Lune Mer Porcelain is created in. What drives a healthy studio practice for a team of two people?

LMP: A clean ceramic studio is very important. We’re pretty compulsive about that and working safely. The dog and cats make sure we take regular breaks.

EN: What can CSA Summer Shareholders expect and look forward to?  

LMP: CSA gave us the opportunity to explore and expand ideas that had been floating around the studio. The Summer Shareholders can look forward to a bit of eavesdropping on our conversations with the clay.


Lune Mer Porcelain artists Ruth Ballou and Rena Lasch at the 2015 Meet + Greet.

Lune Mer Porcelain is one of the 2015 Summer season artists.



CSA co-founder Ann Simmons recently had the opportunity to ask Summer share artist Riki Matsuda a few questions. If you’ve been to Artist & Craftsman Supply on Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston within the past few months, you’ve probably met her. If you haven’t been so lucky, read on to learn a little more about her and her work.

AS: How would you describe your work in 3 words?

RM: subtle, peculiar, & unfixed

AS: How did you find your style and how has it changed over time?

RM: I found my style when a friend visiting my messy studio, picked up a piece and said, ‘This is you.’ After that I saw my style as a series of unconscious decisions that only I would make. I don’t worry about it too much because it effortlessly follows and adjusts as I change.

AS: You were born and raised in Charlotte, NC, and then studied in Ohio before moving to Charleston in 2014. What brought you here?

RM: After my mother joined my sister in Charleston, it slowly became the place I’d visit to be with them. Even though the weather is drastically different from Ohio, I feel very comfortable whenever I’m close to family.

AS: Books play a major role in your work – from providing inspiration to actual images and text being cut out and added to a piece. What was the last great book you read?

RM: Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami.

AS: Where will your artwork be one day? Who are you creating for?

RM: I imagine and hope that my work will hang in the living rooms, bedrooms, and hallways of people who can’t get enough of them.

AS: What do you hope viewers take away from your art?

RM: A twinkle in their eye or a muffled laugh is more than enough.

AS: We know that there’s at least one other artist in your family - your sister Hirona who participated in CSA’s 2014 Winter season. Are there other artists in your family? If yes, how have they influenced you as an artist?

RM: Hirona and I are the most similar types of artist, but my entire family is made up of imaginative thinkers who are ceaselessly witty and talented. My art is only a combination of what they have shared with me and what I have gathered on my own.


Riki (L) and her sister Hirona (R) before Hirona’s studio visit for CSA in 2014.

AS: What is the most indispensable item(s) in your studio?

RM: When my work becomes muddled or lost, I always turn to my photo albums.

AS: What has been the greatest joy for you as an artist?

RM: The best thing I’ve experienced comes from a quick word in passing or a warm smile of acknowledgment from the people I highly respect and admire.

AS: Outside of creating art, what do you love to do?

RM: Lift heavy things, pop my own popcorn, and sing along.


Riki Matsuda is one of the 2015 Summer season artists.



CSA co-founder Kristy Bishop had the opportunity to interview Summer share artist Arianne King Comer. She is a master batik artist greatly influenced by stories and events in the Lowcountry and around the world.  Read on to learn more about Arianne. 
KB: Is there symbology behind the batik blocks that you use? 
AKC: Usually, I’ve collected batik blocks that symbolize the essence of nature, spirit, and cultural rituals.
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KB: What are some of your favorite types of symbols that you use in your patterning?
AKC: The symbols that come to me most are the Yoruba bird of peace, the universal spiral symbol, the healing Indigo shades of blue, the Oshun colors of gold and red, and the celebration of waterways and ancient trees through repetitive rippling and leaf patterning.
KB: Your work is so influenced by West African culture, which has a significant history and impact on Charleston.  How does this inform your work? 
AKC: Although it’s true that I am inspired by my travels in Africa, I have found a lot of similar inspiration in design patterning here in the Lowcountry from African folk lore, Native American, French, Celtic, and India….I have collected stamps from the countries that celebrate Indigo textiling.
KB: What is a particular story from the Lowcountry that has influenced you?
AKC:  I am always influenced by current events that affect the Lowcountry’s tomorrows. I use the gift of creating  art to reflect the importance of social justice and speak to the importance of ecology of this beautiful and historical environment. Nothing fires me up more than stories of oppressive behavior to human kind, it’s in my DNA….Native American, Irish, West or Northern Africa…..I use my art to speak out against atrocities.  I cannot tell you at this moment what art is coming from these recent events in Charleston with the nine people killed at the church,  an exhibit called Passages two falls ago held at Emmanuel AME and the Confederate Flag coming down….but believe me it’s coming…it has to for me to move on.
KB: Tell me about your trip to Nigeria and how that has influenced your work. 
AKC: I knew from a documentary  Kindred Spirits on PBS that there was this Yoruba culture that celebrated it’s ancestors through the arts and the artists were relentless in creating it’s art in all mediums.   My quest was to immerse myself in that dedication,  modeling  that behavior.  And so, I have.  The other technique I celebrate is looking at all over patterning, celebrating no “negative space” as they believe total patterning celebrates the ancestral spirit.
KB: Are there any tools that you use in your artistic practice that you couldn’t live without? 
AKC: Ha!  I’ve just moved!  And it took me almost a month to get all of my tools, my collection, my inspirational photos, music…. to follow me to my new place.  I’m still challenged to organize it all as they all are vital to creating my next “Ah Ha” piece.
Artist Arianne King Comer at the 2015 Meet + Greet.

Artist Arianne King Comer at the 2015 Meet + Greet.



Arianne King-Comer is one of the 2015 Summer season artists.



Co-Founder Camela Guevara visited the studio of summer share artist James Wine one bright and early morning back in June to have a look at where he creates his vibrant, geometric works. James lives and works in his home studio with his partner, Andrew, in downtown Charleston.

In their sunny room, James has an area dedicated to his practice surrounded by comic book-style doodles and paintings, as well as video game toys, all in the vibrant colors seen in his work.

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Camela enjoyed seeing the methodical way James deals with color and mixing different paints, as well as his playful use of pins.


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He uses his light box to trace natural elements that he incorporates into his work.
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The large painting behind him was included in a recent exhibition at the Charleston Music Hall with fellow summer share artist Riki Matsuda.

James Wine is one of the 2015 Summer share artists.