Our new Get to Know Your A2AC Instructors! series dives into who the amazing A2AC instructors are, what they do outside of the A2AC, their favorite teaching moments, fun facts, and more.
The next instructor in this series is Payton James!
Click on the Questions to see Payton‘s answers!
“One of my favorite things about teaching is sharing my passion for art with others and watching my students grow as they learn.”
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a mixed-media painter exploring the concept of liminality through my art. I went to the University of North Carolina at Asheville and received my BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Painting and minored in Business Management in hopes of using the business skills I gained from my minor to help learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship and marketing to help promote and build my art business. Since graduating from college in 2015, I’ve taught local classes and private lessons while maintaining my studio practice and selling and exhibiting my work. Currently, I’m still teaching some classes and private lessons, but I’ve dialed back some of those commitments to be able to carve out more time to dedicate to making and selling my artwork. Outside teaching and painting, I enjoy playing tennis, walking my dog, and traveling. Hmm..a fun fact about me–I have quite the sweet tooth, and I’m always searching for the best doughnut or cinnamon roll.
What does your creative practice look like?
In my artwork, I examine the concept of liminality, a transitional moment in one’s life, using mixed media and texture in my paintings. I explore these liminal spaces by painting abstract, vast expanses, layering acrylics and/or oils, and other materials over a textured ground, reminiscent of an inviting and intriguing landscape, yet somehow inaccessible. These works of art emphasize places and moments commonly overlooked, providing the viewer with a chance to experience the human emotions that come from these liminal space moments and observe and reflect on their life-changing transitions, those vital times in which we were not here nor there. I have an art studio in the loft of my 1940s home in Ypsilanti, where I create my work, and a student studio for offering private art lessons.
What is next for your artistic career?
I aim to continue working towards painting, selling, and exhibiting my work full-time.
What are your favorite teaching moments?
I’ve been teaching since 2015. When I moved to Ann Arbor, I visited the Art Center, and I was immediately drawn to the vibrant art gallery, brick walls and hardwood floors aesthetics, and the opportunity to teach my passion. I enjoy teaching Abstract Landscapes.
In my most recent Abstract Landscapes class, I had my students complete a painting in 8 minutes to help them loosen up with their style and be more intentional with their brushstrokes. I was so happy with the results, and so were they! One of my favorite things about teaching is sharing my passion for art with others and watching my students grow as they learn.
What would you say to someone interested in art but nervous about taking a class?
It can be intimidating, and learning a new skill is hard. That said, that’s what the instructor is there to do, to help you learn and guide you in the right direction. Mistakes happen; honestly, learning from those opportunities and resolving them is part of what makes us great artists.