/‘This is going to be fun’ Double Decker Arts Festival official artist finds support in Oxford, beauty in Mississippi

‘This is going to be fun’ Double Decker Arts Festival official artist finds support in Oxford, beauty in Mississippi

Stevens laughed as she remembered the moment when she applied to be an official artwork artist at the 24th Annual Double Decker Arts Festival in Oxford. The mother of three was remiss if the extension she received wasn’t taken advantage of after missing the deadline. Stevens stated, “I always tell all my children to apply, because you won’t win if your don’t apply.” Stevens finished her submission the night before and morning of the deadline with a thin sheet spread about half-way across her living area floor. Stevens claims that she was able to quickly paint the piece because of her years of experience painting double-decker buses and other Oxford scenes. Stevens was chosen to create the artwork for this year’s Double Decker Art Festival. She said that she had to put in a lot of work and preparation before painting the piece. Stevens’ acrylic painting depicting the double-decker bus in acrylic is featured on posters and T-shirts. Stevens was awarded her own booth on the historic downtown square of college town, just across from Nielson. Stevens, who is a member the Oxford Artists Guild, has shared booths with others before but this will be her first attempt at owning her own. The festival, which has been awarded with an award, began Friday. On Saturday, the vendors will open at 10 a.m. Stevens has been working as an elementary school teacher and painting 40 pieces of art that she will sell at her booth. Stevens has come to terms with the fact that she was stressed about having only a few months to prepare for festival. She is now excited to reap the rewards of all her hard work. She said, “I have made up my mind that this will be fun.” It’s overwhelming but exciting in a positive way. I have received so many positive comments from people about my artwork. It can be difficult to put your heart and soul into artwork. I have received a lot support and great comments. “I appreciate the positive feedback.” This Houston, Texas native is now an Ole Miss alumna. She describes her creative style and creativity as “very loosely colored.” When it came to painting her interpretation of the double-decker buses, she knew she wanted to keep the same aesthetic. She said that she tends to paint the double-decker buses with a sense of personality, as if they were people. I use a lot color. Many people have said to me ‘… that it looks alive. Primary colors red, blue, and white are what may come to mind when you think of Oxford, Ole Miss, or the Double Decker Arts Festival. Steven’s painting shows a red double-decker bus with unexpected but pleasant touches of yellow and pink. A whimsical swirl of different shades of the same colors takes up almost half the canvas, reminding me of a circus tent. Stevens’ main focus when creating art is to achieve someone else’s vision via a commission piece. Sometimes she feels stuck in a rut and doesn’t create art. Stevens was able this time to fully own her creativity. She said that the Double Decker piece was enjoyable because she didn’t have any other expectations. I didn’t have the burden of figuring out what anyone else wanted. If I was working on a commission for someone, I would sit down with them and talk about the piece. It’s great fun and I love working with people. However, I also enjoy being able do my own thing. It’s how you learn and explore.” Stevens, originally from Texas, moved to Oxford in 1987 to obtain an art degree. She remained in Oxford after she graduated in 1991 because she was still dating her husband. She continued her education, and she earned a Master of Business Administration in the next year. Stevens has been a resident of Mississippi since then. Stevens is passionate about Mississippi and believes its culture, landscape and creative community have all inspired her art and given her the tools to pursue her passion. She said, “I believe Mississippi is just so creative.” “You can meet some of the most talented people in this area. Oxford is home to a supportive community of artists. I have found that some of the groups I am in have helped me grow and have taught me things I would not have known otherwise. The landscape is stunning. It’s one the most beautiful places I have ever seen. “And Oxford is to me just so beautiful.” Click here for more information about the Double Decker Arts Festival._x000D