In November 2009, Camomile Hixon was doing last minute preparations for a party at her Upper Westside brownstone. A little frustrated with a recent wallpaper choice she had made in her living room, Camomile decided she had to do something about it. Out came a canvas, glue and glitter and before long she had a 36” tall piece of art with “YES” spelled out in glitter hanging over her couch.
That night a pop artist was born. Hixon was herself surprised by the effects of the painting. “That one piece created total lift-off for the party. There was a synergy to this party like no other. People were expressing themselves without reservation. No one was intimidated or reserved, and alliances were being made. It was the most fun!”
It turns out several people wanted a “YES” painting of their own, including Chelsea gallery owner Latifa Metheny (wife of Grammy-winner Pat Metheny). A few months later Hixon had her first of two solo exhibitions at Tria The Suchman-Bart-Metheny Gallery entitled “Sparkle.”
Several solo exhibitions later, her show “Glitter Room” was featured this weekend at Art Basel under the satellite fair Verge Art Miami Beach 2011. Hixon has a playful, nearly devilish attitude about her success, wondering how much she can “get away with.” She says “Glitter is a medium that no one respects but everyone loves secretly. I feel like a naughty girl using it. I deserve to be spanked."
She defends herself too. “There are no rules. If there are rules they are all meant to be broken. Art critics try to put down rules, but I don’t believe in abiding by any limitations on how artists express themselves.”
She also believes in the simplicity of her use of words in her work. “It’s a distillation of poetry fragments, where the mind roams free for images and associations. I was inspired by my sister-in-law, poet India Radfar, who uses words with such grace and purity. She taught me so much about using language in my art, and about the nuance of words.”
In a short period of time, no matter how simple or under-valued the mediums, Hixon has gleaned major support in the legitimate art world. The Children’s Museum of the Arts in SoHo, New York just used her supersized flowers installation for their annual Art Auction 2011. Hixon says, “It is always surprising how just about any building material can be made into something unique and artistic. Home Depot happens to be my favorite art store for supplies like PVC piping which is used for the stems of my super-sized flower installations wrapped in cellophane.”
Camomile Hixon (left) in front of her “Super Sized Poppies” installation.
Hixon was inspired by Woody Allen’s Sleeper as a child and enjoys playing with scale. She says, “I love when there is an Alice in Wonderland quality to the art which puts the viewer slightly out of their comfort zone. This feeling allows for a fresh perspective on familiar experiences.”
Photo credit: Costas Picadas
Robert Novogratz of HGTV’s Home by Novogratz knows about Hixon’s ability to deal with scale as he had her create an attention-grabbing installation for an enormous loft space this season on his show. He says he and his designer partner wife, Cortney, love working with Camomile. “We like to build and decorate on a large scale, and Camomile is not afraid to go there. She is inventive and bold, and her art is very happy, positive, and a little bit wiggy — in a great way. She does her own thing, and knows how to make a big statement and put it out there with a lot of boldness.”
Novogratz has drawn on Hixon’s talents more than once. He says, “Camomile is smart, fearless, and unique — just like her art. She created an amazing sparkle shoe chandelier for our makeover of Wendy Williams' television studio.” That episode will air on the next season of the Novogratz’s show.
Photo credit: Matthew Williams
Since the first Home by Novogratz episode first aired this September, Hixon says, “I have heard from many women that they are now using glitter to connect with their kids. People are talking about creating art for their own walls. That somehow my art gave them permission to do this which I think is wonderful.”
When asked if she will always keep the “YES” painting she first created for her living room wall, she quotes the painting with enthusiasm. “Yes! I love seeing that word, and it informs decisions for me every day.” Hixon’s hope is that her art does this on a regular basis for all who see it.
Wherever Hixon creates, one thing is sure — she leaves behind a joyful standing invitation for people to participate in her art and to be inspired to create their own.
Camomile Hixon’s next show "Glitterland" can be seen February 14 through March 20, 2012 at Frank Pictures Gallery, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA.
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