Cristy Dunn (b. 1976) is an emerging artist whose paintings and murals tell the stories of Makers and of the power of the Arts to uplift the human spirit. Her traditional oil portraits incorporate the techniques of the old masters. Glazes create light filled surfaces. Silver leaf adds an ethereal element. In her current series, Makers, Cristy explores the sacred realm that a person enters when he is intensely involved in creating. "When someone sees my work I want them to feel a connection to the sacredness within us all."
Cristy taught herself to paint at an early age. Among the strongest influences on her artistic development was her Grandfather, an Old Time fiddler whose music held the power to transcend the difficulties of life. She continues to live and work in the same small town in Southern Appalachia where she grew up. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from East Tennessee State University, where she nurtured and maintained the connections with her Appalachian heritage. Cristy's recent work in preserving the culture of Old Time music and arts in her community has sparked a true revival of interest in the history and music of her hometown. She received the President's Award from the Johnson County Arts Council for her work on the Musical Heritage Mural Project.
"We all have two lives. The second begins when we realize we only have one." -Confucius
There is a wisdom that comes from living next to and out of the land- a humility that is central to our identity here in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Here we love the land for what it is- not for what we can make out of it. And so I paint the land and the people of Southern Appalachia for what they are.
I am rooted here by family and community and by an intense love for the landscape. Not only beauty, but truth emanates from the rhythms of the music and dialect, the infinite complexity and simplicity of tree branches and snail shells, the hard-won wrinkles in the faces of old timers.
As I see it, my role as an artist is to be open so that the creative force that exists in the universe can speak through me. I paint what I am compelled to paint, knowing enough not to question this.