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Thea McElvy is ‘BonaFide’

HOGANSVILLE – The Daily News’ weekly Neighbors series features one person from LaGrange and the surrounding area. This week we sought a little artistic inspiration from Thea McElvy the president of the Visual Artists Alliance of LaGrange who opened a show at The Suffering Artist on Saturday.

LaGrange Daily News: Where are you from originally?

McElvy: Lanett, Alabama or Valley – Valley, Lanett.

LDN: How did you get started as an artist?

McElvy: I’ve been creative all my life, and in 2014 I went to a gallery in Savannah. I’d been there a hundred times before, but for some reason this time it just struck me that all the art there was so bright and beautiful. It was not the stuff that I normally did, and I thought, “If this is what I’m attracted to, why am I not doing this?” And so, I got home right after that, and I started doing these wild crazy colored paintings, and have just had a ball since then. The first one I did, I sat at my easel and cried. I just thought, “This just feels like art.”

LDN: What is your favorite thing to paint?

McElvy: I started doing a lot of movie stars just because they are forgiving. It’s not family members. If I mess it up they’re not going to come back and tell me how ugly it is, so it is pretty forgiving to just paint somebody random. I stared out doing a lot of movie stars, but I’m really trying to move into my own thing now, so that’s it really. People mostly. I’m wanting to do a few new things. I’m wanting to try some animals and some fruits – still life sort of stuff – but we’ll see.

LDN: One of the first things people notice when they look at your work is how vivid the expressions are on the people. Is that something that draws you to your subjects?

McElvy: Yes, definitely. I’ve had people give me things that they want me to paint, and I’m like, “Ugh, I’m just not feeling it.” And I used to paint those things, but if I did feel it and they wanted it, I’d paint it anyway, and I’ve just gotten to where I’m too old for that. I’m going to paint what really makes my heart soar, and I’ve just learned to follow my instinct a lot more than ever, and in doing that, my art has gone so much further.

LDN: Is there anything else that you would like to add about your “BonaFide” show?

McElvy: Because I didn’t go to college I never had the training to do this professionally; to have a solo show blew my mind. I would’ve thought maybe in 15 years, 20 years that somebody would ask me, but to be asked to do a solo show here (at The Suffering Artist) is just amazing. It was amazing.

BonaFide: The art of Thea McElvy is scheduled to be on display at the Suffering Artist at 311 E Main Street, Hogansville for the next few weeks.

‘Neighbors’ is a weekly series by the Daily News that highlights community members. To nominate a person to be featured call 706-884-7311 or message us on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/LaGrangeDailyNews.