Debbie is a Scottish artist who came to NYC to work as a textile
designer in 1991. She fell in love with the city and her husband Elliott,
and they moved to Harlem where they raised their two sons and still
reside. During the pandemic, Debbie finally decided to pursue her
dream of painting fine art full time, and left her successful commercial
art career of more than three decades. Debbie's art is now in private collections throughout the United States and around the world.
I need to find hope in this fragile and divided world by creating the beauty of diversity. I believe it's critical for everyone to feel seen and to feel that we can coexist in peace.
I grew up in a working-class family in Scotland affected by intergenerational alcoholism and poverty. When I left for London, as the first in my family to pursue a college degree, I immediately felt out of place in the predominantly upper-class art school environment. This experience only added fuel to my inner belief of being “never enough” and as an adult, I've sought to heal from this narrative. In fact, I'm forever compelled by the underdog, and I strive to fight for equality for everyone. The commingling of races and cultures fascinates me, and the courage of "social outcasts" who walk their own walk inspires me.
My earliest influences were Max Beckmann and Egon Schiele, and experiencing Mark Rothko’s paintings at the Tate Gallery left an indelible mark. These impressions still influence me as I navigate my artistic path merging figurative and abstract art. Using a multitude of tools as a means of relinquishing control, I start each painting by building layers of abstract paint and collage, approaching each layer as a vehicle to explore color, value or simply to play. I've spent my lifetime trying to find peace with all the imperfections within myself and my past, and this way of building an imperfect history feels like a cathartic and loving place from which my figures can emerge. While participating in a visual dialogue of adding and subtracting and adjusting the measure of abstract versus figurative, I'm constantly asking myself the question, what needs to be said and what needs to be left unsaid.
I don't want to tell the whole story. Creating a dynamic composition for initial impact is key to capturing viewers’ attention, by first making them stop and look, then enticing them to stay and discover the subtlety within the paintings. Just like life, there is more to us than what initially meets the eye. My art conveys how our diversity is what makes us beautiful, that we are all connected regardless of our differences, and that we need to spend time discovering the “whole picture”.
1984 - 1985 St Martins School of Art (Foundation Course)
1985 - 1988 Liverpool School of Art (BA Hons Printed Textiles)
2019 - 2022 Creative Visionary Program
(4 consecutive years of a 2 month online Fine Art painting class lead by artist Nicholas Wilton)
1988 - 1997 Worked various jobs as a printed textile designer and art director
1997 - 2019 Art Licensing artist and designer
2019 - Present Fine artist - my art is in private collections throughout the United States and around the world
May - July 2023 Juried Show - Women in the Heights - Women of Substance -
Past, Present, Future
May 2023 The Other Art Fair Brooklyn
August 2023 We’re Outside - Outdoor Group Exhibit in Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem, Curated by Fable Jones
Nov 2023 The Other Art Fair Brooklyn
July 2023 Art Juice Podcast - Artist Feature Interview with Louise Fletcher
June 2023 Aatonau - Artist Feature
August 2023 The Flying Fruit Bowl - Artist Feature
June 2023 Tap Into Your Creativity with Sandra Felemovicius
Youtube Artist Feature Interview
Nov 2022 No Brush Required Youtube - Artist Feature Interview