What Inspires Me: Shari Brownfield

Fine art consultant at Shari Brownfield Fine Art

Shari Brownfield

Fine art consultant at Shari Brownfield Fine Art

By Maggie Theodora ∙ Photography by David Agnello

At age nineteen, while studying for her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and art history, Shari Brownfield emptied her savings account, not to buy a car or a designer bag or a fabulous spring break trip, but a lithograph by painter Antoni Tàpies. “I’m an art geek,” says the fifteen-year valley resident. Formerly the director of Heather James Fine Art, today Brownfield is a fine art consultant at Shari Brownfield Fine Art. “The whole world is now my gallery,” she says. Brownfield’s the only candidate member of the American Society of Appraisers in Wyoming specializing in fine art, a member of the boards of the local arts nonprofits Center of Wonder and the Art Association of Jackson Hole, and a newly minted U.S. citizen. (She’s a native of Canada.) Mom to daughter Finley, who turns eleven in June, Brownfield says she works with clients to grow collections that evoke emotions and tell a layered story of their lives. “I don’t believe in decorating a home all at once,” she says. “Then you’re creating a snapshot in time, as opposed to a layer of stories of your life.” Here, Shari shares some of the local artists and places that inspire her to do this.

Teton County Library  I’m inspired by the calmness here. I’ve always been someone who did her homework at the library rather than at home. I love our library. I think it is a mix of nostalgia, but they’ve done a great job with the pods of seating and ottomans you can move around. I like sitting by the fire, where there is such great light coming in through the windows. And then the installation in the front lobby: It is my favorite public art installation. It piques my curiosity by showing what people all around the state are searching for at that exact moment. How cool is that? Free, 125 Virginian Ln., 307/733-2164, tclib.org

Jenny Dowd Ceramics  I have a few of Jenny Dowd’s things. On my desk I’ve got one of the cups from her series of chairs and lamps with all of my pens and pencils in it. I love the creamy glaze she typically uses and her delicate line work. Her drawing is almost childlike; there is an innocence to it that feels very natural and raw. You hear people say, “My kid can draw like that,” but it is actually very hard to accomplish. There is a mastery to this kind of drawing. dowdhousestudios.com, also available at Vertical Harvest Market, 155 W. Simpson Ave., 307/201-4452

Pilot G2 .38 mm pen  This is not glamorous by any means, but I am inspired when I am on top of everything. I keep organized to-do lists, but not electronically. I’m a visual person and need to see it laid out for me. My hand needs to write it down. And even though I surround myself with beautiful objects all day every day, when it comes to organizing my life and my schedule, it’s about function. I’ve got a cup full of Pilot G2 .38 mm pens that I buy by the box. From $4.99, pilotpen.us

Glass blocks by artist Steven Glass  Steven Glass does this thing—this is something I did in art school myself—where he uses color that people don’t necessarily like normally, but he has a way of putting it together that is appealing and draws you in. His work reminds me of Basquiat’s, in that it is portraiture, but graphic and animated rather than representational. I had seen his work around town and liked it, and then when I met him in person—he’s a graphic designer for the Art Association—I liked it even more. He has such a curious mind and a creative spirit about him that is refreshing. It’s youthful, kind of like Jenny Dowd’s work, but in a different way. Jenny’s is innocent. Steven’s maybe has a dark story hiding behind the surface. stevenglassart.com

Mad Mattr  Finley loves this Play-Doh kind of object called Mad Mattr. I’ve come to love it, too. Sometimes, Finley and I will just sit for hours and talk while we knead this. Talking with her—simplifying a big message into something real and true—is inspiring and also informs my work. Walking into an art fair is overwhelming, but I do what I do when I talk with Finley: distill it. A great compliment from a client I was at an art show with was, “I wanted to go to everything, but you saw what was good from across the room.” Who knew talking with a ten-year-old while playing with Mad Mattr could be training for art fairs? $12.99, Jackson Hole Toy Store, 165 Center St., 307/734-2663, jacksonholetoystore.com


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