Rachel Crouch is a native Chicago artist now living and working in DC. When I came across her site I was incredibly moved by her work. Her paintings seemed to jump off the screen with life and took me on a journey. As she says, she “produces work in varied media using color, texture, movement and flow. Her pieces are about the impossible and the discovery of promise. Music, life, limits and change are just a few of the themes prevalent in Rachel’s work.” I could have stared at them all day. Luckily, I was able to talk with her to find out more about what inspires her.
(To the right: “And So She Sang,” “History,” “Street Lights”)
Love and Water- Tell us a little about your work.
Rachel Crouch- Well I’m originally from Chicago but I’m in DC now. I’ve been painting since I was a child- my mom’s an artist also- and I have a twin sister who’s an artist. We both painted murals in homes when we were in college. There’s a video on my website of us painting a mural together. We had to do an eight-minute mural for the Mayors Arts Awards. So we paint both together and separately. My work is all inspired by how I feel, what I’m feling at the moment. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of media work; Michael Jackson, Barack Obama. But before that I was doing a lot of work for myself, mainly images I enjoy or was inspired to paint. I love color, working with acrylic and charcoal and I love scratchboards. Mainly when I’m done with a painting I’m hoping that the viewer feels something without me having to describe it. I like for them to interpret it for themselves based on what’s going on around them.
L&W- I felt really moved when I looked at your site. Especially the painting of Jessica Gabrielle, “And So She Sang.”
RC- She’s a singer with a huge following in DC. She does shows with different jazz bands, and has an amazing voice. She’s an amazing talent. So I was at one of her shows and was so inspired by it. I was taking pictures and I said, ok, I’m going to have to paint this.
L&W- Where do you do most of your work?
RC- I have a studio in the back of my house but what I find is I’m more comfortable bringing my supplies to my bedroom and painting in there. I’m almost never in my studio- it has become a place to hold all of my supplies. I really like just painting in my bedroom where I’m relaxed and comfortable.
L&W- And you teach also, right?
RC- Yes, I’m a math teacher at Columbia Heights Educational Center, it’s a multi-cultural high school in DC. My sister’s a math teacher also.
RC- Yeah, we’re twins! We’re identical twins.
L&W- That’s just really incredible, I think! What are you working on right now?
RC- I have a friend, Akoben Sankofa, who went to African and took some amazing pictures. We had gone to school together and I stumbled upon his website and when I saw his website I was floored. So he actually emailed me some pictures and I’m working on them right now. They’re all of children, and I love painting children. They are absolutely beautiful pictures, so I’m remixing them and painting them in different ways.
L&W- I can’t wait to see more of those.
RC- They’re coming…
L&W- I so appreciate you taking the time to talk with me today.
RC- Thank you for contacting me. Isn’t social networking amazing?
L&W- It really is. I’m blown away by the people I’m able to connect with as a result.
RC- Yeah, it’s really great. I really appreciate it.
L&W- I’d love to talk to your sister next!
RC- Yeah, you should!
See more of Rachel’s work and the video of Rebecca and her painting together go to : http://rachelcrouch.com
Follow Rachel on Twitter: @ArtLivesThruMe
Join her gallery on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=37609680138
Visit her sister, Rebecca Crouch’s site here: http://rebeccadcrouch.com
See Akoben Sankofa’s work here: http://akobensankofa.com/home.html