becky pashia interview

“I think the biggest compliment an artist can get is to see people walk up to your art and be moved.”

And for oil artist Becky Pashia, movement is the ultimate goal. She aims to achieve movement in each of her pieces, but more importantly, if she can move a viewer to feel something, she knows she’s done her job.

Though Becky didn’t set out to be an artist, she was introduced to it at a young age and instantly took to it. When the career path she had initially mapped out wasn’t what she thought, she returned to art and quickly realized she could make a positive and lasting impact on people through her work.

Becky got to work developing her own oil technique and a style she lovingly refers to as atmospheric. Her pieces are light and airy with an aliveness she hopes enriches peoples’ environments. Though her pieces may suggest a story, Becky largely leaves it up to the viewer to formulate their own.

Just how does she achieve her distinctive look you might ask. Most of her pieces come together with just one tool: a paint spatula.

Read on or watch the video below to learn more about Becky and how she creates her unique works of art.

When did you know art was your calling?

My dad was a great interior designer and I always wanted to be a designer too. But my family moved from St. Louis to Kansas City when I was 15, and I was the new kid in high school and my schedule said I had to go to Art 101, which was wrong. I didn’t sign up to be in Art 101. But I went the first day and all the people in my class seemed kind of fun. Since I knew nobody, I stayed.

My first painting was of an artichoke with lemons and it won the “purchase award.” My school bought it and it hung in the library, until it was stolen many years later. And I’ve been painting ever since. So, if I had not been in that class by accident, I never would’ve started painting.

I did get my degree in interior design, but I realized quickly that I’d much rather paint a custom piece for someone’s home than do all that shopping. I just wasn’t a shopper. I could see it in my mind, but there was no internet back then, and I just did not want to waste all my time looking for a lamp when I could do a really great painting and rearrange their furniture instead. So, I’ve had my own art business since I was 21.

How do you describe your work?

I call it suggestive, which sounds funny, but I actually love to suggest an idea in my work without telling the whole story so that the viewer can fill in the blanks. For example, I paint a lot of skies and I always paint mainly with a big spatula––80% of the painting is with a spatula. I just work it until it gets really slippery and messy then I can come in with big, soft brushes and feather out edges. It ends up having the feeling of a watercolor because of the way it can bleed and be unpredictable. I don’t like the hard lines so much. I’m more of an atmospheric painter.

What do you love most about creating art?

I think the biggest compliment an artist can get is to see people walk up to your art and be moved. If my art can have that kind of an impact on someone, it shows me that I could make their life better. And I love to enlighten people, so I just try to paint light. I try to paint air. I try to paint movement––things that are alive and moving. I have a farmer’s market painting and there’s just a bunch of people shopping and there’s sunlight all over them. I want to add life to people’s homes and help them remember something that they saw once that was beautiful or just take them away. I want to help people escape.

Once I sold a couple and saw that happen and got to hang them in the homes and just see how enriched it could be, and I had something to do with that…it was magic. Then I was addicted. I want to enlighten as many people as I can. That’s truly my whole goal. But I try to make art that is timeless so people can move it from a dining room to a bedroom in five years, and it has a whole new look. I just love what I do. I really do.

How do you push yourself to test new concepts?

What makes art magical to me is raw expression. It’s not the hours and hours that go into a piece to me. It’s not how perfectly it looks like the real place. It’s just that raw expression of someone’s soul. And I feel like I’m slowly getting better at that. It takes time and I can overwork everything like any artist can. But sometimes the ones that go the quickest and they’re just fresh and quick…there’s a rawness, and that is my goal. I love to paint the big abstract dancers or the poppies or whatever it is. I don’t care about the subject as much as the movement and just that raw expression of joy or light or whatever it is I’m trying to express.

What keeps you coming back to the Celebration of Fine Art?

I love this show because it’s just about opportunity. Every day when you wake up, you don’t know if you’re going to meet somebody super cool or you’re going to paint something greater than you’ve ever painted before, or you’re going to sell something which just supports your family and your dreams. Where else can we get this much opportunity? We don’t know any of these people coming through. They’re all first timers to see my work. And it’s just so exciting to witness it. I get to see where the paintings go. Who they go home with, and I love that. Then the repeat business is just phenomenal. People come back the next year and say, ‘Well, now we need one for this room, and now we need one for this room.’ And I’m just so incredibly grateful to have the clients that I have here. So this tent is my happy place.