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Conversations with Beth-Ann Wilson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Beth-Ann Wilson.

Hi Beth-Ann, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m from Long Island originally. I have always loved art and used it to cope after my father died of cancer when I was 12. Fast forward to high school, I got recruited by MICA and landed in Baltimore for undergrad and decided to settle here (specifically in Highlandtown) when I graduated. Well, they don’t call it Charm City for nothing because I fell in love with Baltimore. The art scene is unpretentious and when it is pretentious it knows it! The people here are real, it’s diverse in pretty much every way imaginable, plus as an artist trying to “make it”, Baltimore has a much lower cost of living than NYC while still being relatively close.

In school, I majored in painting and ended up interning at a decorative painting studio (Twin Diamond) and an art gallery (Schiavone Fine Art), both of which led to permanent jobs after graduating. When I got out of school, I went to work full time at the decorative painting company but not long after the real estate bubble burst and jobs were slim-pickens. I lamented this fact over beers to the owner of the gallery that I continued to work at part-time. That same night he hooked me up with my very first bartending gig and a path that in a weird way eventually led me to open Night Owl Gallery– which is named for the late night lifestyle of bartenders. I still work a shift or two a week at Snake Hill because I love the social aspect and it is great for networking, plus I do really love tending bar.

A huge part of my mission at the gallery is to bring people together through art so the events that I host in person and online are very social in nature. I really think that making genuine connections with others is key to mental and spiritual well-being and also to sustaining creativity.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I have been very lucky in the way that owning Night Owl Gallery just naturally fit into my life. Most of the obstacles that I have encountered (aside from a global pandemic that forced a pivot to virtual programming for five months) have been the normal struggles of a small business owner. Night Owl Gallery for the most part is a one-woman show. To keep costs down and to keep the vibe intimate, I control every aspect of the business. As a full-time artist myself, sometimes that can get to be overwhelming when obligations, events, and commissions start to pile up.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a professional artist and gallery owner. I always put “professional artist” before gallery owner because I consider painting my first passion that begot the other. I love all art forms and have dabbled in many! In fact, my original major when I started at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) was sculpture! I was particularly drawn to figurative sculpture and portraiture. However, sometimes the path you think you are going to take changes and I ended up making the tough decision to switch my major to Painting by the end of Freshman year. I don’t have any regrets about that! While I was at MICA, I made a connection with Carl Plansky, the owner of Williamsburg Oil Paints who helped to deepen my connection with not just painting but oil painting in particular. To this day, my specialty continues to be oil painting and portraiture in particular. Over the past few years, I have been melding contemporary portraiture with the street art aesthetic painted in a traditional way. I think this evolving style sets me apart from others. The thing that I am most proud of is being able to help and mentor emerging artists and help to build confidence in them so they don’t give up on their art.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
The most important lesson that I have learned along this journey is not to compare your milestones to others. Everyone has their own path and their own timeline. Comparing yourself may cause you to stall or to quit because you have unrealistic goals for yourself. Everything in time.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Side A Photography

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