Artist Spotlight: Rhonda Spight

Posted on November 25, 2014

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By: Mary Kate Patterson

Rhonda Spight was born and raised in Memphis. After attending art school at Memphis College of Art, she chose to stay in the city to pursue a career in art education.  “As soon as I picked up a crayon, I was interested in art,” Rhonda explains as she reflects on her childhood.  She believes she gets her artistic talent from her father.  Starting at a very young age, Rhonda began to submit her drawings to “Kid’s Appeal,” Commercial Appeal’s program that features young children’s artwork.  Every time her art was featured, she was ecstatic.  “I was so happy to see my work in there.” Rhonda then began submitting her art to contests and publications with a wider audience.  In high school, she submitted a drawing to a national Scholastic competition, and came in third place.  Even before she began her official art education, she had a lot to show for her effort and talent.

Rhonda attended Memphis College of Art where she earned a four-year degree in printmaking.  “I could have earned a traditional drawing or painting degree, but I already knew a lot about those mediums.  I wanted to explore what else art could do. I studied advertising, design, and printmaking.”  Printmaking is a modern art technique that gives mass printing ability to a piece of artwork.  There are many different kinds of printmaking, from screen-printing on t-shirts, to texture with collaging. After graduating from Memphis College of Art, Rhonda began working at FedEx Trade Networks, but did not stop pursuing her passion for the arts.

Paint Nite, despite popular belief, is not a franchise business. Paint Nite instructors are licensees, and some have created their own LLCs and do events full-time. Rhonda does Paint Nite events part-time, and began doing so in August 2014. My friends and I had the opportunity to attend one of her Paint Nite events. She inspired us to move past our anxiety and to “create our own masterpiece.” For now, Paint Nite events are a side passion, but she plans to turn art education into her full-time career.  She is currently endeavoring to pursue a career in art education for the Shelby County School System.  Right now, she is “being resilient.” She knows her future lies in art education, she just has to wait for the opportunity to present itself.

“People tend to have anxiety and apprehension towards art and creating art. We all picked up a crayon at a young age, but a lot of people have set it back down. We have three rules at Paint Nite:

  1. There are no rules
  2. There are no mistakes
  3. Live life creatively

If you live your life by these rules, you can create anything.  The world is at your fingertips so to speak.”  After listening to Rhonda talk for just a few minutes, I feel like I can do anything. She definitely knows how to rally a room of novice painters.  The most interesting thing she said, however, came up when she was speaking about her hopes to have a career in art education. “Art transcends age, you have a classroom full of kids and they are all going to be at different talent levels.  But there is no limit to the talent that you can exhibit at any age.”

I think this statement has broader implications outside art.  No one’s talent is dictated by his or her age, and that’s pretty freeing.

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Posted in: Arts