Q&A with Kiah Bellows & Sali Swalla

Leading up to our Anniversary show, we wanted to take you into the studios of the talented artists that make Art & Light what is is today! We’re thrilled to host both local artists and those spread across the country.

If you’re local to Greenville, many of you know and love Kiah Bellows, and have watched her career grow. A master at color combinations and texture, Kiah creates abstracts and abstract landscapes that never fail to bring the excitement.

Brand new to the gallery, LA artist Sali Swalla has made a splash all the way from the West Coast. Sali creates stunning dimension with her cold wax and oil paintings. Building in layers, she often finds herself scraping much of it back to reveal the moments of light.

We caught up with local artist, Kiah Bellows, and LA artist, Sali Swalla with a quick Q&A…

Q&A with Kiah Bellows

Kiah Bellows working in her cottage studio at Art & Light

Kiah Bellows working in her cottage studio at Art & Light

Q: How long have you been working with Art & Light now?

A: Since 2014, I actually started as a gallery associate before displaying my work in the gallery.

Q: What do enjoy most about the gallery/artist relationship?

A: The wonderful relationships and friendships I’ve made.

Q: We know you've been on some exciting trips this summer, what's inspiring you right now?

A: Anytime I can be active outside and in nature I am happiest. Running, swimming, paddle boarding, hiking .. I want to do it all! My husband and I just got back from an amazing trip to Switzerland, Zermatt, Interlaken, Germany and Paris. My brain feels refreshed with images. I think it gave me a fresh perspective on the push and pull of a composition and drawing out the focal point. I don’t paint a specific location, but rather try to translate a feeling or experience from where I’ve been. I’m inspired by these feelings of exploration and excitement.

Q: What do you hope the viewer/collector takes away from your work?

A: Feeling inspired with a strong sense of being grounded.

Q: What's your favorite local spot to grab a bite?

A: Asada! Hard to choose a favorite dish, but I would have to say - tacos and guac!

Q&A with Sali Swalla

Sali Swalla in her studio

Sali Swalla in her studio

Q: As an LA artist, what drew you to reach out to Art & Light?

A: I knew I wanted to work with Art & Light Gallery because I could feel the bright joyous energy of the gallery even from across the country!  The light and talent filled space with gallerists who truly love what they do seemed like a slice of Heaven and I wanted in!!

Q: What's been your favorite part about working with Art & Light so far?

A: My favorite part of working with the gallery so far has been working with the truly generous, professional, and hard working staff. They immediately felt like friends and have made me feel so welcome even from miles away. They also have an innate sense of how to connect clients with the right art and that is priceless.

Q: What's your favorite part of your creative process/studio practice?

A: My favorite part of my process and practice is the meditative quiet that allows me to connect with the Spiritual and get to know my deepest self. The studio is a time and place removed from the world where I get to connect with a way of being that is hard to do in the every day of modern life.  I love how hours can peacefully glide by and there is nothing more rewarding than looking up and seeing something magical has happened on the canvas.

Q: What do you hope the viewer/collector takes away from your work?

A: Ideally I hope the viewer takes away a sense of peace and contentment after experiencing my work… but I’d be happy if they experience any kind of emotion at all! Any feeling that makes them feel alive and experiencing the journey of being human in the here and now.

Q: If we were headed to LA, any favorite local spots you would recommend?

A: Los Angeles is sooo gigantic I feel I haven’t come close to experiencing all it has to offer. Aside from the usual ocean/beach happenings a favorite art spot is Bergamont Station that is an old train station that has become home to dozens of galleries showing art of all kind. An art lover could easily spend the whole day there.  Also, being half Japanese I am always heading to a revitalized strip on Sawtelle Blvd recently nicknamed “Little Osaka” in West Los Angeles for delicious Japanese foods.

Stay tuned for more artist Q&A’s up through our birthday celebration on August 23rd! We hope to see you in the gallery for our group exhibition from 6pm - 8pm.