Meet Andria Linn

We have a new mural in our entry way, and kudos go to Durham artist Andria Linn for the beautiful piece. Andria's work is easy to recognize with its bright colors, striking images and nature scenes. A self-taught artist and graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, she began painting professionally in 2005. Her life today includes two small children, yet she remains committed to her art and to exploring new techniques and creative styles. Her works have attracted national attention. In the Bull City she's well-known for painting Birtha the Bull and the Wall of Hope mural. We're thrilled to carry her work at Zola, and proud to have her mural welcome you when you walk in our door. We asked Andria to share a bit about her art and her inspiration.

Why did you decide to focus on painting?

I was originally planning to pursue a career in illustration, and found myself dabbling in collage. During my early 20's I was taken under Durham artist Lisa Creed's arm, and she encouraged me to take moments from my small bookwork collages and make them bigger. She suggested I try using acrylic paint to recreate them.

During this time I also connected with an artist couple. Inspired by each other's work, we all started working collaboratively, and before I knew it, I was painting exclusively. When my paintings gained recognition, and gave me an intense challenge, I stuck with it.

Give us a hint about the why of your work.

To bring joy in otherwise stressful, complicated lives. We focus so much on what the trends are, political climate, the daily-dos…. I try to hold onto the simple joys of community and celebrations.

Where do get inspiration? What inspires you in Durham?

Nature plays an important role in what I create, so obviously Duke Gardens and the Eno River trails. But I also have a taste for the nightlife and what our city is doing. A couple years ago, I began a study called 360, which returns to my porch party style... I sit in one place and draw an interesting element I see, move a little and capture another. The end result is a collage of visual icons. It's always fun weaving and integrating architecture, businesses, sculpture and landscaping together.

54fa3970-94d0-4712-a15c-e569d8b82989.jpg

My work may come across as obvious, strategic and tight, but the story behind each title runs with a deep message that speaks truth to me and, I hope, to my audience. If a show isn't fruitful, but I walk away knowing I had a conversation with someone about a memory they hold dear, a place they traveled, an emotion that made them happy (or sad), I'm glad to have connected with them. I see my artwork as a vessel for this. This is why I really love selling my work in person; it creates the oxygen for what I do.

Tell us about your journey as a mother and an artist.

Honestly, although I have managed to keep my art going to some capacity, it's been a challenge. I used to do about 24 shows, three gallery exhibits and a handful of philanthropic events a year. But as my husband went back to school, and I was blessed with a much busier second child, I've had to do just enough to keep my toes wet. I started offering paint parties, which has been a huge delight.

What’s next for you? What are your hopes and plans for the future?

Ideally, I'd love to move into a studio downtown, but for now I need to focus on my portfolio. This looks like being on a computer, formatting art, getting an online shop together and hopefully starting to travel. Last year I had some health issues that affected my mental wellness. I'm still there, taking small steps to empower myself.

While the Finder's Keeper's paintings are painstakingly detailed and hard, they have been life savers. They force me to connect to nature again, to take joy and remember what the universe creates. No matter what's going on in business, the world, relationships or kids’ needs, there will always be new life, growth and beauty that is quiet. This beauty offers nourishment and pleasure, silently guiding us to rest and be still for a moment.