Vanessa Grebe was born in rural Maryland. She was identified early in life as being gifted in art and worked independently in studios from a young age. In 2012, she moved to the Charleston area and began her formal art instruction under the tutelage of master artist Joyce Hall. Her body of work ranges from early portraiture to her current theme of vintage images.
Vanessa grew up surrounded by antiques and oddities from her parent’s store. She has been an avid collector of vintage images throughout her life and uses many of those same images to guide her work. Often using found photos, she creates whimsical paintings that tell a story and resonate with viewers on a personal level. Each painting is read differently and its interpretation is meant to be open ended.
Vanessa was trained as a health education teacher and worked for several years teaching high school students in Baltimore, MD. Using her artistic background, she encouraged them to create collages and images to further their self-knowledge and motivate expression.
My artwork takes a unique view into our collective history as humans. I often use a found photo or vintage image to springboard into a painting. Using monochromatic hues I create a work that is solidly placed in the past and yet has an open ended look into future possiblities. Each work tells a story and I often have to wait a long time for that story to reveal itself to me.
I am drawn to the most marvelous of all creations; the human body and its expressions. More often than not my paintings have an addition of an animal, usually significant in it’s choice and placement, it’s color and mood. I try to capture beauty and meaning in the the otherwise mundane.
I am most happy when a viewer asks me what is happening in a painting, “who are those people?” and “why are they there?”. The answer is always a story, and it is unique to each viewer. My works often conjur a memory or a thought from one’s own narrative, which I feel is one of the many great aspects of art. When a viewer connects with a specific piece and brings it into their lives I am both humbled and ecstatic.
I work in oil on linen. Recently I have begun experimenting with new mediums and have included cold wax to my repetoire, that -- when used with full color -- creates movement.
My paintings, be them full color works or monochromatics, capture a moment intime. A feeling. A memory. The story is yours to tell.