This week I had the opportunity to talk with abstract artist, Cherlyn Wilcox. Cherlyn discovered abstract art while attending the University of Montana, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She recalls taking on various side projects and jobs before really owning her career as a painter. Four years ago she went full-time, and now spends her days working in her studio in the Emerson Center for Arts and Culture. 

Throughout our conversation, Cherlyn pointed to a central theme of her work: being authentic. Cherlyn describes authenticity as sticking to what feels good and not what others would necessarily buy. As a contemporary artist in Montana, marketing her work can be a challenge. Most of Cherlyn’s galleries are located in larger cities such as Dallas and Atlanta, where contemporary art is more recognized. Part of Cherlyn’s challenge is to help others see the value of contemporary art in a state where western art has dominated for so many years.

abstract art montana


So how does Cherlyn stay movitated despite this challenge? Cherlyn believes it is important to make art even when you don’t feel like it. Often times, when she forces herself to paint, an idea happens that moves her work forward. This idea creates an energy and excitement that gets her back into the studio the next day. Cherlyn also goes to her studio five days a week, even if she is just sitting with her art. 

Thanks for the tips Cherlyn!

If you would like to see more of Cherlyn’s work, you can visit her website at . And if you're local, head on over to the Emerson Center for Arts and Culture on Friday for a studio celebration from 6-9pm in room 217.