The Appalachian

The sibling artists behind ‘Hootenanny’ at the Turchin Center

Senior+criminal+justice+major+Will+Raybon+examines+an+art+piece+at+the+%E2%80%9CHootenany%E2%80%9D+art+show+at+Turchin+Center+for+the+Visual+Arts.+The+show+will+be+on+display+until+February.+Photo+by+Carson+Hager++%7C++The+Appalachian
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The sibling artists behind ‘Hootenanny’ at the Turchin Center

Senior criminal justice major Will Raybon examines an art piece at the “Hootenany” art show at Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. The show will be on display until February. Photo by Carson Hager  |  The Appalachian

Senior criminal justice major Will Raybon examines an art piece at the “Hootenany” art show at Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. The show will be on display until February. Photo by Carson Hager | The Appalachian

Senior criminal justice major Will Raybon examines an art piece at the “Hootenany” art show at Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. The show will be on display until February. Photo by Carson Hager | The Appalachian

Senior criminal justice major Will Raybon examines an art piece at the “Hootenany” art show at Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. The show will be on display until February. Photo by Carson Hager | The Appalachian

Lovey Cooper

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“Hootenanny,” an art show by brother and sister Andrew Abbott and Paige Willow, revolves around their shared childhood in Boone.

Following their departure to different UNC system universities, the two went their separate ways in life. Abbott traveled the country before joining the Army as a medic in 2004, a position he left three years later to live in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He now lives in Maine, while Willow has stayed centered in North Carolina, traveling the Caribbean when she can.

Their artists’ description describes the collaborative showing as “not just an exhibition, but also a reunion with old friends, family and the landscape that inspired their love and dedication to the arts.”

The show opened three weeks ago in the main gallery of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, and will be on display until February.

The Appalachian: Tell me about your childhoods. What aspects of growing up in Boone inspired you the most?

Senior criminal justice major Will Raybon examines an art piece at the “Hootenany” art show at Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. The show will be on display until February. Photo by Carson Hager  |  The Appalachian

Senior criminal justice major Will Raybon examines an art piece at the “Hootenany” art show at Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. The show will be on display until February. Photo by Carson Hager | The Appalachian

Andrew Abbott: Boone is a very beautiful and mystical place. I can’t say what inspires me most, but the people we know, the mountains and the forest are my favorite parts. The Blue Ridge Parkway has always been a big part of it.  ASU as well, even though neither of us attended, because our father teaches there.
Paige Willow: Growing up in Boone on the Blue Ridge Parkway was like having the earth at your fingertips. Our imaginations ran wild, which is probably why we both ended up being artists. We were surrounded by smart, creative and inspirational people because of our parents and their friends.
 
TA: What separated the two of you, and what ultimately brought you back together for this show?
AA: We were talking on the phone one night and somehow came up with the idea of doing a show together in Boone.  We were both really inspired right away, knowing we would see people we grew up with and also show some of what we have been doing. It felt like it was something we were supposed to do. So we just started planning. We decided the Turchin Center would be the best place, and we were pleasantly surprised to be accepted into their schedule.
PW: Andrew went off to study fine art at UNC Charlotte and then onto UNC Wilmington while I ended up studying fine art at UNC Chapel Hill. Neither of us went back to Boone after that beside to visit family and friends. While I stayed in North Carolina, Andrew roamed around like a nomad for years. Once we thought about a show together, Boone was obviously the best location.

TA: I see you moved around a lot in life Andrew, while Paige, you have stayed mainly in the state. How do you feel these aspects of your lives have contributed to your art?
AA: Well, Paige has done some traveling too. For me, moving made me more portable, so maybe my art became more portable. Now I am doing bigger, less portable paintings and hoping to move less.
PW: When we were children we lived abroad in Africa and Jamaica, which opened our eyes to the world, especially coming from a small town like Boone. I traveled to Europe with my mother after graduating high school, and studied abroad for a summer in college. For the past 10 years or so my husband and I have traveled all over the Caribbean. Every time I travel, it just opens my eyes up to new cultures, which is inspirational. Vibrant colors are important to me in my art, which could be a reflection of my travels.

TA: How would you describe your own personal artistic styles? How do they differ from each other?
AA: Our paintings are very different. It’s hard to describe, I do more figures, Paige does more geometric shapes.  We both use bright colors.  Paige does all her work on canvas, I have some on canvas, wood, paper.
PW: Like Andy said, our style is completely different, but I can find so much inspiration from my big brother’s art. He is an amazing artist that has taught me to push through my own boundaries and insecurities as an artist. My art is very structured and planned, while Andrew’s could potentially always be a work in progress.

TA: Do either of you have a favorite piece in this show?
AA: I like Paige’s purple colored one.
PW: My favorite piece from Andy would have to be the “Elephants in the Room” one. My favorite one of my pieces would be the green one. My theme was also “Elephant in the Room,” represented by the color surprise in the painting.

TA: What is the overall takeaway from this exhibition? What story are you trying to tell?
AA: Personally I am not trying to tell a single story.  I hope that each painting tells a story of its own.  In the end, I am just trying to be entertaining.
PW: Overall a success, I feel, we are adding to a storybook of art that we’ve been building since we were young. We are always looking forward to the next chapter.

Story: Lovey Cooper, Senior A&E Reporter

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The sibling artists behind ‘Hootenanny’ at the Turchin Center