“I dream of painting and then I paint my dream” ~ Vincent Van Gogh
As a mixed media artist, Cammeron Batanides creates and is able to show others the world through her eyes. During a recent interview with her, she commented not only on the many details that go into creating a piece of art, whether through acrylics or through words, but also the life that comes with showcasing her art.
The specific work that has been donated to Out Impact for our ongoing Indiegogo campaign fundraiser is called “A Conversation with a Friend.” It is part of a ongoing series known as “A World of the Creative,” of which examples of can be found and prints ordered on her website and also seen in upcoming exhibits throughout North America. On the painting itself and the reason for this particular print being donated to Out Impact, Batanides said, “I chose “A Conversation With a Friend” because I feel that my audience can get as much or as little out of the piece as they allow themselves to walk away with. I hope that when people view my work they gain inspiration, beauty and thought. Everyday my goal is to inspire, whether it be a child or an adult. I feel very fortunate to be able to add beauty to a world that can often seem dark and hopeless. If I can leave this world having made a positive difference or having inspired positive change then I am content with my life’s work.”
In order to do this, Batanides works in a variety of mediums, from watercolor to acrylic to charcoal. The series as a whole that the painting comes from “is done in acrylic. I chose to work in acrylic because it allows me to achieve the look I desire, vibrant color through flat color layering” and that it “is a celebration of creativity and creative types. In a world where schools are cutting art and music funding, children aren’t provided the option to take these classes. I am preserving and celebrating the importance of the creative.”
Batanides went on to say about”A Conversation with a Friend” that “Color placement is key in this series. In this particular piece I expressed the thoughts and lifestyle of the creative. You will notice that there are multiple creative types in this painting: a keyboardist, a visual artist, a guitarist, drummer and vocalist. None of them are interacting with each other physically or verbally which can be seen as being contradictory to the title. However, the conversation they are having with each other is through their thoughts, ideas and ultimately through creation.”
Those who create, whether through song, dance, paint, or words reach out to one another through more than just physical connections. Batanides speaks about being part of this creative in her own words: “Being an artist or creative type, I feel that we communicate with each other through various levels of creation from process to completion. What we desire to communicate or express will make its permanent mark on the world and is profound. I feel that the creative never stop. We can be in a room full of people but only be there physically, for our brains are always going, thinking of the next project, painting or song. In the painting the creative are separated from the city, the normalcy and consistency of the 9-5 job, marriage, kids, etc. I am not saying that is not a part of our lives, but we lead a different kind of lifestyle.”
With all of this inspiration and thoughts on the piece, Batanides had to choose which medium would best work with her ideas. Though she chose acrylic, she describes other mediums as “In my opinion there is not one medium that is better to work in than another, it depends on what I am trying to convey as to which medium I will use. For instance, I would not work in watercolor for my current series “A World of the Creative” because I would not be able to achieve the color that I desire. If I do a portrait, I thoroughly enjoy working in charcoal. When I create the illustrations for my children’s books I use colored pencil which I remember using so often in elementary school. It is all decided based on what piece or project is in front of me. Recently I have been working predominantly in acrylic because I’ve been working on this ongoing series. There is not one medium that I find more difficult to work in than another. Once you are familiar with your materials, then you begin to understand the medium and can work it with ease.”
She does add, however, that it has been a learning process through all her works. She mentions that “if you had asked me that question years ago, within the first six months of becoming familiar with watercolor, I may have said that they were the most difficult. After six months of working thoroughly to understand watercolor it clicked and now I love them!”
Along with these different mediums of painting and drawing, Batanides also is a published writer and illustrator for a children’s book series that started with “Meet Panda.” It is the story of her American Pitbull and when asked of her relationship with her beloved pet, she said: ”My Panda is my baby, she is the most loving, sweet girl and I hope that through the children’s books I can reach the next generation. I hope to encourage more to rescue dogs and treat them with the upmost love, as a family member because that is what Panda is to me. She sits by my side through every painting I create and stays by my side through everything. I never fully understood the amount of love a pit bull has to give until I adopted her, ever since she has stolen my heart. I will rescue pit bulls for the rest of my life and it took her entering my life to understand that, for that I will be forever grateful to her.”
Currently, Batanides is in the process of writing her third book in the series, which can be found at her website for Panda.
With her donation to Out Impact, a final question for Batanides was about the causes she supports. ”I am a huge advocate of charity work. I think it is extremely important that those who are able to give back do. I believe that the smallest charitable act can make a huge difference in someone’s world. I recently donated auction items to galas for The Humane Society of Charlotte and Cape Fear Red Cross. Last year I did a book signing with the Florida Keys S.P.C.A and donated a percentage of book sales to the shelter. When I went to Los Angeles for my exhibit opening at the Los Angeles Fine Arts Building I volunteered with the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. Every time I go out of town for work I try to find some kind of charity or volunteer work that I can do to utilize my talent in a positive way. Anytime I can help children or animals I try to because I believe they are so very important and need as many people as they can get to fight for them.”
She continues, mentioning the same trend that can be seen in her children’s books of: “I am a huge pit bull advocate so I get involved with rescues when I can. I hope if my schedule allows I will be able to volunteer at my local Boys and Girls Brigade this fall. I think providing children with a creative outlet can help keep them out of gangs or going down the wrong path. I am also working on a project called “Athletes for Animals” where I am trying to get college and professional sports teams across the country to donate their used lacrosse balls, tennis balls, footballs etc. to their local no-kill animal shelter. These balls are toys for the animals, by donating them they keep them out of the landfill and will help free up money for the shelter to direct towards medical costs for their animals.”
Not only does Out Impact thank Cammeron for her donation to our fundraiser but also for the work she does and the incredible spirit of creativity and generosity she spreads everywhere she goes. For more on Out Impact’s Indiegogo Fundraiser Campaign that features Cammeron’s limited edition art at the $50 donation level, visit http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/support-out-impact-nationwide-expansion-for-positive-lgbt-non-profit.