Artist Sumner Creshnaw paints grand expressionism with a delicate touch. She infuses her work with movement, lines, and varying degrees of color. A universal story resonates from her art with underlying internal narratives. She always captures a glimpse of transformation, growth, and empowerment. The stories she portrays help her subjugate personal trials. These visual metaphors help her find a voice. “It’s a valuable way to connect with viewers,” says Sumner. A constant search for inner understanding and peace has led her to a life of creative endeavors. Residing in historic Downtown Frederick, Maryland, she works from her home studio with her ever-present assistant, Hiccup the dachshund. When Sumner is not dreaming up her next painting, she’s outlining the next destination she can check off her bucket list.
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About The Artist
Five years: that’s how long I hung on to a gallery’s contact information because I was too shy to send them my portfolio.
Art Basel Miami: a huge art event I could’ve exhibited at, if I hadn’t have been so scared.
Forty-five minutes, five years, Miami; each of these is but a fang in the mouth of my greatest monster: Anxiety. The binding that makes up my being. Since childhood I have struggled with crippling anxiety and depression, which makes the prospect of finding my way in the world, especially as an artist, deeply terrifying and almost insurmountable.
But monsters are meant to be slayed, and art has helped me to subjugate, if not slay, mine. Every episode of anxiety can become a character, a story I can portray in paint. A creature with multiple dueling limbs represents the hydra in my own head. A confident figure strutting across the canvas is the girl I hope to be one day. A dash of red, a curving line, and a rushing brushstroke: all are visual metaphors that help me to find a voice that is stronger than the monster that has muzzled me for so long. Anxiety gives rise to inspiration and empowerment. This tension has been one of the guiding forces in my creative endeavors, and it has given me a valuable way to connect with viewers. We all can relate to the struggle to understand ourselves, express ourselves, and transform ourselves; there is a monster, and a hero, in each of us.
Academy of Art University
Master of Fine Arts, 2009