We sat down with Whimsical artist Toni Becker to learn more about her striking, colorful paintings and other creations.
In your own words, describe what you make as an artist.
I am a mixed media, healing artist who loves working with a multitude of materials – acrylic paint, glass, wood, paper and recycled/repurposed items. I create acrylic paintings with many layers, small painted magnets with hand drawn/painted images and empowering messages, recycled bottle cap earrings with mini paintings, mini canvas necklaces, glass wind chimes, hand bound dreaming journals, self-love boxes, and other art when the mood strikes.
My artistic expression depends on what I’m being inspired by in the moment or my life circumstances. Art serves a couple different purposes for me. First, it’s my way of interpreting everyday situations, my emotions, and my connection with the world around me. Secondly, I use art as a mode of healing, an outlet for navigating the challenges life presents me with, and my emotional response to all of it.
My art is whimsical in design and an interpretation of my everyday life as I see and feel it. Sometimes my art is an interpretation of the music I am listening to at the time, but in general it is my view on various situations occurring in my life as I am creating, how I feel at the time of creation, and what inspires me. I am inspired most by nature which can be seen in a lot of the work I do. My other sources of inspiration are music, culture, people, and BRIGHT, VIBRANT colors!
Tell us your story. Have you always been an artist? How has your journey as an artist informed what you make now?
In one form or another, I have used art to heal. As a little girl with the intention of feeling better I turned to my drawing paper. It’s there, I found comfort and healing scratching out little drawings and doodles. As an adolescent, in the moments of hurt and pain, I turned to the piano or my tenor saxophone leaving my drawing paper behind, the melodic notes soothing my soul and spirit. I stopped drawing and playing music for many years, but in 2002 while experiencing a great loss, my dear mother stepped in to help me heal. She decided to enroll me in a simple beading class that we could do together. Little did I know that her loving gift would lead me back on a path of creation, not only in times of healing, but also in times of joy. Art has been a vehicle of healing, self-discovery, transformation, and finding my voice. It has been in the quiet moments of creation, I have connected so deeply with my inner self and the divine. With that deep connection through art, came resistance, fear and self-doubt, but it also brought the deepest love, joy, and gratitude I have ever experienced, it’s healing power more than I can place into words. It has taken me a long time to realize that I should stop wrestling with myself and resisting the artistic path I have been called to do, and surrender. I’ve experienced uncomfortable gifts that have cracked me open and taught me to accept those gifts, trust the process, and surrender to the idea that I am only a small vessel trying to help those around me through art.
As an intuitive artist, most of my paintings are done by showing up to the canvas. I start my process by pouring different colors on the canvas, and continue to build layer after layer. My paintings have several layers, marks, words, shapes and textures until the final image emerges. In general, I don’t have a beginning idea when I start, and listen to my inner self while exploring my feelings, the world around me, and what is inspiring me at the time. The end result is quite magical on the canvas and off.
Share with us your favorite part of WW, or a favorite Whimsical memory!
I have been a participating artist of WW since the Spring of 2011 and have cherished each show. My heart fills with gratitude when I think of each show, and the lifetime friendships I have made through this incredible art show. I have a few WW memories that I hold dear in my heart, and I will cherish forever. The first being the interview process with Luli. I was so nervous and hadn’t quite embraced the idea that I was an artist. Taking each piece of art out and telling her about each item, then spending the next hour connecting and sharing our journey in life was a memory I’ll never forget. The next memory I hold dear is my first show with WW. As a new artist, there was a special welcome from some of the women who had been doing the show for years. It helped calm my nerves and made me feel so loved. I’ve had some pretty tough life circumstances that have knocked me to my knees, but showing up for the set up at shows, being welcomed by the friendliest and loving group of women, and receiving a loving embrace made life so much easier.
“Being a part of this show is something that words fail to describe. I love all the funky art, the women that make it, and that I’ve made some great friendships through art.”
Where can people find your incredible, healing art?
Beyond Whimsical Women, my work can be found in local art/craft festivals around Winston-Salem, NC and the surrounding area. My art can be purchased directly from me, or through one of the many online avenues I have. I periodically send out a newsletter that shares where I will be locally selling my art, my art classes/services, and sharing my journey as a human through art. Many times I have coupons for my newsletter subscribers. I welcome commissioned pieces as well.
Toni is just one of many amazing women that make up the Whimsical Women family. Click here to read more Artist Spotlights.