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Experience-inspired: Minot artist shares her world perspective

Art has been natural for Roxi Mathis ever since she could hold a pencil, being an important part of her every day life.

People view the world in different ways. Artists see things differently than other artists. Roxi Mathis of Minot is one such artist, who shares her experiences of eye surgeries and how they affect what she sees.

Mathis has been creating art since she could hold a pencil. “My parents would give me pencils, paints, and brushes and let me run,” she said.

Problem solving is one of her strong suits, and art allows her to use creativity to solve those problems. For example, she uses her graphic design skills to come up with solutions for clients if they want to convey a particular message. As an illustrator, she can bring stories to life through visuals.

On the other hand, when she makes art for herself, she offers a peek into her own experiences and thoughts. Showing her audience the beautiful and interesting things she sees is possible through using different media.

Art for her is a way to communicate, whether it be illustrations in a children’s book or a painting that is hung on the wall. “All of the art I make has a little bit of me within it and tells a little bit of my story.” Making art is a habit for her, so it is very much a part of her day-to-day life.

Roxi Mathis created this billboard design for the Minot Area Council of the Arts’ “Stay Home Make Art” campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mathis has a wide range of media she uses, such as acrylic and oil paints, digital and some clay. Lately, she has been using a lot of watermedia. Her current gallery pieces that are being shown all around North Dakota are made from watercolor paint and ink.

“Watercolor paint has the ability to look very delicate and a little abstract,” she said, “and that fits well with my current gallery art, which is all about my experiences with eye surgeries.”

When it comes to her story illustrations, she uses gouache. For those who have not heard of gouache, it is a watercolor medium that is opaque. It is made of natural pigment, water, a binding agent and sometimes additional inert material. Mathis likes using gouache for illustrating because it is bright and opaque, and it’s easy to scan for reproduction.

She does digital art at Minot State University and also as a freelancer. She has a degree in graphic design. “I felt that it would be a stable way to start a career in the arts,” she explained.

Not only does she use a wide variety of media, but she also draws and paints a variety of subject matter. Although she doesn’t necessarily have a favorite, she has a love for North Dakota landscapes, so she goes back to those a lot. Fantastical little monsters are dear to Mathis’ heart, as well, loving to draw “weird little creatures.”

“BluePurple Sky” was created in April 2019 by Roxi Mathis, using watercolor paint and ink for her traveling gallery.

Some artists use pencils first to create a rough sketch or outline to guide their piece. Others jump straight into it with colored pencils, paint, charcoal, etc. For Mathis, it depends on what she is making.

For the landscapes she was creating for her gallery show, she didn’t generally use pencils because she felt the piece was “fresher and stronger” if she just created on the fly. Some of the videos that she created on her YouTube channel were “no-sketch lessons,” where the artist doesn’t need to draw anything to get started.

Motivators play an important part in an artist’s life, encouraging them to do what they love and continue through the blocks that may come their way. Mathis’ parents have always been her first motivators. “They were always super supportive and didn’t hesitate to supply me with the materials I needed to feed my creative addiction.”

After her parents are her fellow artists that push her to keep working. Her friends who create amazing things inspire her to keep working.

Historical art figures influence her, too. Mark Rothko, Moebius, N.C Wyeth, Egon Schiele and Helen Frankenthaler are just a few of the several.

Roxi Mathis painted “Galaxy Tree 3” with watercolor paint and ink.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, family and friends suggested to her that she should make a YouTube channel to make tutorial videos when people are stuck at home. Teaching art is another passion Mathis has, so it seemed like a fun idea

About three weeks ago, her channel called Broken Peepers Art was created, referencing her experiences with eye surgeries and the idea that “even with setbacks, we can still continue to make art.”

At the moment, watercolor tutorial videos have been the main focus, as well as some time-lapse painting videos. “I have some fun ideas for future videos,” she added.

Her art is on sale in a few different places. On society6.com/roxivision, her pieces are available on multiple different surfaces, such as tote bags, coffee mugs, skins for the back of a cell phone and many more. Mathis also has her work for sale at facebook.com/roximathisart.

In addition to selling her work, she takes commissions for paintings, illustration projects and graphic design work. To contact her with a commission, send an email to roxi.mathis@gmail.com or send a direct message on her Facebook page, Roxi Mathis Art.

She left some words of wisdom for up and coming artists. “Try everything! Even if it’s not your thing, even if you’re bad at it, even if it flies in the face of logic for you, try it and try it earnestly and learn it with an open mind. Even if it’s not an artform you will continue with, it might teach you something or inspire you or spark an idea.”

Drawing and painting based on experiences and how an artist views the world can open up another person’s world. That experience may give them a new perspective on life that a person never thought of, and that is Mathis’ goal. She wants her audience to see things the way she does, and she portrays it with beautiful colors and interesting shapes.

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