Since Rachel Piering was a kid, she had a penchant for drawing. First it was the colorful Disney cartoons she watched and Sunday comic strips she read that inspired her drawings. The love of drawing stayed with her as she grew up, and she nurtured her talent through studio art classes in high school.
She went to Stetson University in Deland and chose to major in marketing and minor in fine art. It was then that Piering thought seriously about her art and what she could do to turn her talent into marketable skills. It's a mindset beyond many college students, who try to find their place in the marketplace. To combine her passion and marketing background, she furthered her education and obtained an MBA. For Piering, talent is not enough to survive in the art world. “You can have as much talent as possible, but if you don’t know how to market yourself, no one will see you,” she said.
In 2006, Piering showcased her work for the first time at a restaurant in Orlando. Since then, she paints with acrylic on canvas and proclaims Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo are her two major influences. Her paintings comprise mostly of portraits in which her use of angular lines and structure of sharp noses are reminiscent of Picasso. Her abstract figures and landscapes reflect the spirit of Frida Kahlo’s technique of transcending life experience and observation onto the canvas.
She not only exhibits her own pieces but has a knack for putting on group shows, in which she enjoys event logistics and promoting the work of other artists. Working with artists, she frequently hears how their lack of business know-how might hinder their art careers. “The biggest complaint I hear from artists I work with is that in art school they are not taught how to manage money and market themselves,” she says.
“Artists have to become their own agent and marketer. There is also a business side to this industry that is just as important as producing good artwork,” she says.
The ultimate dream for Piering is to open her own gallery. But until then, she will exhibit her work in galleries throughout South Florida.
On Feb. 7, she opens her solo show at ArtServe in Fort Lauderdale to coincide with the gallery’s main show “twelve by 12, the collective.”
Piering’s solo show is on view to the public 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays through March 1, at ArtServe, 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-462-8190, or visit rachelpiering.com.
Andrea Richard is the marketing manager at ArtServe and lives in Fort Lauderdale. She is a lover of art, bicycles and quirky folks. You can find her online at twitter.com/Ondrea954.