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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Street Class: Highland Avenue's Artist in Residence

I think it's safe to say that most Ft. Thomas residents have some memories on Highland Avenue. Whether it's attending Moyer Elementary, or riding your bike to the Ft. Thomas Swim Club, or just driving down Highland Avenue on your way to work. For artist and illustrator Arian Armstrong, Highland Avenue is where her family calls home. 

Armstrong and her family ended up in Ft. Thomas by accident. When their landlord in Newport's historic district wanted to renovate, they were given 30 days notice to find a new home. "In a panic we turned to a good friend who owns quite a few rental properties, hoping to find a temporary place to stay until we found something we really loved. He showed us this cute little house we was fixing up here in Fort Thomas," said Armstrong. "Two and a half years later, we're still here!" 

Like many local residents, Armstrong appreciates the mix of urban and suburban life that Ft. Thomas offers. "I love that we have space to have a big vegetable garden, and our boys can safely walk to and from Moyer Elementary. When I walk into Fort Thomas Coffee, people know my name. Yet we can be at downtown Cincinnati's world class restaurants, museums, parks, and theaters in less than ten minutes! It's the best of small town and urban life combined," said Armstrong. 

Armstrong's artwork is whimsical and features many love-inspired pieces. She sells her art online at Etsy and Society6 as well as participates in local art shows. "The style is kind of 'storybook chic.'. My art is often described as 'cute' and usually revolves around the themes of love, adventure, hope, and childhood." Her storybook chic aesthetic is even visible throughout her personal blog. 

Art has been a major aspect of Armstrong's life since childhood. "My mom is an artist so I grew up with a variety of art supplies at my finger tips and a resident expert to teach me the ropes," said Armstrong. 

She now shares her creativity and art with her own family. Her husband, Daniel Armstrong, is also her creative partner in crime at times. Arian describes Daniel as "an artist, animator, and expert storyteller." Together they've created some animated music videos, and she hopes to work more with him in the future to tell "beautiful stories."

When Daniel and Arian aren't working or caring for their three children, they enjoy spending time together with some coffee and a side of creativity. "My favorite date with my husband is our coffee shop sketchbook date where we get a drink, catch up, and draw," said Armstrong. 

Armstrong may have ended up in Ft. Thomas by chance, but there's no doubt that she's making her mark on our town. If you've visited Ft. Thomas Coffee this year, there's a good chance you're seen Armstrong's work displayed on the walls. Be sure to check out her artwork online or in person at one of her shows. You can find her work online at Etsy, Society6, her personal blog

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