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Monday, June 8, 2015

Illustrator, Designer & Fort Thomas Native Lucie Rice to Showcase Work at Fort Thomas Coffee

Illustrator, designer and Fort Thomas native Lucie Rice
Illustrator and designer Lucie Rice is a Fort Thomas favorite. She describes her work as whimsical and contemporary with a little retro flair. "It is typically pretty bright and colorful, and my signature treatment is the addition of a distressed texture to give the work a screen-printed look, very much inspired by my Nashville experience and a nod to the famous Hatch Show printing press," Rice says. "I also love incorporating pattern and hiding tiny little details throughout." 

A 1997 graduate of Highlands High School, Rice grew up at the end of Sterling Ave., where her parents still live. "I knew I wanted to be an artist from a very young age, and was endlessly inspired by the animals of my life, which is still the case in my professional life today," Rice says. Rice adds that she was encouraged and inspired by many an art teacher along the way. "Kathy Skop and her late husband, Michael Skop, were both very important mentors through my teen years."

Rice received a BFA in fine arts from University of Evansville in 2001 and an MFA in illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2004. "It took me a while to figure out what sort of artist I wanted to be," Rice says. "U of E had a decent fine art department and an outstanding study abroad program, which ultimately sold me on the school. During undergrad I realized that I was able to be much more creative with assignment based work than creating art for art's sake, and figure out that illustration was calling my name. SCAD has one of the best programs in the country, and is located in an amazing city, so it was an easy call to make."

In 2007 Rice and her husband, ho took a job with Vanderbilt Medical Group, moved to Nashville. "It has been an amazing city for me professionally and living there inspired a whole series of images that I sell as prints and on various merchandise throughout the city," Rice says. "I have been honored to create work for Nashville clients like the State of Tennessee and the Grand Ole Opry."

illustration by Lucie Rice
Rice says she loves creating posters, and would happily do that for the rest of her days. "I also really enjoyed working on a children's picture book I recently wrote and illustrated, Little Lola's Great Big Life. Inspired by my beloved little born dog Lola, it is a book about animal rescue, which is a cause that is near and dear to my heart."

Rice has been active in the animal rescue community for years. "I regularly donate my time and talents to various Nashville animal and welfare organizations, most notable Agape Animal Rescue, and have done a number of jobs for the nationally based Animal Rescue Corps. My husband and I have two endlessly entertaining dogs. Lola, the little brown dog I mentioned earlier, and Hank, our hilarious boxer dog. We are so in love with them both."

Although local to Nashville these days, Rice still has strong Fort Thomas ties. And in July, Rice is returning to her roots to showcase her work.

"Lori Valentine has seen my work around and offered me a solo show opportunity," Rice says. "I created a Fort Thomas poster that is sold at Bowman's Framing and also sell a few other prints and my book at Fort Thomas Central. I think Fort Thomas Coffee is a fun and happy space, and I like the idea of showing work in an environment that welcomes all. My work is commercial and highly approachable and I am much more comfortable showing it in a place that mirrors those good gives than I am displaying in a gallery."

illustration by Lucie Rice

Valentine, owner of Fort Thomas Coffee, had seen Rice's Fort Thomas poster as well as some of Rice's other work at Fort Thomas Central. After reaching out to Rice, Valentine realized she has long been a fan of Rice's work. "David [Valentine's husband] and I purchased a couple of her pieces about 15 years ago at an art show she had right next door to where Fort Thomas Coffee stands," Valentine says. "She's still on display in our home."

Rice's work is at home in Fort Thomas. "I love offering Lucie's work at Fort Thomas Central," Barbara Thomas says. "Her style so fits the shop's culture ... vintage-mod and maybe a little boho-chic in the mix."

And Fort Thomas Coffee offers ideal wall space for Rice to showcase her work. "We started Fort Thomas Coffee with the objective of encouraging community through creativity and connection," Valentine says. "We think that creative endeavors utilize parts of the brain that increase understanding and empathy, and ultimately lead to deeper relationships, and that's what we're all about." 

The opening reception at Fort Thomas Coffee is open to the community and will be Friday, July 3, from 5-7 pm with wine and snacks. The show will run through the end of July.

Interested in showcasing your work at Fort Thomas Coffee? Contact Lori Valentine at 

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