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Georgetown Library Showcases Family Art Exhibit
By Charlotte Kovalchuk, Hello Georgetown Contributor
On the library’s second floor, a unique art exhibit meets the eye, one that’s both whimsical and dark with many pieces celebrating the wonder and imagination of childhood. A rainbow of foam drips from a wall while spray-painted work is displayed on another. A massive butterfly stretches its wings down the hall near a three-tailed mermaid and literary heroine Alice in Wonderland.
This is the work of a whole family of artists – Sonia Colonna Mathis and her three children, who created the Art in the Family exhibit that will be displayed until July 19.
“People who have experienced my kids’ art in the past have always marveled and asked, ‘How did they get so good at making art so fast?’ ” Sonia said. “My response has always been, ‘They suffer from overexposure.’ They just can’t help it.”
Photos by Charlotte Kovalchuk
Sonia has lived and breathed art all her life, so it was only natural that her kids caught the creative bug. That’s the goal of Art in the Family, to share the unique ways children respond to art and creativity while growing up in an art-centered environment.
Just as she encourages her kids’ art goals, Sonia remembers how her parents and friends always supported hers. “The buzz with family and friends was always, ‘You are really good at this. You are meant to do something with this.’ ”
She went on to earn a bachelors in studio art from the University of Texas at Austin, where she learned everything from drawing and painting to ceramics, metals and printmaking. Sonia has since worked as a framer for an art gallery and businesses and has won international awards as a creative frame designer. She’s also worked as an art curator for her gallery and others, given talks and demonstrations to artists and photographers across central Texas, all while raising three children who are stepping into artist roles of their own.
Sonia primarily paints people and animals, and her work tends to be whimsical, often with a dark sense of humor. An avid reader, she loves making literary references in her art. “I am constantly seeing potential in objects and spaces around me to transform into something else,” she said. “I can’t imagine my life without art in it.”
Neither can her children. Sixteen-year-old Carson was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age 2 and may have had a slow start, but he is high functioning and has a great attitude, Sonia said. He works abstractly and prefers unusual materials and processes that result in fascinating and loose art. It’s a fun activity that helps fund his other hobby, collecting and repairing robots. At 13, Luna is able to visualize a character, stance or expression and draw it from her head. She sees art as a form of therapy and a way of expressing herself. Terra, 5, is quite a powerhouse and is into everything and believes she can do anything. For her, art is a way to keep busy and feel connected to her family.
“They all pick up techniques quickly and make beautiful decisions that often surprise me,” Sonia said. “They are amazing and inspiring. Each kid is so different in his or her approach. I love celebrating those differences as a family.”