Artist Jessica Stoddart-Ladd

An example of fine art by Jessica Stoddart-Ladd

Photo of Jessica Stoddart-Ladd


Peculiarity of artist claims there’s not an art form she doesn’t Ursula Gullow / Photo by Matt Rose
“A lot of who I am is where I came from,” says Jessica Stoddart, 32, who grew up in rural Tennessee, the daughter of artists. “I was raised in a ‘Little House on the Prairie’ kind of way,” she says, recalling a childhood spent chopping wood and riding horses. “I love tools, but I’m also a girly girl.”Just walking into Stoddart’s studio evidences her industrious side. There are no frilly rugs, no extraneous paint splatters, no pop-culture references, and for that matter, no knick-knacks of any kind manufactured in the 21st century. That’s not to say the studio lacks character — on the contrary: like her art, Stoddart and her studio exude a timeless elegance that embraces down-to-earth ethics and nostalgic aesthetics.Located in the historic, former Biltmore Industries textiles complex near the Grove Park Inn, her work space resides among the cluster of cottage-like buildings now known as Grovewood Studios. Built in 1917, they have kept their stuccoed walls, casement windows and sloping roofs.Back then, affirmations were painted onto the walls and ceilings of the cottages to motivate weavers. In 1934, Eleanor Roosevelt visited, and may have even walked through the room that Stoddart now uses. An inscription reads: “It is the peculiarity of knowledge that those who really thirst for it always get it.”The space is inhabited by Stoddart’s easels, drawing tables, and, of course, her multi-media paintings. Large charcoal drawings of old-fashioned objects — tricycles, typewriters and chairs — are rendered on top of dress patterns that have been primed with various industrial colors, including chocolate brown, olive green, fire-engine red and slate gray. The lines of the patterns can be seen through the paint, complementing the sketches.She [...]

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