Ivy Dionne O’Brian is a second-generation Valley Girl, still residing in West Hills, just north of Los Angeles, not far from the high school both she and her mom attended. Her deep roots, strong sense of family and community, and grounded sense of stability have created a picture-perfect life with her husband and daughter, balancing parenting, work and art. Maintaining a full-time position as a designer and director of brand, she has nonetheless considered herself an artist since she was old enough to pick up a pencil, and spends most of her free time creating her mixed-media art in her home studio.
With a mother that was also an artist and nurtured her creative side, Ivy dreamt of having her own art studio at an age when most young girls dreamt of being ballerinas. The budding artist preferred the ease, control, and portability of ink and pencil, and was inspired by the editorial spreads in fashion magazines, drawing the models, absorbing the textures, recreating the details that spoke to her. At the time, painting did not appeal to her, as she felt she didn’t have enough control of the medium and was then unable to capture the details she loved, although that was to change at a later point in her artistic development.
Ivy has spent years exploring various modalities before finding her current passion. For a time, her creativity was expressed through metalsmithing and jewelry, creating handcrafted pieces from silver, copper, and crystal until pregnancy forced her to give up working with metals. After giving birth, she didn’t have time to devote to her craft, and muses that her Etsy shop probably still says she’s on maternity leave. Art became an occasional creative indulgence until about two years ago, when she felt the need to return to art and give her creativity room to grow.
She found an acrylic flow art class, and as a self-described “control freak,” thought it would be a good exercise in letting go. Loving the technique but hating the waste, she moved from pouring acrylic and resin to working with alcohol inks, a medium she still utilizes today. Now, whether creating forms with abstract flow, or painting figurative images with intention using acrylic, liquid inks and pens, her current body of work is dream-like, ethereal, and colorful, utilizing the inherent movement of the ink to produce beautiful works where the component of fluidity creates simple yet astounding beauty. Her most recent works have advanced to mixed-media, combining brushed acrylic paints with acrylic inks, papers, charcoal, and pastels.
An intuitive painter, Ivy often lets the painting decide its’ own direction. Sometimes painting to raucous music, other times in complete in silence, her work vacillates between energetic and meditative. It seems that first flow class many years ago taught her not only technique, but how to listen to her own inner voice, and when to tune it out.