Charmaine Renee and Their Love for Art


Charmaine Renee

Charmaine Renee made a piece with the petals of the first sunflower in their garden.

Charmaine Renee has been teaching art, in one way or another, since they were 17 years old, but this was their first year teaching high school students.

Before coming to Logansport, Renee taught at small art galleries or through private lessons. Then, after they went to grad school, they started to teach at the university level.

“The structure of high school versus higher education is vastly different,” Renee said. “I’m digging my classroom and the space. I love it here.”

Charmaine Renee made this piece in preparation for the art festival. (Charmaine Renee)

Renee spends most of their free time making something. They always have projects that they’re working on.

“There is usually a painting going on and some kind of sculpture going on,” Renee said. “Then, there are also just materials that I think are fun that I’m finding.”

Renee doesn’t work with just one material when it comes to their art. It all depends on the concept of the art they are trying to create.

“The material I work with is dictated by the idea of the piece,” Renee said. “I just love creating and working with my hands. I do have to say my favorite materials are the ones where I really get my hands messy. Getting the physicality out of the art making is really something I love.”

Art is a part of their everyday life. Even outside of school, Renee works on art. They even have a studio they create artwork at.

“For some of my larger more sculptural work, it is very inconvenient to have that at home,” Renee said. “So at home, it’s more like watercolors, sewing, and some clay. Stuff like that. At the studio, it’s more like building materials and my messy painting.”

There were many artists that influenced Renee to pursue art like Vincent van Gogh and Eva Hesse.

“She [Eva Hesse] was an incredible artist who made really beautiful conceptual works and she’s really sensitive to materials and what they mean,” Renee said. “I really fell in love with that.”

Another one of their influences is Anselm Kiefer. Kiefer is a painter who does very physical work. He uses building materials in his paintings and paints with plaster.

Charmaine Renee made a stamp and tested it on a page. (Charmaine Renee)

“He’s an incredible painter, insulation artist, and sculptor,” Renee said. “He makes really stunning, beautiful work.”

Art has always been a part of Renee’s life. They’ve planned on pursuing art since they were 12 or 13. For them, there was no Plan B.

“There is no other way,” Renee said. “There’s nothing else I could teach. It was what I was good at, and it was the language I understood.”

For anyone wanting to pursue art as a career, Renee has some advice.

“Your skills are not based solely on talent,” Renee said. “In fact, I would say talent has very little to do with it. It has much more to do with hard work and dedication. So, if you want to draw really well, sit down and draw for five minutes every day. Keep a notebook and write down your ideas. Don’t edit yourself.”