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RSVP Montgomery Magazine May/June 2018

Madison Faile

Anna Shay Wasden

“The past two years have been a real baptism by fire.” After losing his mother in a boating accident in 2016 and his father to Alzheimer’s in 2017, Madison Faile found a way to deal with the tragedies that life dealt him. “Art is what got me through that process. Art is the only thing that got me through.” 

The week of his mother’s death, Madison threw away all of his paintings. This cleansing might have been the end for other people, but for Madison it was just the beginning. “I went from painting in very vivid color to painting in black and white overnight.” The traumatic events which plagued Madison have turned him into the artist he is today. 

The relationship between his work and the loss he suffered has had a subconscious effect on his art. “Dealing with the deaths of my parents have become almost the elephant in the room during my art shows.” His pain shines through his work, but Madison has found it hard to talk about the tragedies. The choice of subject matter- including his infamous clown works- are all reminders of childhood. Their distinct lack of color gives the dark imagery with which Madison associates this time.  

“Painting is alchemy, there’s nothing natural about it.” Ever since Madison was a young boy growing up in Alabama, he knew he wanted to be painter. He credits his grandmother, a very talented portrait painter, with his initial introduction to the art world. Madison grew up, honing in on his talents through the aid of private art tutors in Montgomery. His father, a talented photographer, and mother, a dance instructor with over 200 students, both encouraged Madison’s love for art. His cultured upbringing allowed him the freedom to never question where he wants to go in life. Art has always been his path.

He attended high school in the capital city then elected to pursue a fine arts degree at Troy University. After learning from private tutors, Madison found it imperative to attend a university which offered one-on-one relationships with professors. He said, “When I got to college, I already had the ability to draw and paint, but school took that and cracked it open. I have been redefining my craft ever since.”

Since graduating from college, Madison’s art career has grown immensely. His show, Apparitions, debuted at the Armory and represented the memories and “ghosts” which have followed him in year’s past. Troy University recently invited Madison to show his collection, Prodigal Son, in the new International Art Center. “To be asked back is a major honor.” Prodigal Son is a collection of the past two years and gives his viewers a hint at where he is headed. Madison’s voice is slowly being defined as he continues to create pieces which can be automatically recognized as his own. 

His shows have been met with a resounding amount of positive feedback. Any negative feedback is inevitably part of being an artist, but Madison handles it with grace. “If people hate your work, you’re doing something right,” he explains, “but most of the negative feedback surrounds the ‘scary’ nature of some of my paintings.” Seeing a room with 20 or more of his own pieces is certainly surreal. “Say you’re an author, and you walk into a room and everyone’s reading your new book or maybe you walk into a room and there’s nude photographs of you everywhere. It’s almost like cutting a vein open.” He sees flaws in his pieces but is proud of where his career is headed.

Madison assures us that it won’t always be a black and white world. “We’re slowly starting to see color come back into my work.” Although Madison does not want to spoil anything for his fans, he does promise to continue with his passion for Southern gothic imagery and naturalistic subjects. Sculpture work and still-life paintings have been a small part of his shows recently, but have quickly become something Madison hopes to continue working with. 

“Being an artist is what defines me first- not being from Alabama, not being an orphan. Painting for me is a push and pull. For me, it’s not about acting, it’s about reacting. I don’t believe in a clean studio, I don’t believe that exits.” Madison’s passion for painting has been met with so ardent support over the years. Since his first show at the Kress building in 2011, Montgomery has been very receptive of his talent. Stonehenge Gallery permanently displays a majority of his work, but he also shows in Birmingham, Atlanta, Chicago and in Gallery Orange in New Orleans. His work is in private collections all over the country, including California and Texas. 

He hopes to see other artists, especially in the River Region, grow over the next years. He advises them to listen to that voice in their head, promote themselves ceaselessly, but most importantly- find the joy in doing what they love. “When I paint for myself and people can see the joy, the pieces sell. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, what is the point?” 

Madison’s story of overcoming loss is not over. He deals with the tragedy daily but knows his art will carry him in the years to come. 

Madison showcases his pieces on Instagram (@madison.faile). Stonehenge Gallery holds a majority of his work, though he continues to show in art galleries all across the country. He can be reached through email at madisonfailestudio@gmail.com and by phone at 334.782.3884.

By Alicia B. Hill


Barrientos’ paintings have been displayed at the LaGrange Art Museum, The Suffering Artist in Hogansville, the Autumn Leaves Art Show in Valley and the Hillside Food, Music & Art Festival. His work can easily be picked out of the crowd by the vibrant play of colors.

“I like to think that my art is full of color and how the colors interact with each other,” Barrientos said. “Most of my paintings look like scenes from space, but that is not necessarily my inspiration. My inspiration is how the colors interact with each other and how I blend the colors and the different techniques of blending and creating texture — that is what I am thinking about when I am making a painting.”

Barrientos is originally from Mexico, but he moved to LaGrange in 2000. He began to study art while in LaGrange, and his developing style and technique can be seen in his work.

“When I decided to become an artist, I decided to start doing landscapes and portraits like everybody else, but it was taking me too long to be good at it,” Barrientos said. “Then my former teacher from West Georgia Tech, James Arnold, taught me how to do abstract art, so I started doing abstract art. I started getting excellent reviews, and I started selling paintings.”

His work is currently on display at Leigh & Paige Fine Art Gallery in Columbus and Artisans on the Square in Greeneville.

Though those familiar with his work may be surprised to view one of his newer styles of paintings, which mixes abstract technique with landscapes.

“Later on — when I had the opportunity to have my own show — I decided to go back to landscapes, but this time using the techniques that I use doing my abstract work,” Barrientos said.

He said that he was inspired to experiment with the style due to the influence of some of his early art education.

“It was an idea that came up later as I started developing my own technique based on the teachings of James Arnold,” Barrientos said. “The idea to incorporate those techniques into other kinds of art — like abstracts and portraits — came up, and I decided to start doing landscapes first. Maybe I’ll try portraits later on, but I’m always improving and changing my techniques.”

Like any artist, Barrientos’ work has been influenced by those around him, and he said LaGrange’s artistic community has encouraged him to continue painting and learning.

“I am a member of the Visual Artist Alliance of LaGrange, and they have shows. One of the shows is going to be at the Artisans on the Square Gallery [in Greenville]next month,” Barrientos said. “It encourages me to keep painting and create new art. It is a great art community, very supportive and great friends.”

Barrientos had his first solo show in October, and he considers it a success due to the positive reception and sales that the show inspired.

“I have been working as a manager in two galleries in Greenville, and I had the opportunity to have a solo show,” Barrientos said.

“I filled a big room with more than 40 paintings. I made 15 paintings is in one month just to get ready for that show.”

He said that working in art galleries has made it easier for him to grow as an artist and devote time to his art.

“Working in these two galleries in Greenville has really improved my life,” Barrientos said. “It islike the best thing that has ever happened to me so far. … Being in the art community, it’s basically a dream come true. It is great working with them.”

To view some of Barrientos’ work online, visit Artofjaasiel.com.


Julianne David: one artist’s journey from Instagram to Columbus’ newest fine art gallery

May 8, 2018   The LocaL Magazine

Julianne David works out of her dining room. The space is intended to be a dining room, anyway, but is given over entirely to canvas and paint. Not that David has much time to work.

“I squeeze in [art] during nap times, after bed, before they wake,” she says of finding time for art while raising three sons. “They like to help me paint.”

Painting was not her first path, or even her second. She started college at Auburn, but transferred to Savannah College of Art and Design in her junior year, where she majored in fashion and minored in photography. After an internship with Jenny Hilfiger, she found herself working for her more prominent brother, Tommy Hilfiger. After a year with the powerhouse fashion brand, Julianne became engaged.

“Being in the heart of the fashion industry was amazing,” she admitted, but the hours are long and demanding. She wanted a creative outlet she could better balance with family; however amazing, the fashion world was not one to which she could commit.

Moving to her husband’s hometown of Columbus, Julianne first began making stationary. Soon she was drawing on her fashion experience, painting female figures. Four years ago, she posted one of her figures on Instagram (you can find her @juliannedavidart). The figure sold immediately. She kept selling.

Her first show was at her parent’s home in Fairhope, Al, a small city across the bay from Mobile. She was surprised by the turnout, and six months later had a second show at her own home in Columbus, another motivating experience. Ted Johnson, of Leigh & Paige Fine Art Gallery (1309 Wildwood Avenue, Columbus), like her first customer, found Julianne on Instagram. Julianne says she was surprised when Ted asked her to show work in the gallery, and she welcomed the additional outlet for her work, the extra motivation to “keep doing what I love to do.”

Julianne’s work tends toward three forms. The female figure, her first form and still an energetically pursued subject, is most prominent, and is explored in a wide range of palettes and poses. She also works in abstracts, which she started out of love, and enjoys the challenge of organizing color in subtle ways to direct the viewer’s gaze. Her faces series are free flowing portraits of post-war icons—Judy Garland and Albert Einstein are recent subjects—and capture these well-known figures in her signature style.

The Art of Julianne David opened at Leigh & Paige on April 20, with a bustling turnout. The show runs through May 16.


March 14, 2018   Ledger-Enquirer

‘Working with living artists is a rewarding experience.’ Q&A with veteran Ted Johnson on his Midtown gallery. Columbus is home to many retired veterans, but none are quite like Ted Johnson. Johnson recently retired after 22 years in the Army ...