There’s just something magnetic about Oklahoma City, but one natural-born wayfarer and multidisciplinary artist didn’t realize it until she headed west three years ago.
Traveler, artist and OKC native Jamie Pettis has remained connected through art since moving to Phoenix in 2010, and her work is currently exhibited for the third time in her home state at Sean Vali’s, 1634 N. Blackwelder Ave., and will remain on display into January.
“It was just so exciting, and I left at a time when the energy was just so high and things were blooming,” Pettis said. “I decided I was going to bring my art home.”
Following the “cultural boom” with the city’s film and art scene and the arrival of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Pettis strived to stay connected with the community through artists and creators such as filmmaker Sterlin Harjo, gallery owner Sean Vali and artist Jack Fowler, who hosted her opening.
“I think what it says about Oklahoma City is that our scene is so good right now that it’s open to you even if you don’t live here,” Fowler said. “I’d have to be pretty confident in the possible success of a show if I spent the postage to mail a dozen paintings across the country.”
Fowler, a friend of Pettis, hosted the opening because Pettis won’t be able to leave Phoenix for the occasion.
Her show includes portraiture, which is compromised of mostly oil work, but possesses abstract qualities she has developed over her career.
“What I like to do with my pieces is create some sort of personal message that’s fairly blatant,” Pettis said. “I like to say something to the viewer that perhaps I’ve felt or gone through myself and leave it up to the viewer as to how that may affect them.”
Before focusing on her art, Pettis had opportunities in other fine arts. She has a degree in fashion design and production from Oklahoma State University, which led her to an internship with Marc Jacobs in New York City.
Following graduation, she pursued a childhood dream of acting in Los Angeles.
“I’ve always actually been all over the place,” Pettis said. “There [are] three things that I love: acting, music and art. I’ve honestly never clearly solidified what it is I want to do.”
Pettis’ work reflects her experience with numerous artistic pursuits and cross-country explorations, making it more “intense and personal.”
“For me, coming home is so important,” she said. “I lived a lot of places and [in] a lot of major cities, and something always pulls me back to Oklahoma.”
Her oil portraits can be seen in various galleries in Phoenix and Oklahoma City over the next five months and at facebook.com/JamiePettisArt.