Local artists, performers, and small businesses are all opening their digital doors to continue supporting, and being supported, by the Lowcountry community during coronavirus pandemic.
Tate Ellington, local illustrator and co-founder of Washed Ashore Collective, is hosting online painting sessions, as well as promoting regional artists via the co-op’s social media in a push to keep the area’s art scene flourishing.
Ellington’s work captures vibrantly hued depictions of recognizable sights and scenes found throughout the city, from the infamous Forsyth Fountain nestled into its flowery surroundings, to the brick façade of The Kehoe House, or a colorful display of Low Country Boil displayed on newsprint.
"I love working in watercolor, ink, and pencil," said Ellington. "I love the fluidity of watercolors that results in the colors clashing and fading into one-another or creating a tie-dye effect. Adding fine lines of ink makes the vibrant colors stand out, which I think makes it a bit whimsical or cartoonish maybe. I’ve heard from others that my style has gotten more defined and detailed. I was a bit clumsy when I started, but I always try to improve and add more features with each piece."
The Savannah native said she first began pursuing painting in her teenage years and later as a pastime before beginning her career as an illustrator following the birth of her son.
"I learned watercolor and acrylic painting in middle school and attended learning opportunities/events from the Telfair Museum and SCAD in high school and college, but it was always a hobby or an outlet," she said. "I stopped working on art for a while. I worked in the local school system, but after my son was born I took it back up again, and from there it blossomed into my career."
Among the ongoing concern with social interaction, Ellington has made the move to make the collective’s work more openly available and easily accessible online.
"I started doing online ’Paint-a-long, Talk-a-Lot’ live videos on social media, I send out the sketch prior for those who want to follow along but always invite imagination and a lot of conversation," she said.
"I’ve also been doing art projects and food delivery for the respiratory therapists at St. Joesph’s/Candler as well as attending virtual pop-up markets hosted by other amazingly innovative makers in Savannah, which is such a blessing in these uncertain times."
The group is currently working on building up the Washed Ashore Collective website/social media, which will offer local artists "the opportunities they deserve to network, sell, collaborate, and display their hand-made, locally-made goods to a broader audience," said Ellington.
Ellington’s love for Savannah shines through in her illustrations as well as her continued efforts to promote the work of other local artists.
"There’s so much inspiration from the Lowcountry, the golden marshes, the wildlife, canopies of live oaks, cicadas singing, it’s all so poetic. I personally feel so creatively inspired by our great combination of nature and city life and the fact that there are so many artistic people in the Lowcountry makes it ten times more beautiful, and so many of us are working to conserve and preserve our region in some form, as well as working together on projects and markets, there’s a lot of unity here."
Artists interested in selling through Washed Ashore Collective can reach out by sending a message via Facebook, Instagram or email. Those interested in watching Ellington’s live videos can find them on her Instagram @tate.ellington or Facebook; Tate Ellington.