Healing Starts at Home
This week's Q& A is with artist Sharone Halevy, who draws inspiration from you, your space, and your music as she drenches your home in color and possibility. She is a painter who grew up loving to sketch and was deeply inspired by Andy Warhol, as well as many Impressionist painters. After surviving a messy life challenge, painting became her emotional refuge. Sharone started doing commissions for family and friends, and gradually her portfolio expanded to include clients worldwide. Onward spoke to her about her latest niche: art for those healing post-breakup.
Onward: What is your origin story?
Sharone: A few years ago, I was in a beautiful but very difficult relationship that was nearing an end, and found I needed a tactile way of putting my energy into something. Growing up I loved to silk screen, and was inspired by artists like Andy Warhol and a multitude of Impressionist painters. Looking back on how amazing it was to look at and feel color, I decided to create a large drawing with Sharpie, but found that marker fades quickly in the sunlight. I decided to paint over the sketch. When I did, something broke open. I found creating work based on my memory and making that a more sensory experience was exciting and difficult but in a good way. After creating a couple of my own works, each attached to a different thought and learning how much music influenced the way I work, a friend reached out and commissioned a painting. From there I haven’t stopped working as a painter. It has been four years.
Onward: Can you tell us a bit about your process of working with clients?
Sharone: I always want to start off by saying how honored I am to be trusted with my clients space and their stories. If possible, I would like to meet with you in your home (if not, we can video call as well!) and just sit and chat about the commission process. Investing in art for your home can be an exciting but scary adventure. I work to make this as accessible and personal as possible. To me, having meaningful art in your home can change the way you feel and live; it can bring in some warmth, beauty, and a unique flare to your space! I have a small list of basic questions that is up to you how much you expand on:
Budget: I base the budget on you and your investment abilities. There is always a $200 deposit and then it is ‘x’ amount per square foot. I care more about you having the size and scope of the work that makes your home your home rather than compromising on something you may have for life.
Inspiration: Why do you want a painting in your home? What do you want this painting to evoke? This is how I have learned many clients have come to me post break up; a partner moving out of a space, or having to suddenly find a new home with old furniture, etc have commissioned paintings as part of a healing process, as a way to claim space as yours! Others have given me poems, or ideas to think about, one woman said to me after her boyfriend of 6 years moved out, “I want a painting that reminds me I am powerful and peaceful” *Please know, any information shared is confidential unless you have given me permission to share.
Music Music Music: I move to sound as I paint. I ask you to provide me with the soundtrack. I have been given albums, books on tape, playlists, artists names, even single songs to paint to. That is what I will put on repeat as I work.
Onward: What are some of the ways clients are able to take ownership of the final piece (where does the inspiration come from?)
Sharone: I find knowing how the process beings give a certain level of ownership. I work hard to make sure what I give to you is a reflection of what you have shared with me. If working on a mural, I have had people be in the space with me and change the music in the room live while I work. But I am open to you being a part of putting down a base layer, and of course coming out and picking colors with me!
Onward: What does a post-breakup "space" look like? Why is it important?
Sharone: About a year after I broke up with the person I thought I was going to marry, I was sitting in my living room and zoned in on a small hole where a nail use to be that held a ridiculous trinket we had bought together. And it dawned on me, “why am I still holding space for this person in my home?” I looked around and found that the walls felt incomplete, and empty. The colors of each room were so neutral and honestly not a reflection of who I was at all. Changing that, was life changing.
A post-breakup space can be incredibly difficult. I think it is one of the hardest things to acknowledge after a breakup; They can feel incomplete or wracked with memories, good and bad. To me, working on your home is an amazing way to work outside-in. It can be terrifying to take ownership of who you are, learning from your past relationship as well as knowing what you want moving forward. I am a firm believer in letting yourself create a room that you imagine makes you breathe a little easier. Moving a couch to a new spot, painting a wall a bright and inspiring color, finding artwork that you can fall into, can be incredibly healing and cost effective. Find a better spot to stare at the wall on those lonelier nights, because they happen. Why not have something beautiful to look at that is yours?
Onward: Can you share a particularly moving piece?
Sharone: There was a woman I had worked with in the theater. She was a ball buster, fearless, and someone I greatly looked up to in her career. She had written a massive post on Facebook about her boyfriend of 5 years having decided to up and leave with no warning and how angry she was. I don’t know why, but I decided to write her and say how sorry I was and offered to listen to her as an unbiased ear, especially since I didn’t know her ex personally. I went to her home, and was first taken by the fact that the floor to ceiling bookshelves were half empty, with books toppling over from the lack of nearby support from the novels that use to be there. She said something deeply moving noticing my long stare, “I think this is the hardest, knowing that parts of the space you knew and saw every day can suddenly be taken away.” I offered on the spot to do a mural for her. To have something that is really for her and from her need to rebirth this home she had shared. By the end of the week, I had painted the long wall in her bedroom, she rearranged her book shelves and bought a ton of stunning plants. To this day she says it is the safest and most calming space she has ever had.
For more on Sharone, visit https://www.paintingsbysharone.com/, find her work around the world from New York to Israel to Australia to South Africa, and on instagram @art_by_sharone.