Alabama Artist Deb Garst ISEA, ISAP




Mom and Dad knew I would become an artist when they saw my first abstract painting on the living room sofa in a lovely rose shade of lipstick. I was 2 at the time and proceeded to eat the remainder of the lipstick. Talk about  getting into your art.

As I journeyed through my school years I jumped at every chance to take art classes. In the 3rd grade I entered my first art show at Lovemanís department store in Birmingham, Alabama receiving a blue ribbon, my first of many future awards. For four years I took art classes from Mrs. Sellers at Berry High School. She was a major inspiration to me. In 1972 I went to University of Montevallo and majored in music (my other love) and later changed my major to Speech Pathology. Though I spent every spare moment at UMís art department painting with my friends, a degree in art was not in my future.

After graduating I no longer painted but worked as a Speech Therapist in Birminghamís school system. In my spare time I took night classes in photography at University of Alabama in Birmingham. I began working as a freelance photographer in my off hours.

Retiring after 12 years with the school system, friends urged me to get into art again. After my long sabbatical from painting, My first art show was with the Shelby County Art Association where I showed primarily photography but as I got braver, showed some paintings. I joined every art group that I could find in the Birmingham area as well as Watercolor Society of Alabama, Experimental Artists of Alabama and International Society of Experimental Artists ( awarded I.S.E.A. signature status in 1999).

I gleaned some valuable knowledge from the programs at the art group meetings I attended and made some great friends. My mentor was well known artist and dear friend, Evelyn Hunker. She constantly encouraged me to go to workshops and continue my growth as an artist. Evelyn was the only one I trusted to honestly critique my work. In 1990 she sponsored me as a member of National League of American Penwomen ( art division). Evelyn died of cancer in 1998 and left a void in the lives of the many people who loved her.

In 1994 I moved from a place Iíd lived my entire life to a new area. I feared it would be hard to get involved with a new group of artists but soon met many very talented folks who opened their hearts to me and were very supportive. Little did I know at the time that my association with the central Alabama art world would lead me to the man of my dreams and soul mate. I met fellow artist Steve Garst while teaching a workshop. It was love at first sight. We share a passion for art and music. He helps me see the world around me in a magnified way and inspires me to stretch my artistic skills even more. In September 2004, the weekend after Hurricane Ivan hit the Gulf Coast, we were married on the beach at Panama City Beach, Florida. Living with such a gifted artist has its perks, FREE ART CLASSES. I now have a new mentor who understands that an artist doesnít paint because he/she chooses to but because they HAVE to. Art is a part of our very being.