The Artist : Cheryl Dunlap
I have been sketching and creating artwork for as long as I can remember. As far back as Sunday mornings drawing with my Dad and ‘Captain Bob’ on TV. My Dad, who worked for Fish & Game, and was my artistic inspiration, taught me many things in the 11 short years that I had with him. Besides how to draw, he explained to me that everything in nature has its purpose and that ‘we’(as humans) have a place in that, as long as we respect it. He and my mother also taught me not to take life too seriously, that laughter is great medicine.
I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Endicott College, in Beverly, MA, with a degree in Arts & Science (seems a lifetime ago, when I looked like Marcia Brady). I envisioned becoming an illustrator, but my professors at the time advised our class towards commercial art and graphic design, probably so that we wouldn’t end up joining the ‘starving artist society’. I landed a great job right out of college with an advertising agency, Flanders & Skeffington and mentored under a wonderful Art Director, Tom Booth. I worked there nine years as an Assistant Art Director, right up until computers came on the scene and changed everything.
I was then hired at WearGuard (now Aramark) for not only my graphic design and advertising background, but also for my illustrating ability. They were looking to produce a wildlife series for T-shirts to compete with L.L.Bean’s at the time. The illustrations and t-shirts were a success. I went on to become the Art Director of a design team, traveled to national parks across the country and designed artwork for screenprint and embroidery on apparel for these parks. Denali National Park, Pikes Peak, Lake Powell, Mount St. Helens and Shenandoah National Park to name a few. Nine years and two children later, I decided to stay at home and spend some invaluable years with my kids.
I went back to my love of fine arts and painting. I took some classes, joined the South Shore Art Center, the Weymouth Art Association, the North River Art Association, and started entering gallery shows. I did the circuit for quite a few years, going to openings, etc. until the summer of 2010. I was working on an idea for an garden themed show, when the ‘bees’ came into my life. They were literally crossing my path and entering my life daily, until the image of a little fat bee meditating came to me, ‘Bee In The Moment’. All of my worlds and experience seemed to come together at that time. The image of my father letting bumble bees crawl across his hands when I was a little girl, to show me not to be afraid, came flashing back. The fact that in recent years I had heard that our bees were struggling in our environment. The yearning to use my talent in creating artwork that would touch people’s lives and ‘make a difference’. My passion for yoga, nature and environmental concerns, it all came together. I would create a line of inspirational, yet whimsical greeting cards with cute little bees doing silly things, like yoga poses. I would use biodegradable packaging, recycled paper and donate a portion of my proceeds to the ‘Save The Honeybee Foundation’.
The inspiration and ideas have not stopped flowing, the cards are touching so many people’s lives all over the country and this journey has been nothing but positive. You know you are fulfilling your ‘purpose’ in life, when you get chills every time you share your idea with someone. It was all ‘Meant To Bee’.
…one day…this will all change, treat people the same, stop with the violence, down with the hate, one day we’ll all be free and proud to be under the same sun, singing songs of freedom like…
one day… ” -Matisyahu