Featured Artist: Belle Naguher of Missihippie Belle

I met my artist friend Belle Naguher last year during football season and was immediately struck by how creative this chick was! Like me, she had gone to college at Mississippi State University, moved out west, and had recently returned. When I opened my boutique this fall, I had the idea to place some of her artwork in my store and have a mini-gallery featuring different artists each time. All the artwork featured in the store is for sale and is also available online. So, let me introduce Belle!

Belle Naguher received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in painting in 2008 from Mississippi State University. She relocated to Denver for 4.5 years pursuing a career in art and music. In 2013, Belle returned to her hometown Amory, Mississippi and opened her first art studio on Main Street named “Missihippie Belle” which became the home base to the newly restored Amory Area Arts Council. Earlier this fall, Belle accepted the Executive Director position at The Gum Tree Museum of Art in Tupelo, Mississippi (Elvis Presley’s birthplace).

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“Ramble on Rose” Jerry Garcia print, $95

Describe your aesthetic and style in three words.

COLOR,  strong line, and flow

Where do you get inspiration?

I draw my inspiration, mostly, from nature: divine symmetry in plants, a ripple in still waters, to the colors of the sky throughout the day.  

Describe your personal fashion style.

Missihippie/boho-sheik

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“Dotty” cow skull, $400

How did you go about transforming your passion for creating art into a business?

At some point the art comes out of you because it can no longer be contained.  My passion for creating art fuels my drive to produce. It’s hardly work if my soul is happy.

With your new job as executive director, what is a typical workday like for you?

My typical day at The GumTree Museum of Art consists of exhibit hangings/takedowns, emails, meetings, calls, showing patrons around and explaining exhibits, and promoting/networking the museum.  Honestly, I feel like I’ve met half of Tupelo since I accepted the Ex. Director position and everyone has been so helpful.  Tupelo is growing and the people here are working together to make it a better place.   I’m really happy to be in the mix and to be able to continue my career at this historic Museum.

What’s on your desk right now?

My Ray-Bans, cell phone, physical planner and about 40 post-it notes stuck around my computer screen arranged in a hierarchical pattern of color-coded importance.  

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“Tones of Home” Shannon Hoon print, $95

Favorite piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

Maintain good faith.  Never-at any cost sacrifice integrity for monetary gain.  There will always be an opportunity to make more money but integrity, once compromised, cannot be fully reclaimed.

Favorite piece of life advice you’ve ever received?

“BE the change you want to see in the world” and that I can only affect how I react to a situation.

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“Zen Bessie” cow skull, $400

How would you suggest part-time artists become more involved in the local art community?

My assistant Amy Webb is a student in her freshman year of college (majoring in art) and she volunteered at GumTree for a senior art project.  Now she is a paid part-time employee of the Museum.  Volunteer, get involved, offer help, and get to know the movers and shakers in your community.  One of my favorite parts of the job is networking with other businesses.  You can add layers to any project simply by partnering with other people.  

How would you suggest starting an art collection?

Start small.  Collect pieces from your artist friends.  Go to festivals and talk to the artists about their process (we like to do this).  Think about what is relevant to you and notice what is aesthetically pleasing to your eye, and collect!

What are you most excited for in the upcoming months?

I’m most excited about my new gig, my new home in Tupelo and THE GUMTREE FESTIVAL!!!  (Mother’s Day weekend w/ 100 artists, singer songwriter competition, food trucks, children’s activities and ‘Blue Suede Cruise’)

Thanks so much to Belle for being our first featured artist! This is the first in a series of hopefully bi-monthly artists that I will feature in the store. Come see the art at 103 E. Lampkin St, Starkville, Mississippi or shop it online at www.GypsterVeil.com!