Blaire CloydBlaire Cloyd is a Springfield-based painter who leads paint parties for adults and children at local businesses in Springfield and the surrounding area.

ILI: How long have you been an artist or when did you start? Was there a single incident or moment when you realized this was your passion and if so, tell us about it?

BC: I truly believe that I was born with Art in my soul. Since I was young, I have always had a creative eye and absolutely loved producing work. I consider myself lucky because I had a critical support system. My parents, siblings, friends, and teachers were constantly encouraging my creativity by encouraging me to enter contests, take classes, etc. I came to know that Art was my passion in high school, when I became more aware that there is, and always will be, a future doing this; whether it be a career or even a side-hobby. Art always advances, and that fascinated me.IMG 0645 This led me to Illinois College, where I studied Studio Art/Education. I have zero regrets about studying Art as a major. I learned and grew drastically in knowledge and as a studio artist. Art leads to many things, and for me it led to happiness, which is why I continue to produce today.

ILI: Illinois has been factored into your work in the past. What does being able to live and work in Illinois mean to you?

BC: There is a certain comfort someone feels about the place they were born and raised. The best way for me to describe my feelings about my home state is the compare them to being in a long-term relationship. There are highs and lows, but ultimately, you love your partner through thick and thin. And, you always come back because they are your rock; where you feel the most comfortable. Without them, you wouldn't be where you are today and there's an appreciation that comes from that.

IMG 0647ILI: What opportunities does Illinois present to local Illinois artists?

BC: I currently do adult/child paint parties in Springfield, and I have had tons of support from local businesses allowing me to come in, teach a class, and enjoy the food and drinks. To name a few: Burger Bar, Always After Five, Trail's End Saloon in Curran, Mario's in Chatham, Driftwood, and Rivertown Coffee and Wine Corner in Beardstown. Without the support of these local businesses, I wouldn't be able to do what I do.

ILI: What do you like about Illinois?IMG 0644

BC: Illinois is my "home sweet home." My family, friends, and my art knowledge all stem from here. This place fueled my artistic fire. 

ILI: What is your favorite medium to work in?

BC: I am a sucker for acrylic paint. I love instant gratification, and working with acrylic gives me that. It dries quickly, and is very easy to work with. The water-based nature helps the paint go farther than just what's in the tube. It's also fairly inexpensive, so I am able to create more for less.

ILI: Where can people view or purchase your work?

BC: I have a Facebook page called Paint Party by Blaire. I do everything from paint parties to canvas paintings, pallet paintings, and face painting. Basically, if you want something created, I'll get it done.

IMG 0646ILI: What artist inspires you and why?

BC: Banksy. I have been obsessed with this artist since college. The mystery behind this person is absolutely fascinating. Research Banksy and you'll understand why. (It's worth it.) "Balloon Girl" is my favorite piece. She's even tattooed on my arm.