It is Thursday afternoon at Tara Vis Gallery in downtown Charleston, and there is music playing. It's fun, upbeat, and the kind you want to sing along to if you you could understand the words.
Ivet Butler manages Tara Vis Gallery and is from Slovakia. She loves Slovakian, French and American music, in no particular order. She loves Jazz too because there are no words, just feeling. You could talk at length with her about French music and also Brigit Bardot.
Five years ago, Ivet moved to the USA and now lives with her husband in Charleston. They met in Memphis and within a year of their first date, they were married. Leaving home was for the desire to see the world. Settling here was for the heart. When comparing Charleston to back home, she finds that the pace is slower here but she admits that it suits her.
As an immigrant, Ivet had to learn English to live and function here. Her Slovakian accent still comes through in her conversations in English. Confident in her ability to speak the language here, she is currently learning to speak French.
She grew up eating healthy. Fresh ingredients from the land, without additives, was the norm. She likes that there are restaurants in Charleston that work with local farmers to provide fresh ingredients for their recipes. She loves the food in this city and will often try a new place to eat when dining out. Of course, there is always that one special food one misses from back home. The one that she misses requires a cheese only found in Slovakia and Poland. She will not be missing it for much longer because, in a few weeks, she heads home for vacation.
Her parents, like mine, wanted her to find a reliable job with good benefits. They were unsure of the financial benefits of being an artist. Living in America has given her the freedom to be herself. Freedom to pursue art.
She works in black and white film photography and processes and prints her own work. The subject is often about women, their strengths, and their place in the world. Her last collection of images was entitled Super(Natural) Woman. The images are double exposures created in the darkroom. The images are pairing of a image of a woman with images of nature.
Presently she is painting with gold and silver paint over hand printed black and white photographs. It is a new series of images, and she will probably write poetry to go along with the art. Poetry for her seems like an easier mode of communication than regular conversation.
As is the desire of most serious artists, her dream job is to create art for a living. She has a wish to be represented in galleries and to have the time to create. Art for her, comes from a deep emotional pool and is full of feeling and story.
Her love of travel will not be undone. Ivet still has places to see.
Arizona is next.