Arts & Culture, Basement Babes Zine

Basement Babes Issue 11: Photography

Photos by Toby Penney


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Toby is an artist from Tennessee. In describing her work she says: “My goal is to appreciate and learn from every day and every experience. Small, simple moments are what really matter in a lifetime. Long-lasting relationships are built out of enduring and appreciating the everyday.

Color is absolutely one of the most memorable elements of a moment for me. I often start a painting with a quick sketch or mark and then a flood of color. The memory of a color can often be the catalyst for an entire painting or even series of paintings. Following my initial mark making and color choice, each layer of the work is created in response to the previous one. After several layers are applied the painting has a history of its own. The texture of this history can be seen in the layers of paint and drawing that build up.

Mixed media including acrylic, latex, pastel, graphite, ink, & oil pastel are favored mediums. Reclaimed fabric, fibers, & materials are most times included in the work. The history of these objects lends a much desired weight to the pieces as well as instills a spirit that I continue to desire. Recently I have refocused on drawing and line work along with the physicality of the paint. Exploiting the properties of the materials I use for their immediate weight & the gravity of their marks contrasts with the solid forms of my chosen subject. My goal here is to combine two unique moments, the initial moment that compels the painting & the painting as it becomes the subject, into a single image that evokes an emotive response from the viewer.

Themes often found in my work include references to home & personal growth, as well as time, memory, & history through familial reference & record keeping. Each piece created is a collection of moments & experiences conveyed through a visual format. I use mediums such as painting, sculpture, & photography much like a writer employs the written word in an effort to preserve and present history with respect, as well as to appreciate the present.”

Find more work by Toby on her website:

You can also follow her on Instagram @tobypenney.

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