The LowerTown Arts District finds its personality through a variety of ideas, cultural attractions, and professional artists. Tracey Buchanan loves the spirit that lives in LowerTown. In fact, it was part of the attraction she and her husband, Kent, had to Paducah’s Artist Relocation Program in the first place. The couple moved the studio and home from Paducah’s West End to the historic LowerTown neighborhood in 2007.
Tracey, a Paducah native, and Kent, a native of Metropolis, IL, decided to make some changes as they reached a new season of their lives—the empty nest. Kent encouraged Tracey to spend more time engaging herself as a writer and a visual artist. He encouraged her to see this as an exciting journey that would allow her to grow as a writer and artist.
Today, Tracey devotes much of her time to professional writing, however in more recent years has found visual art to be an outlet for expressing herself when words won’t come. Buchanan began exploring the visual arts during a challenging period in her life. She started collecting the words and wisdom she heard from other people in an effort to find expression for her own thoughts and feelings. As she collected stories and tidbits of knowledge, she found herself giving personalities to these words through her series of Flutterbies, a whimsical cast of characters housed in prints, stationery and books Tracey has authored and illustrated.
“People motivate and inspire me,” Buchanan said. “It’s fun to see what treasures come out of them. I love what I find out about people when they open up and begin to tell me about themselves.”
Tracey takes the mundane things of life and gives birth to new creations that inspire laughter and joy in others.
“People say funny things…whether they realize it or not,” Buchanan said. “Life is hard and the more humor we can find in it, the more joy we can find.”
Her work as a visual artist has grown into new areas including two- and three-dimensional collages. In these pieces, Tracey uses antique photos she’s collected from family and Paducah’s antique shops. She uses her gifts as a storyteller and author to create a personality for each of her subjects, adding words she finds in various print publications. Each collage captures the essence of what makes these individuals unique people. Where details are lacking, Tracey’s imagination fills in the gaps.
Tracey will speak at the National Stationery Show at the Javits Center in New York City, May 16-19. The show is attended by 12,000 attendees. The show attracts an international audience of buyers from stationery, card and gift shops, retailers, importers and distributors. Tracey’s work has garnered the attention of the organizers of this national show. For more information on the show, visit www.nationalstationaryshow.com. Her work will also be featured in Greetings, etc. Magazine.
Tracey’s work can be purchased at BeBe’s Artisan Market, located at 107 South Second Street, in Paducah’s historic Renaissance Area. For more information on the artist, please visit www.paducaharts.com.
By Jessica Perkins