Pulling from her 13-year experience as a competitive swimmer, Ford finds inspiration to create abstract works of sea-inspired art — aided by an art degree from Brown University. Now, in addition to working as a support coordinator for Experian QAS, the Cambridge native works as a clerk for the Artists Group of Charlestown. The nonprofit group aims to provide a space for artists to create and exhibit work, and with the help of Ford, is gearing up for its 15th Art in the Park festival on Sept. 8.
Q. How long have you been interested in art?
A. Forever. When I was younger, I made posters for my swim team, but I started [focusing on art] more in my junior year of college. I majored in visual art at Brown University and became really interested in doing colorful, abstract paintings there with a focus on seashells and sand dollars. I have a love for water and the beach, because I was a swimmer in college as well.
Q. What inspires you?
A. Combinations of contrasting colors [in] anything I see. I look at a lot of pictures of flowers and seashells and other things in nature, and I base my motifs on nature (“Shells With Seaweed I,” right) and abstracts.
Q. What do you try to convey with your artwork?
A. I don’t do many paintings or drawings that are about dark subject matters. I want to make something that’s enjoyable to look at, [art] that someone wants to have in their home or office and not get sick of looking at. It’s about happiness and brightness in life.
Q. Tell me a little more about the Artists Group of Charlestown.
A. AGC is a nonprofit that’s been around for 15 years. It’s a group of artists dedicated to providing space for artists in the community. There are 30 or so members, and we have different kinds of shows and themes, open studios, spring shows . . . but Art in the Park is the most popular. It draws tons of people to Charlestown; it’s a fun outdoor event.
Q. What’s the scene like at Art in the Park?
A. [It showcases] about 50 artists, jewelers, potters, photographers, painters – a lot of different artists with different mediums. Charlestown is a cool place because there are so many up-and-coming people who want to live close to the city. We have a lot of young couples, professionals, and families, and they all come out, which is really great.
Q. Why do you think these small-scale art festivals are successful?
A. The artists are all doing unique, one-of-a-kind art. There’s nobody who’s producing hundreds of prints. Everyone [is allotted a] 10-by-10 space to set up booths along walking paths, so people can talk to the artists and buy art directly from them. Everybody in this day and age is into buying local food and buying organic and keeping it local. The idea of buying local art from Boston-based artists [has become] very important and hits home with people.