HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. — Holly Springs artist Heather Eck is well-known for her abstract art. Her paintings sell for thousands, and her work has appeared in publications from Vanity Fair to Cary Magazine. If you’re out and about on March 12 , you could snag your own piece of Heather Eck art – for free!
That’s because Eck is participating in International Art & Found Day
, where thousands of artists from all over the world place their art throughout local communities for neighbors and residents to find, enjoy and keep.
We sat down with Heather to chat about why she chose to participate in Art & Found day and what inspires her to create.
How long have you been an artist?
I started painting in 2018, so I’ve created abstract art for about four years, and I love it. I spent many years pursuing a traditional corporate career, and while I was good at it, it didn’t fuel me like art does.
What first inspired you to begin painting?
I was always a very creative kid, and even minored in art in college, but I stepped away from art as I got older, because I moved into a corporate career that created stability. I took that path because I thought that’s what I was “supposed” to do. While in that corporate role, I achieved what some may call traditional success, but I ultimately determined that art was more personally fulfilling. Ironically, I received a promotion and confirmation of my first First Friday showing on the same day!
What motivated you to shift from a traditional career to full-time art?
I actually work with a spiritual teacher, and we began talking about what my gifts were and why nothing felt right. Creative expression is my gift, and when that came to light, it was like a remembering something I had lost. So, I went out that day and bought paint supplies. It was like I was letting out steam every time I painted – like I was coming back to who I was…a person I had not remembered for so long.
Tell us about International Art and Found Day and why you decided to get involved.
I learned about Art & Found Day through an artist I found on Instagram named Courtney Senior. She started Art & Found Day seven years ago, and I saw posts that she was leaving art around her city. I connected immediately with the idea of leaving pieces of art for people to find.
As an artist, each time I sell a painting, or give one away, it’s like I’m leaving a giving a small piece of myself because it’s a product of my creative expression. I was so inspired by the idea of sharing my work with others. So, last year I left two 12 x 12 paintings in downtown Holly Springs for neighbors to find and enjoy. This year, I plan to share four pieces, two small original pieces and two hand-embellished prints for folks to find and keep!
What do you hope happens when someone finds your paintings?
I hope that they pick it up and become excited, inspired and encouraged by it. I hope that they feel the love I poured into it and that it brightens their day. Like a lot of artists, I want my work to be an offering to the collectors who receive it. I bless each piece before it leaves my studio and share inspirational messages about it. I love being part of a community that appreciates and celebrates artists and their work!
Can other local artists still participate? If so, what should be their next step?
Any hints as to where you plan to leave them this year?
Good question! I’m not sure just yet, but I can tell you that I’ll share my work with the Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina communities. Last year, I left one on the main street in Holly Springs, just outside of OSHA (such a good restaurant!). I also left one in Womble Park. I’ll have to find some new hiding spots, but those seemed to work well!
How would someone know if they’ve found one of your pieces? And what should someone do if they find one?
You’ll know you’ve found my work because by its brown paper wrapping. It will say “Free Art for Art & Found Day” and state that it needs a home.
Because these are little pieces of my soul, I would love to know if my work arrived safely to a loving home! I would encourage whoever finds these hidden gems to reach out via email or Instagram and let me know if you snagged one! Last year, someone who found one of my pieces reached out on Instagram. She shared that she had been having a rough time and that the encouraging message tucked into the painting made her feel so much better, and for that I was grateful.