Certified professional photographer Gene Taylor has fine-tuned his artistic vision while working in photojournalism and portrait photography for more than 30 years. During classes at Your Photo Safari, Gene introduces students to the photographic arts and the workings of DSLR cameras. Sessions begin in classroom settings, allowing students to get acquainted with camera basics as well as advanced features such as setting white balance and reducing blur. After learning how to navigate the multiple settings and buttons on their digital cameras, students traipse to area gardens to explore the natural world through their lenses. The hands-on experience allows students to take home artfully composed shots of plants bathed in natural light or trees planking over riverbanks in a bid for Internet fame.
Forrest Briggs claims the South as his home, and indeed he grew up and attended college there. As a photography student, he earned admission into several galleries and juried exhibitions, but his post graduate work honed his eye. He travelled the world, learning to speak fluent Vietnamese and becoming trapped in Nepal during the 2006 coup d’état, all the while documenting his journeys through his camera. The temporary expatriation sharpened his skills, helping him excel at photographic composition, natural lighting strategies, and more abstract concepts such as how to make photos “pop.”
Now, as a photographer and teacher, he passes along these lessons to a new generation of shutterbugs, while lending his eye and skill to clients in search of classic portraiture and boudoir shoots. He also has an eye for shooting martial arts action, working behind the scenes at mixed martial arts events and even pulling a stint as the personal photographer of Cheryl Murphy, nine-time US Nationals Karate Champion.
Design With Wine's founders—the mother-and-daughter team of Joan and Susan Earle—supply their students with almost everything they need to have artistic, entertaining nights. The only things they ask students to bring are their favorite beverages, which can be beer, wine, nonalcoholic drinks, or champagne, which is also what most artists use to add sparkle to their paintings. Their BYOB painting classes contain ingredients to nurture students’ inner artists, from paintbrushes and canvases to helpful tips for vividly rendering the nights' subjects. During each two- to three-hour session, instructors take students through the entire painting process step by step from beginning to end, and they leave no individual stranded or helpless. At the end of each night, students walk away with their colorful paintings, mementos of their experiences that add aesthetic appeal to walls.
Inspired by the bright, rich colors of 18th-century French and Swedish design, longtime Greenville resident Jennie Leigh Gainey revitalizes tired old home decor or furniture pieces with a distinct aesthetic that Town magazine calls "Alice in Wonderland meets Ethan Allen." Gainey's refurbished furniture pieces evoke simultaneous airs of refined gentility and informal hominess, like an ivy-covered country manor or an English baron in sweatpants. Having traded in the makeup brushes she once used to makeover the likes of Matthew McConaughey for more conventional art supplies, Gainey uses coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to impart an antique finish to nearly any surface. Eager DIY-ers can gather to glean her technique during relaxed BYOB painting parties.
For as long as she can remember, Laura K. Aiken has had an insatiable need to create, both for herself and for others. Most recently, her love for color and crafting has drawn her to the ancient art of mosaic—which, along with painting, glass fusion, and the invention of attachable shoe-mops, has enraptured her imagination for the last decade. Within her studio in the Heritage Historic District, Laura shares her passion with students and other artists, leading classes and workshops as well as kid-friendly summer art camps.