Intuitive Joy: Stacey Joy Chadwick Brown’s art connects mind, body and spiritJan 24, 2021 02:12PM ● By David Acevedo
Artist Stacey Joy Chadwick Brown of Fort Myers is what we call a “creative warrior.” Originally from Phoenix City, Alabama, she graduated from high school with honors in 1983, then earned a bachelor’s degree in family and child development, a certificate in aging studies and a double minor in psychology in 1987 from Auburn University. After relocating to Florida the next year, she attended the University of South Florida, graduating in 1991 with a master's degree in counselor education.
In addition, the self-described “lifelong learner” has taken thousands of hours of continuing education under the topics of counseling, mental health, wellness, relationships, and clinical supervision for her counseling career, and also art classes, yoga, meditation, mindfulness and energy healing. Chadwick Brown is now a licensed mental health counselor, clinical supervisor and board-certified expert in traumatic stress, not to mention an advanced yoga teacher (RYT500), Ayurvedic yoga specialist, certified meditation teacher, and reiki master.
Chadwick Brown has always been a creative person. She was taught by her grandmother to crochet at age 7. As a child, she took painting and ceramics classes and did photography, scrapbooking, writing, painting and designing. “In high school, I was the one drawing signs for the football team and was the editor of the yearbook,” she recalls.
In college, she focused on photography, but it was not until moving to Florida that she discovered a profitable medium. With her then sister-in-law, Chadwick Brown established a wearable-art jewelry business. They made jewelry with special handmade paper techniques using designer gouache paints and raku pottery beads. In those pre-internet years, “We had sales representatives all over the country who sold our jewelry in boutiques and galleries,” she says.
The pieces were featured in the Dallas, Atlanta and Miami apparel markets. They even sold jewelry to Macy's, for distribution in 33 stores. “This home-based jewelry business put me through graduate school and I have continued to make jewelry, utilizing pieces of pottery, vintage jewelry, tins, semiprecious stones, hand-manipulated metals, wires and my own artwork,” explains the avid self-taught artist.
“Through local [Southwest Florida] workshops, I learned to throw pottery on the wheel, create slab designs, and platters from clay. Raku pottery was my favorite method of firing and I sold my wares in local galleries and through home furnishing designers.” Chadwick Brown has experimented with painted furniture, collage and mixed-media artwork, photography, jewelry making, and other media.
Currently, she considers herself an “intuitive painter.” Her process does not involve any plans or studies. She simply allows the intuitive process to take over: “It's a Zen-like moment when the muse arrives and there is a flow state—no pushing or trying to make something happen. When the energy and intuition are working together, right tools and right materials, the desired techniques just happen magically.”
Chadwick Brown especially likes painting abstracts using ephemera, stamping, handwriting and many layers of medium. Her main sources of inspiration have changed over the years—and continuously evolve. “I love that I can stay inspired by different things all the time. I am driven by color, textures and ephemera, and by the works of other artists. Lately, I'm drawn to natural elements like plants, flowers, seed pods and trees.”
She also tends to work in series and on multiple pieces at the same time. Her current compositions are full of color and textures. They express a sense of serenity and peace, much like the artist’s other profession as a psychotherapist and mental health counselor.
Throughout her professional career, Stacey Joy Chadwick Brown has integrated her creativity. In her clinic, creative thinking, environment, solutions and conversations are the norm: “Integrating tools for art-making, drawing, crafting, using puppets, playing games, making books, jewelry making, painting, moving our body and theatrics, and photography, are just some of the ways that art has crept into my work with helping others.” The multifaceted woman considers her three beautiful daughters her “biggest life achievement.”
Lydia Black, who recently left her 13-year tenure as executive director of Fort Myers-based Alliance for the Arts, collaborated with Chadwick Brown for many years. “She has been a long time [Alliance] member and an advocate for art therapy and civic engagement,” says Black, who has been one of the biggest promoters of arts and culture in Southwest Florida. Black adds, “Stacey has exhibited in our gallery and featured in our yearly Artists Studio Tour.” To learn more about the art of Stacey Joy Chadwick Brown, visit staceybrownarts.com.
David Acevedo is an accomplished award-winning visual artist and arts writer living in Southwest Florida. He is the founder and owner of DAAS Art Gallery and The Union Artist Studios. He has a bachelor’s degree in visual arts from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus.