July 02, 2015
A move to Tucson, Arizona, from central Canada made it clear to Arlene Pedersen that being an Olympic Curling Champion was no longer an option. Inspired with the colors and textures of the Southwest, she redirected her energy and began painting large-scale paintings and developing architectural renderings that quickly turned into Pedersen Design Group, LLC.
Recently, Arlene sat down with Josh Cook, our Retail Brand Manager, for this mini-interview:
How did you first discover your love for art?
Art runs through my veins, it is part of my DNA. My grandmother was a very arty, fashionable woman; my mother is an artist as is my sister. There was never a particular moment when I fell in love with art. It just has always been that way. Art gives people an opportunity to have a voice, to make a statement, to be known and heard. I am passionate about people being self-expressed and the magic that shows up when they do – from masterpieces to someone dancing randomly on the street. To me, that is truly LIVING – it makes the world a whole lot more interesting.
What is your favorite medium to work with?
Most of the time, I am creating on my computer with Adobe Illustrator. I love the ability to make major artistic changes as often as I want! My second favorite medium is large-scale acrylic. Here I can create while rocking out to my favorite 80’s music, this scale requires my entire body to be engaged and channeling the art.
What is the source of your inspiration?
Of course, being in Tucson and a transplanted Canadian, I gravitate towards Southwestern and Day of the Dead imagery. In the past, it was all about feminism and relationships. I started out painting, but my paintings got thicker and thicker and turned into sculpture and then later installation art. Just Push it Deep, Down Inside was one piece I did that was a freestanding cupboard filled with jars of “canned” relationships. The title of the sculpture was actually a quote from Marge Simpson to one of her kids. One particular jar was labeled: “Watch your Back Jam – 50% Sweet/50% Bitch”. It was filled with broken glass, candy and a mangled Barbie. I always like to have a bit of an edge to my work, darker subjects but with some humor as well.
What artists have influenced your style/expression the most?
I’m inspired by artists like Frida Kahlo and Ed Hardy, but also love more contemporary works that are installation art or conceptual art. For me, it is all about the experience and perspective, the ability to shift your gaze or your body to experience a piece in a new way. I love packing my jerseys with detail so there is always some little treasure to discover.
Who is your favorite contemporary artist?
I would have to say Mark Rothko. The subtle shading and color in his work grounds me. His art appears so simple yet there is so much to enjoy in each of his paintings.
What is your favorite color right now?
I love turquoise, a vibrant, fresh shade. Always have, probably always will.
Where do you show your work currently?
Several years ago, I stepped out of showing my work in galleries as a painting could only be enjoyed by a small percentage of the public. As a designer and illustrator, it was easy to shift my artwork to cycling apparel. The passion of the cycling community together with their desire to express themselves definitely inspired me. It was a perfect match. I get really excited to hear from people all over the world that wear and experience my work, it lights me up!
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Currently, Arlene and her husband and business partner Christo work in within Pedersen Design Group providing clients with the perfect balance of design, innovation and attention to detail. They excel in corporate branding, marketing materials, web design and untilize non-traditional methodologies like Feng Shui to give their clients an edge over their competition.
Arlene is never far from the beauty of the Southwest and the camaraderie of fellow desert lovers.
You can find her spending time at a popular bistro on the way to Mount Lemmon atop the Catalina Mountains, hiking and biking the canyon trails above Tucson, and enjoying life with her two children, hubby and four legged friend Samantha.
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"The weekend before Big Frog I was covering an attack in a road race when I had an exercise-induced asthma attack (thanks, allergies).
One minute I'm doing my job, the next it felt like someone was squeezing my lungs and taking my breath away. I argued with myself on whether or not to get off my bike at the side of the road but settled on slowing down, recovering, and finishing the race (alone)."
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