Jefferson City native Brandi Rackers has loved making art for as long as she can remember, even coloring on her mother's white sheets with a purple marker at the age of 3 and filling the walls of her bedroom with large mural drawings and pinning the blame on the family dog.
Rackers was surrounded by many loving and supportive family members and her parents always recognized she wanted more, which led them to enroll her in an outside art program. In middle school, she began taking ceramic classes with an aunt and became hooked.
Following a desire she had from an early age, Rackers attended Missouri State University and earned her bachelor's degree in art education. After spending a summer studying art in Europe, she also developed a passion for art history and culture.
After graduating, she and her husband, Eric, moved to St. Louis where she began teaching art at Fort Zumwalt South High School while earning her master's degree in studio art from Lindenwood University, an experience that was challenging and rewarding.
She was pushed to be more conceptual in her practices, which helped her see art making in a whole new way. Her art became more about making connections, not only with herself, but with her surroundings and those who viewed her work.
Rackers has spent the last two years teaching art at Blair Oaks and will begin teaching at Battle High School in Columbia this school year.
She joined the Jefferson City Art Club in September 2018 and has enjoyed the opportunities it has provided. She is also a new board member for Capital Arts, which has been very influential for her over the last two years.
She originally was drawn to art from the sheer excitement of having new art materials given to her by family members. She remembers using the kits that had a little bit of everything in them to fill pages and pages of white computer paper. Her mother was always supportive, allowing her to make a mess and further explore her artistic talents. Her father, a handy problem solver, took on several woodworking projects when she was young, further showing her the excitement of doing something for yourself.
For Rackers, making art is something she has to do to feed her soul. It is her release and her connection, all in one; a way to stay grounded while exploring. She loves the process of creating, as it provides her with challenges and opportunities to learn from a mistake and find joy in success.
Her favorite mediums are watercolor and acrylic paints, as well as stoneware clay. She developed a love for finding new ways to stain her surfaces while studying for her master's; the process of staining gives her a more limited control. When working with ceramics, she prefers to use Mason Stains on bisqueware as it absorbs into the clay more than a typical glaze and can give it a more natural look.
When using acrylic, Rackers prefers larger brushes to blend colors directly on the canvas, adding layers and layers of paint to create visual movement and textures.
While she tends to start the process with less controlled techniques, she often finds herself regaining a sense of ownership of her artwork by drawing back in textures or patterns inspired by natural elements, something that allows her to feel connected to her surroundings, feelings and art. It is a very therapeutic process.
Through Sept. 9, Rackers' work will be displayed at the Department of Motor Vehicles, 1617 Southridge Drive. Also, find her as featured artist at the JCAC website, jeffersoncityartclub-missouri.com.
Mid-Missouri art happenings
The Mid-Missouri Art Alliance of Ashland is hosting their Summer Art Show Series beginning with "Two To Tango." The gallery is located at 115 E. Broadway in Ashland. For more information, call 573-657-0711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art Underground Downtown offers classical art training for all ages in a historic and art-filled atmosphere. All classes are booked through the end of the summer. Classes for children in kindergarten through 12th grade will be Tuesday through Thursday nights starting in September. For more information, call 573-355-2255 or email email@example.com.
Columbia Palette (Plein Air Painting) meets each week to paint in different places, benefiting from the sharing of ideas, techniques and materials. These artists are plein-air painters, and the group paints outdoors as often as possible. Find out more at columbiapalettepainting.weebly.com.
The Capital Arts Gallery is hosting the "Tell a Story" exhibit through Sept. 17, with a reception set at 1 p.m. today. The Capital Arts Gallery is located at 1203 Missouri Blvd. For more information, visit captialarts.org.
Photographer David Lancaster will be debuting a photo exhibit on Israel from 6-9 p.m. Sept. 6 at Orr Street Studios, 106 Orr St. in Columbia. The exhibit will juxtapose Israel's antiquity as a backdrop to modern life in the Holy Land, exploring concepts of truth and reality through landscape and street photographs. Find out more at DavidLancasterPhotography.com or find Lancaster on Instagram and Facebook at DavidLancPhotos.
The third annual Free Community Wide Block Party will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 24 at the New Bloomfield City Park. The event will feature entertainment, food and activities, including games, a waterslide and a bounce house at no cost. An arts and crafts show also will be included, and the Christian Motorcycle Association will show off its motorcycles. The event is sponsored by Hopewell Baptist Church. For more information, call 573-491-3408 or visit hopewellchurch.net.
The Village Art Studio is accepting registration for a Kids Art Workshop on Sept. 7 for those ages 6 and older. Each class will make three art projects. The workshop is $35 per class and will be from 8:30-11:30 a.m. or 1-4 p.m. The studio also offers birthday parties for all ages, as well as private art events at 1502 E. High St., Suites 40 and 60. Call Ann for more information at 573-230-1414.
The Lake Arts Council and "Arts at the Lake" will begin its fourth annual Art for the Seasons Show on Aug. 31 at the Porto Cima Yacht Club at Sunrise Beach. Setup will begin at 8:30 a.m., and the show will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. Each artist will be assigned an 8-by-10 space where they can display pamphlets, printed materials and other items. For more information about registration, contact the Lake Arts Council at 573-374-9297 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sedalia Visual Arts Association will have no meeting this month because of the Missouri State Fair, where members are along with members of the Mid Missouri Artists of Warrensburg. They are responsible for receptions and attending the art during the duration of the fair. For more information on the association, visit sedaliavisualartassociation.org or email email@example.com or President Linda Hoover at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tune in to JCTV to see Rick Jey, also known as JCAC member Jerry Ricker, host of "Spotlight On The Arts," a 30-minute interview of one artist, and "Mid-Missouri Art News," which features two guests in 15-minute interviews. Jey also hosts "Quilting Inside and Out." Find JCTV on CenturyLink and Mediacom, as well as on YouTube.
Jimmy Mustion is a professional artist who is involved in area organizations and galleries.