Camellia Art owner Adrianne Lively specializes in work that triggers genuine emotion.
Story by Becca Edwards + Photography by Mark Staff
Adrianne Lively was aptly named. She is never without a “let’s play” smile. Entering her Camellia Art gallery you can expect to be welcomed by hues of blues, greens and other color-me-happy tones, a kaleidoscope of Lowcountry images depicted in a variety of mediums and walls of limitless framing options.
“We want people to come into Camellia and experience how artwork can elevate you and make you feel something, whether it is happiness or a sense of calm,” Lively said. “We look at artwork as an investment in mental health, and if we can provide a welcoming, comfortable place to have fun with art then we are doing what Camellia Art is all about.”
Suzy Pace, who creates the perfect frames for the artwork, added, “If I was walking on the beach and someone asked me what I did, I would say, ‘I help people find joy through art.’”
“We’ve come a long way from selling colored pencils and framing.”
When asked how her business has grown since she started it 30 years ago, Lively pushed her stylish eyeglasses up the bridge of her nose and let out a familiar laugh before answering.
Camellia Art showcases 22 artists, including new additions Mary Hubley and Heather Lancaster.
“Mary fills a void we didn’t have before. Her work includes modern dramatic paintings with soft edges. Her style moves between semi-abstract to loose contemporary impressionist,” Lively said.
“Just yummy,” are the words Lively used to describe Lancaster’s work. “We sell it faster than she can paint it or we can frame it.” Lively said.
The gallery has been a Hilton Head landmark at 8 Pope Ave. for years. An annex gallery inside J. Banks Design Group at 35 Main St. was added two years ago.
“It’s a really good marriage,” Lively said. “Her designers can take their clients downstairs and look at incredible, original artwork and I can now exhibit more work.”
With a successful business in an otherwise challenging market, you might be surprised what gives Lively the most joie de vivre these days.
“What I find pretty cool,” began Lively before pausing. “Let me backtrack. Camellia Art’s business is based on building relationships with our clients and the artists and we have been doing this for 30 years. Now the kids of clients are coming in. They were in diapers when their moms and dads came in and now they are getting their diplomas framed or pictures for their apartment. I just love that.”
When asked about her favorite pieces in the gallery, for a rare moment Lively’s smile faded. “That’s a hard one. I love all my work. But let me think about five pieces that really move me right now.”
After a day of pondering the question, Lively’s listed the following: