A monthly column that keeps its finger on the pulse of Forsyth’s artists and their inspiring stories
This month’s featured artist, Mona King, reminds us of the importance that nature plays in our humanity and wellness. With an eye for color, texture, and dimension, she transforms spaces through artistic expression and environmental interest allowing her clients to bring life into the places they work and dwell.
Mona King | Mona + Associates Design, LLC
How do you describe your work? We are a multi-discipline Interior Architecture + Environment Design collaborative focused on human-centered design. We cultivate commercial or residential environments by utilizing interior architecture, creative consulting, and Living walls based on Biophilic design principles. We bring life to your environment by design.
What influences your work most? Different textures are captivating; the honeycomb of a bee hive, the bark on a tree, and patterns of nature, we are drawn to it. We’re naturally intrigued by nature as human beings. I grew up surrounded by the lakes, dunes and parks of Indiana. My father played golf to relax and have us go on picnics and retrieve the practice balls, and as a result I enjoyed spending time in a natural environment. In college when I would feel stressed, I would sit in a greenhouse and draw; it allowed me to be comforted and encompassed by calmness.
Why does nature play such a vital role in your work? Nature is a necessary design function that goes beyond art. Emotionally, creative art can enhance your space but also your life. There are many benefits to art and nature for human beings and my work combines the two. First line responders need somewhere to relax from the chaos and stress of the hospital. If a room has a setting with an environment of Biophilic attributes and aesthetics you are able to see their blood pressure go down from mild scents, images and nature inspired art in the room, including natural daylight, etc. Data shows people need natural elements in their space to perform better. You have to bring the natural environment into your space!
How do you carve out time and space as an artist? There are days I have to blank everything out that is technology based. I can spend 5-6 hours some days just creating my Living Aura art. I have to pause from the other parts of my business to allow my mind to get to where I need to create and put myself in the mindset for a specific artistic expression. Empathy and listening to the needs of my clients is critical in the design process.
How have you evolved as an artist? I really embrace adding different elements and dimensions to my work: paint, stones, wood, moss and more. I combine elements that add nature and a sense of calm in my customers’ lives. It doesn’t have to be large installations making a big impact, I create small works such as a 6 x 6 inch frame that can capture what I want someone to feel.
What are you working on that excites you right now? I am partnering with several Forsyth County organizations to raise funds and design the Feeling Friends Island at Kimberley Park Elementary – a nature-inspired social and emotional playground and Outdoor Learning Center designed for achieving Equitable Play for Equitable Health for the students at Kimberley Park Elementary School. We are creating a space that inspires children to spend more time in nature while helping them build their social and emotional skills required to build a more productive life. Educating children in nature improves self confidence, problem solving, social skills and much more.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with fellow artists? Art is a business, it combines analytical thinking, financial management and creative skills. Whatever you do, your passion needs to show. Your skills, ability and innovation should be in every piece you develop. We all want commissions but they need to reflect who you are and your value as an artist. Never produce art only for the sake of being paid, it needs to go beyond that. You can create a commission request, however don’t take the creativity out of it, enhance it by creating something from the heart and know your value. That’s truly how I feel about creating and the business of design.
If you are interested in learning more about the artist, Mona King, you can visit her websites monaassociates.com and LivingAura.Design. You may also see her work up close by visiting her online store monaassocdesign.store.
Living Aura art and products are located at the Historic Lewisville Roller Mill, ongoing exhibitions and commissions. The Winston-Salem public art commission has recently awarded Mona a sculpture design contract. It will be installed early 2022 in the downtown area at 4th and Spruce Street.