Black Women Artists Moved to Create Abstract Art

Carol Saffe's abstract painting

By Monique Gooch

NASHVILLE, TN — When you think of abstract art, what comes to mind? Does it move you? Does it speak to you? When Carol

Carol Saffel, 51, displaying her art entitled, “Untitled.” It is a 48 x 64 painting.

Saffel, 51, started working as a visual artist, she said she had always been drawn to the post-modern or mid-century forms of creativity, “whether it be industrial, furniture, homes, art, etc.” 

Saffel said that something about abstract arts moves her spirit. “It makes me want to be a part of that creative process—paintings or textiles. I am really drawn to those aspects of Abstract Modern Expressionism,”  she said.

“This was the path that was given to me. I did not choose this gift, it chose me.  We all have a path to take, but it is up to us if we go down it or not,” she said.

Saffel’s work has been featured at Woodcuts Framing and Gallery on Jefferson Street in Nashville. The gallery features several new and upcoming black artists each month. 

Another local Nashville artist, Christina Nicole Wiggins says her art represents, “life and emotion.” Wiggins, 27, has been painting since middle school. “I kinda fell off when I went to college. I started pursuing my art work seriously about three years ago,” Wiggins said.

She dabbled in the abstract art category and found it interesting. “Lots of people liked it and it just kinda blossomed. I love colors, music, so I kinda go with the flow of emotions and I tie all of that into my art work.”

Wiggins said that she blends art, emotion and nature together. “I like to incorporate how I’m feeling that day. With springtime, I like to incorporate more colors and light. I use what’s around me. I tap into my environment and emotions. Just a way of feeling. It’s a very emotional art.” 

Wiggins said she uses resin and acrylic paint. “I also use oils as well. I paint on coasters, canvases, home décor, etc.” She said all of her work is customizable. “You can pick any three colors and I’ll make some art out of it.” Currently she is working on doing

Christina Wiggins, 27, displaying her art at the Brentwood Holiday Inn vendor event.

bathroom or kitchen countertops. “The resin paint will dry like glass.”

When asked from where she draws her inspiration, Saffel said that her inspiration comes from people, places, time, and other artists, such as Aaron Douglas, Jackson Pollock, Alvin Loving, Wassilyevich Kandinski and Jean-Michel Basquiat. “I was not initially drawn to other artists. I was and am still improving my craft, but appreciate the greats before me.”

Saffel said that wanting to continue to inspire and move people is what drives her to paint. “Black female abstract painters are lacking. This pushes me to never stop expressing my God-given talent to take a blank canvas and turn it into an extraordinary interpretational space.”

Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, Wiggins’ work has not been displayed anywhere just yet, but says she is currently working on getting her art work displayed at Woodcuts. “I’m trying to get more advertisement. I’m trying to show that I’m black woman who does abstract art in Nashville.”

Saffel lives in Kingston, TN.  Her work can be found at Woodcuts, the Centennial Art Center, the Bentley and Rolls Royce dealership in Franklin, TN and on her website at carolsaffellart.com. Her featured piece on her website is entitled, “Infusion”. The caption reads, “This is an example using

Christina Wiggins artwork consists of canvases, coasters, side tables and serving trays.

a graphical creation done with a photo of me walking down the street.”

Wiggins is originally from Savannah, GA but has lived  in Nashville for 13 years and has had her own abstract art business since 2019.

Right now, you can find Wiggins’ work on her Instagram page at @wiggins_christina and c.nicolewiggins_art, Facebook at Christina Nicole Wiggins, and Etsy. “I upload my designs and people can choose what they want them to go on, like a pillowcase or a coffee mug.”