About Brenda

Brenda Priest

I have a degree in Interior Design and Architecture and CAD Certification. My training/skill base came from college. The entrepreneurial drive came from a desire to be a Stay at Home Mom, 23 years ago. Not having any business skills I listened, learned, and read as much as possible. My organic career came from hard work, sweat equity, and tenacity. The unique items I produce, lovingly handcrafted, set me apart from other illustrators. I create sketches from photographs. Only drawing buildings, she loves to illustrate homes. She also loves to help with wedding gifts, anniversary gifts, or house-closings. I also have inventory sketches of area historical buildings and collegiate landmarks. I was commissioned to illustrate sports venues throughout the United States, for the NFL, MLB and College Teams, including Lambeau Field, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and dozens more. Retail location including Our Moments in Time – Holly Springs, Cocoon Gallery – Apex, Lynn’s & Daphne’s Hallmark Shops – Cary.

Approaching my Art as a business and not as an artist “selling things,” this shift has become more recognized in the art world – claiming the new title of Artspreneur.  “I am strictly organic with my direction. Being an entrepreneur, when you are asked something out of your comfort range, you say YES! This pushes you to grow and possibly pivot to something new!”

I love to spend time with my family.  One daughter will start in the fall at University of North Carolina in Asheville – studying art conservation and one daughter perusing a graduate degree in Speech Therapy at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.  She has two pit bull rescues that she adores and donates a portion of her profits annually to Carolina Adopt-A-Bulls.  She also has a husband Jim of 26 years.  He generally puts up with her artistic tantrums and generally is happy if he can ride his motorcycle every weekend.

We recently left our growing suburban  Holly Springs, North Carolina to an extremely rural but BEAUTIFUL Ennice, North Carolina.  We both work from home and with both daughters in the mountains, we took advantage of timing and moved!  Life is SHORT, we are living the DREAM of 8 acres of serenity!

When did you first discover your creative talents?
Brenda’s childhood was always filled with crafts, artsy projects at home, and art classes in school. Her Mother was a dabbling painter and her father was a plant engineer. She always knew she wanted something to be creative and in high school, she found interior design. The combination of the color and materials along with structure and construction this was the perfect blend for a career. The four-year college education allowed her to explore a wide variety of mediums. She was drawn more to the structure and construction, combined plus her love of houses, drafting was her forte.

A summer internship at a large interior design office placed her in the drafting room. There she learned the dying art of pen & ink drafting. At this time the pens and pencils were being put aside for the newer computer-aided design and drafting or AutoCAD. This fledgling art was no longer being taught to interns, but it was Brenda’s love.

Tell us about some of your work.
Brenda commissioned work is completely hand-drawn. Each individual line is crafted in a manner to represent form and texture. Light and shadow is also a series of lines. This unique way of sketching brings life to the structure and the landscape around it. As she works from a photograph, each detail is added as an important element of the overall composition. Former clients and work include:

  • Realtors often gift either to a seller or buyer of a home.
  • Homeowners love a memento of a first homestead, a childhood home, or somewhere special they had been.
  • Wedding Venue illustrations can be used for announcements, thank you note cards or a unique gift to remember the special day.
  • Historical Sites and treasured landmarks can be matted and framed or used as cards for personal correspondence.
  • Store-front owners frequently use her sketches of their business for historical purposes on a website or business mailing.
  • Personalized Christmas cards with a customer’s own home, decked out to celebrate the Season mailed to family and friends.
  • Sports Fans adore the line of retail Stadium Banners, including, Soldier Field, Cowboys Stadium, Lambeau Field, Kentucky Derby, and many more.

What motivates you to keep working as an artist?
Brenda’s work is very intimate, not only to her but to her clients. She is often commissioned to illustrate homes. These homes carry sentimental value to homeowners, as they are often home of their childhood, their first home, or somewhere special they have lived.  Several comments have remained in her mind, over the past few years:

  • A client brought Brenda an old snapshot of the home she raised her children. Susan recalled, “see that sidewalk, where my children rode bikes and sold lemonade.”
  • “That’s the porch where my brother fell out and broke his arm, on Thanksgiving.”
  • “Please include the US flag on the porch, as my Uncle was a Veteran, and every Sunday he would come to dinner and we had a moment of silence to remember those who did not come back.”
  • “Be sure to add that large tree in the back, as my Great-Grandfather planted it the day my Auntie was born.”

Brenda helps preserve the memories associated with those buildings. Houses are not just brick and mortar; they are built with love and moments. Those stories are important to her clients and heart-warming for Brenda!

Western Wake Artist Studio Tour, Cary NC
Holly Springs Cultural Center, Holly Springs NC
Rex Medical Office Building, Holly Springs NC
Halle Cultural Arts Center, Apex NC
Java Divine Coffee Shop, Holly Springs NC
Art from the Heart, Arts Council of Carteret County
Inaugural Gallery Show, Fuquay-Varina Arts Center
Portraits of Durham, Durham Arts Council

Annual Shows
Cary Academy, Cary NC
Fine Art & Mastercraft Show, Sugar Mountain NC
Spring Daze/Lazy Daze, Cary NC
Shrimp Festival, Little River SC
Spring & Fall Festival, Lake Lure NC
Oyster Festival NC
Boylan Heights Art Walk
CenterFest Durham, NC
4th of July Festival, Southport NC
Festifall, Chapel Hill NC
Matthew’s Alive, Matthews NC

Volunteer Service/Awards
Holly Springs Arts Council, Founding Member & Executive Director
Alignable Small Businessperson of the Year 2018
Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce, Events Committee
Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce, Distinguished Service Award 2015
LaunchHOLLYSPRINGS, Charter Board Member & Events Manager

Publications & Appearances
“Panelist for Artspreneurship,” Wake Tech Community College Small Business Center & Imurj Gallery in Raleigh
“Growing a Successful Business, ”ArtistSoapbox.org Episode 081 August 5, 2019
“Woman At Work,” Main & Broad Magazine January 27, 2020