PaperCity Magazine

July/August 2019- Dallas

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Page 37 of 83

36 BY LISA COLLINS SHADDOCK. PHOTOGRAPHY CHRISTINA CHILDRESS. IN HIGH SPIRITS W hen I meet Heather Clark Lynn for coffee on a workday near her office, I immediately pick her out from the crowd. She's wearing snakeskin boots, a white button-down, and a vintage army-green jacket. Hand-painted on the back of the jacket is one of her designs — a mesmerizing arrangement of symbols including golden leaves and two intertwined snakes. Much like the hand-painted jackets, wall hangings, and accessories that she creates for her burgeoning business, Spirit of Salt, Lynn radiates a stylish and cool aura — but one layered with hidden meaning and complexity. We chat for more than 30 minutes before I notice two delicate gold serpents dangling from her ears behind her long blonde hair. "I always have to have something a little bit … weird in anything that I'm wearing," she says, pointing out another dainty reptile wrapped around her finger — her engagement ring. "I always tell people Queen Victoria had a snake wedding band, so it's not that unusual." Lynn is drawn to snakes for their rich symbolic history — and is fascinated by the deeply personal and artistic aspects of symbolism in general. For her commission-based work, she enjoys conceptualizing visuals that hold personal meaning HEATHER CLARK LYNN FUSES ART NOUVEAU STYLE WITH SPIRITUAL SYMBOLISM FOR HER INDIE-COOL COMPANY, SPIRIT OF SALT. for clients. "There are elements of peoples' life stories that you can turn into a piece of art," she says. "Anyone can draw a beautiful flower arrangement, but if it has symbols that speak to someone's own background, it makes a more treasured piece." Lynn began painting two years ago while recovering from tendonitis surgery and unable to work on the fiber arts she had been passionate about since childhood. She has since developed a recognizable aesthetic: a combination of precise graphic style (by day she is associate creative director for Dallas-based O&H Brand Design) and art nouveau influences including illustrators Aubrey Beardsley and Harry Clarke. "They really spoke to the desire I had to create art that was just a little bit unsettling and weird but still beautiful," she says, adding that she is drawn to anything striking and unusual, whether it's an old fairy tale, a science fiction film, or a beautiful wallpaper covered in eyeballs. Spirit of Salt, which Lynn runs out of the spare bedroom in her Oak Cliff home, started with painting on scraps of vintage fabric from the Army Navy store and has quickly grown via word of mouth and social media. She now spends nights and weekends fielding requests for small and large-scale commissions, and even a few tattoos. "I don't have any tattoos, but I'm in love with tattoo art. I'm just too noncommittal," she says. I suppose it's easier to wear your heart on a jacket, I ask? "Exactly. It's kind of like tattoos for your clothes." Heather Clark Lynn

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