Past Resident

Betsey Gravatt

Betsey Gravatt is an artist based in North Texas. She received her BFA in Studio Art, with a concentration in Drawing and Painting, from the University of North Texas. She is currently in her second year at Texas Woman’s University, undertaking an MFA in Painting, and a minor in Intermedia. Gravatt's work has received several awards, including the Annual Voertman's Award, The Cindi and Mike Holt Award, and the John Weinkein Distinction in the Visual Arts Award.
Betsey currently teaches Watercolor at Texas Woman's University, and gives Professional Practices lectures at universities and high schools in the North Texas area. In recent years, she has been an artist in residence in New York, North Carolina, and California, and her upcoming projects include solo exhibitions in Denton and Fort Worth, Texas.


In my paintings, I use vibrant colors and an alphabet of geometric and organic shapes to depict happy memories of my childhood. My process begins in CAD software, such as SketchUp and Adobe Illustrator, where I am able to continuously create and build upon interacting rectilinear and organic objects that become part of a large and intricate structure. Working primarily with gouache, watercolor, and spray paint on laser cut birch panel, MDF, and paper, I create ambiguous shapes that reference toys, architecture, and optical illusion.
Using SketchUp and Illustrator, I create imaginary, nonfunctional spaces and objects in an array of blending and filtering colors that together form these larger structures and arrangements. In these programs, I can control aspects such as scale, transparency, and color until I have created a piece that is reminiscent of the places and objects that filled my childhood with color and appeal.
My work is exploratory rather than didactic, and one of my goals is to create an alternate reality for myself and my viewers to navigate. To me this environment is inviting and friendly, and reminds me of the places I lived in or visited, as well as objects I enjoyed while growing up. I am inspired by children’s toys that were popular in the 90’s, such as Lisa Frank and Polly Pocket dolls, and by TV shows I watched as a young girl, and I use my process as an outlet for childhood wonder and creativity. From start to finish, I feel as though I am a child playing pretend.