NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – It would be impossible to define or place the art of Christy Phelps in a single vessel, even of her own making.

“I like to work in small batches,” she says.

A single sheet of paper was no match for her as a toddler.

She recalls, “When I was about 3 years old I drew on the wall with crayon and that’s when my dad knew I was going to be an artist.”

Her portraits, abstracts, sculptures, and ceramic work reflect moments of beauty that might flash for a moment in triumph or tragedy.

“Something will just hit me,” Christy says, “like the pieces I’m working on now that come from a bike ride.”

She brings them back to her Norman studio for further study.

“I decide later if I want to use it as inspiration in my art business.”

As a girl growing up in Houston, her artist eye caught the vibrant colors and circular shapes of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.

She recalls, “looking forward to the weather broadcasts because the swirling colors were so pretty.”

That same eye caught on the hook echo radar signatures like the one from May 3, 1999.

“So I thought, ‘I wonder if I can capture that in art’ where people look at it and say, ‘wow. it’s so pretty’ and then they realize what it is.”

Other radar images such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, or the radiation blooming from the Fukishima nuclear plant in Japan. They are tragedies, but Christy insists they arrive with their own terrible beauty.

Phelps points out, “with these images, it’s like, in the worst moments of the storm, with the worst moments of its destruction, you’re actually getting to see something that’s really pretty.”

“There is a beautiful side to even the most destructive thing.”

Phelp’s radar images represent a single season in her journey as an artist. She’s moved on since as do all the storms of May. But she reserves the right to come around again, to be ready for inspiration, like lightning, to strike.

As we all know, she says, “seasons often repeat.”

Phelps is a mother of 5, an art student and teacher, as well as a counselor for crime victims.


More Great State Stories

Her artwork can be found at The Stash Gallery in Norman or on her website and Instagram.

Great State is sponsored by Oklahoma Proton Center

Follow Galen’s Great State adventures on social media!