Spitzer member Pam Tittle began her journey into the Harrisonburg art scene with a weekly drawing exercise she designated the Valley Art Project. These illustrations, débuted in a solo show at Clementine’s in 2010, depict various scenic treasures of the Shenandoah from Cave Mountain Lake tucked quietly off of the Blue Ridge Parkway to the peaceful views of Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia. Tittle’s color palette in the series, never too saturated, illustrates a subtle nod to the area’s cathartic gifts, which long-term residents of the Shenandoah know there are plenty.
Tittle’s background in art began in her childhood. Her father was a drafter and often brought home drawing books she would dedicate her time to. With a BFA from the Maryland Institute of Art, Tittle spent 25 years with a kitchen design firm as a drafter before quitting and pursuing art full-time in April 2016.
Recently, she has been busy with her “Gems” series, which she named after the small stone hoping to “[capture] a glimpse into a quarter size world.” Considering the petit size of her gems, the detail of each image is impressive. Each gem is an image encapsulated in the size of about a quarter often of a fairylike quality. Her 96th gem, for example, “How Pigs Fly,” shows a pig, of course, being carried in the sky by a strawberry air balloon dripping with chocolate. This imaginative scene is only 1” by 1”.
With such a tiny area filled with color and detail one wonders about the particulars of her workspace. Tittle doesn’t use a magnifying glass when composing her gems, but she uses her father’s drafting table, which is over 60 years old. “The whole space is filled with things I love or inspire me,” she says. Over her desk hangs a street sign from a trip to California when she was 18 and clothespins hold old photographs and prints done by other artists she likes. “The space has a really nice window that lets in [the] northeastern light,” she beams. Her studio also has some of her daughter’s work, who is coincidentally an architect, giving drawing a generational representation in the space.
Currently, Tittle is illustrating a new character for a collaborative children’s book while participating in several shows. She is one of the 54 illustrators in Larkin Arts’ December Deck Show. You can also find some of her work in the new Spitzer gift shop, the Wooden Trout gallery in the Agora Market, and the Lady Jane. “When I left my job,” she says “I [made] a point to experiment with all kinds of mediums and subject matter.” Tittle’s dedication to experimentation shows in her vibrant range of designs colored with imaginative storytelling.
You can find Tittle’s work on Instagram and on her website pamelastittle.com.
By Adriana Hammond