Artist Sharryl Cross Embraces Abstraction

The fashion designer turned artist draws inspiration from Picasso and cubism.

Sharryl Cross

The vivid and expressive portraits of Detroit native Sharryl Cross are a testament to her colorful and varied creative background. Cross’ artistic career began as a fashion designer. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in apparel and textile design from Michigan State University before spending 12 years in New York City designing women’s fashion.

“The way most artists approach their art was the same as my approach to fashion,” Cross says. “You come up with a concept and pick a color palette.” Cross worked with brands like J.Crew and Juicy Couture before deciding to create art on her own. 

She credits her grandfather and his oil paintings with her first introduction to art. While honing her own style, Cross was drawn to the works of Wassily Kandinsky and Picasso, and to cubism. They all embrace abstraction instead of painting “realistically.”

Cross says, “I like to do things that are not typical. In my art, I’m attracted to what I call the abnormal. I see a face and I want to put the nose somewhere else.” While advancing in her art career, Cross remains active in other modes of expression. She hasn’t abandoned her fashion background, planning to release a line of dresses with original prints.

Cross also plans to release a collection of portraits in a coffee-table book titled Confidence of a Dreamer. She thinks the works in the book are her strongest take on the cubist style so far. “Once you see it, you will understand my point of view and who I am as an artist.” 

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