‘Unbridled’ Talent

A chat with Emily Anderson, the creative mind behind Sullivan Creek Ranch.

Sullivan Creek Ranch is a sight to behold! The inside of the store is built to resemble an old western trading post, with faux wood finishes, beautiful leather decor, a bar section, and a studio for Emily’s art projects. Greg Anderson, the owner, credits Emily for most of it. “Before I brought Emily onto the ranch, it was just me and three freezers full of meat; she made it what it is today.”

Emily Anderson has been a professional mural artist for over 25 years. “I wanted art to be more than a hobby, I wanted to make money. I noticed that the art that people liked was just something they identified with— everyday objects that they are drawn to and enjoy. I didn’t exactly know how to make a career out of it, so I spent a lot of time just researching in the library, and visiting nearby artists. I never said no, and never stopped asking questions. I went to decorative concrete school, and faux finish school and learned carpentry to incorporate interactive art into my projects. With the ranch, Greg and I are a good pair, because he brings in mainly male customers, while I bring in mainly female customers; it’s evolved into something really great. Greg is always complimentary and honest at the same time.”

“It puts me in an awkward position because I have to step into her world when she wants an honest critique.” Greg comments. “She’s incredible because she can step out of the studio and help out with the ranch when I need her, while I can’t just step into the studio to help her in return. She does a whole lot more than she would admit and handles it really well. I couldn’t do this without her.” 

Emily has illustrated several children's books for the National Garden Club in London, Kentucky. “When they reached out to me to illustrate the books, I was intimidated. People think that if you can draw, you can draw anything. But I’m used to huge canvases and paint, and suddenly had to transfer to paper and markers. Paint is very forgiving— you can always paint over a spot if you mess up, and with these illustrations, I had to be careful. They ended up taking just as long as painting one of my murals.”

One of Emily’s current projects is painting one of the lion statues for Wallace State Community College. She’s planning on an agricultural theme to honor Alabama farm life! She also held an art night, where everyone visited the ranch and painted abstract horses. She hopes to host more art events in the future, such as ‘paint and sip’ classes, or art galleries. “Great art is born from ideas. You can take a mediocre artist who has good concepts, and as soon as you teach them the techniques to incorporate their ideas, they can make something really amazing.”

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