Artist: Chessa Rich
Hometown: Durham, North Carolina
Album: Deeper Sleeper
Release Date: April 7, 2023
Label: Sleepy Cat Records
In Their Words: “My grandma Mary was a painter, but not the kind who ever sold a painting or did it for anyone but herself, and managed to amass a collection of work despite raising nine kids with my grandpa in a small house in rural Eastern North Carolina. Her paintings are mostly zoomed-in landscapes and still-lifes that I grew up staring at on the walls of my grandparents’ house. One showed a lake with a bass jumping out and sat right beside the deer head mounted above my grandaddy’s recliner. Their house, the one my mom grew up in, shows up in my dreams quite frequently.
“I had the great privilege of knowing my Grandma Mary for most of my life, but she passed away while I was living in Spain after college so I missed her funeral. It was only after she was gone that I began taking my own art more seriously, and I started having all these questions for her. As kids, we rarely think about our parents and grandparents as real people with unique thoughts and lives before we existed. They often don’t get acknowledged as the wise teachers they are until it’s too late. When I started writing songs, I found myself wanting to ask her about her own art-making and to chat with her about leaning into creative work in the midst of a busy life. I was experiencing a real spiritual transformation triggered by the work I was creating and felt a deep kinship with her. ‘Mary’ is a kind of letter to her, artist to artist, grand-daughter to grandmother, and person to person.” — Chessa Rich
Photo Credit: Chris Frisina