"I shipped off a pig to Hot Springs earlier this week. I shipped off mermaids to Montgomery. … That was huge. I shipped off crosses to Biloxi," Candy Cain. A prolific and versatile visual artist, Cain was born in Jackson 49 years ago, and has been gracing the walls of our offices and homes with her artwork for almost as long. And, yes, that is her real name.
Cain knew she wanted to be an art teacher as early as eighth grade, when she was a student at Wingfield High School. After receiving a fine arts degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, she returned to the Jackson area to do just that.
Over the past 27 years, Cain has taught art in public high schools and private lessons across the city. At Lanier High School, where she currently teaches, Cain has built a strong program with grant money from the Jackson Arts Council. She likes to show off the various tissue paper, plaster and clay projects she has assigned her students, as well as their current challenge: designing and creating shoes, a shoe box and logo out of Model Magic clay. This miniature footwear will be Lanier students' submissions for the upcoming State Scholastic Art Competition. "Teaching is easy if you keep the kids busy and excited," Cain says.
Cain also keeps herself busy. In addition to teaching, she has raised a daughter, Casey, as a single mom, and still finds time—lots of time—to create art. "I like to paint on my own schedule—which is all the time," she says.
Cain is best known for her batiks—paintings made with hot wax and dye on silk. She also produces textured canvases, using caulk and plaster, and then painting with acrylics on top. In her own words, her work is "colorful, vibrant, wild and bright."
"People can relate to my stuff because it's happy," she says, though she adds that recently she has been working on abstract landscapes that have a much different feel.
Painting is both a passion and a successful business, Cain says. "The hardest part is keeping my inventory up during my busy season," she says, smiling with her bright blue eyes. Cain actively solicits requests for "custom works" such as the pig, mermaid and cross paintings she recently shipped to patrons across the region, and she exhibits her work at 20 shows annually across the Southeast.
Cain has also created many popular T-shirt and poster designs for Mississippi's biggest events such as Jubilee Jam, the Canton Flea Market and the Neshoba County Fair, to name a few. "These are my people," she says. "This is what's working well right now."
Kudos to Candy Cain. Her art makes me smile every time I see it! Have several pieces myself. Keep up the great work and inspiration to a new generation of artists.
Ms. Cain was my art teacher at Callaway. She even helped me get my first afterschool job. She's a real class act. I wouldn't mind seeing her again.