AUGUST 23, 2018 – SEPTEMBER 4, 2018

Janie Ball – Barbara Ellis – Nick Napoletano – Caroline Rust


The ArtPop program turns billboards into public art sites and creates opportunities for artistic appreciation on roads, highways and thoroughfares. The self-described “street art gallery” has brought a broad range of artwork to city streets – including fine art paintings writ large – by some of the region’s most accomplished fine artists. See new works by Janie Ball, Barbara Ellis, Nick Napoletano and Caroline Rust in this exhibition that breaks down the conventional notions of billboard art.

More About the Artists


Janie Ball
Charleston native Janie Ball creates paintings with strong graphic compositions. Each work is composed of thoughtful shapes of color which when visually combined “paint” the image for the viewer. Ball is a versatile painter – plein air, contemporary realism, and abstract expressionism – with a keen eye for grasping the beauty around her, even in unexpected places. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Ball’s work reflects her dual training in fine art and graphic design.

With her home studio on Sullivan’s Island and the memory of the natural, low country beauty that surrounded her growing up, Ball is drawn to landscapes that have a sense of place. Often the subject is a location in which man and nature coexist side by side. She notes: “walking out my front door I’ll be inspired by a colorful fire hydrant surrounded by Indian Blanket Flowers. The same type of wildflowers that grew along the beach paths in the sand dunes and I picked growing up here as a child. It is often my personal relationship with the subject matter that resonates and compels me to paint it.”

Ball has exhibited at Piccolo Spoleto’s Outdoor Art Exhibition and the Piccolo Spoleto Juried Art Exhibition. She is a member of the Charleston Artist Collective, a group that is committed to philanthropy and donates a portion of sales revenue to local charities.

Barbara Ellis
Native New Yorker Barbara Ellis’ intention is to motivate contemplation and conversation through her paintings, and perhaps, even encourage personal growth. Now living in Charlotte, Ellis is currently focused on abstract expressionism with a process that she describes as both healing and freeing. She notes: “When I work from the abstract expressionist perspective, I begin a painting by making random marks on the canvas. As the composition develops, I make adjustments to areas that make me uncomfortable. The process is repeated layer by layer as I respond with free-sweeping gestures that emanate from my Spirit. This unusual painting method essentially channels spiritual, subconscious and emotional memory into visual form. Oftentimes, creating a pleasing composition requires turning chaos into order.”

Ellis works with many mediums: oil, various forms of acrylic paint, art crayons and sometimes tissue or pastels on canvas or fabric. In addition to her recent introspective works, Ellis is also drawn to figurative abstract art. She creates images of African American ancestors inspired by poetry and personal memory, and also explores words and symbols that are used to express proverbs and other philosophical ideas.

Ellis’ work was exhibited in Artfields 2017. She was one of Charlotte’s 2016 ArtPop artists; and her work was featured in the October 2016 issue of Art278. Ellis earned her Bachelor’s in Commercial Art at the City College of New York, studied at F.I.T., the School of Visual Arts, and with Louise Stanford, Lee Baumgarten, Walter Stanford, and Steve Aimone.

Nick Napoletano
Nick Napoletano is a painter, muralist, and designer known for hyperrealist works brimming with allegory and symbolism. The rich color and idealized figures in his compositions are stylistically in line with Mannerism and High Renaissance. After receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Hartford, Napoletano studied under renowned egg tempera painter Fred Wessel, an experience that refined his modern take on allegorical realism. He uses the human figure as “a vehicle to explore and document various facets of the human condition as they relate to both the individual and the universal whole.” Community growth and dialogue are a main component of Napoletano’s work; his installations are meant to function as a mirror, identifying a truth about the community, while paving the way for positive change.

Nick has expanded his work into the field of Virtual/Augmented Reality. He developed a unique method of making his two-dimensional images come to life, one that does not require observers to use an external viewing device. His next projects will incorporate this V/AR method in a manner that engages and connects often disparate groups within the community.

Private collectors and public institutions have commissioned Napoletano; his work can be found in galleries and museums internationally, including the collections of Amway and the New Britain Museum of American Art. Nick recently exhibited at the Mint Museum and is currently working with virtual reality technology to build a series of augmented reality paintings and virtual worlds.

Caroline Rust
Charlotte native Caroline Rust creates paintings and installations charged with expressionistic color and multiple layered surfaces which challenge assumptions of femininity and gender roles with an intimate and compassionate eye. In a synthesis of emotion and intellect, her art is based upon aspects of the feminine, one’s relationship to her body, and objects of femininity. Inspired by historic research, fashion, and sociology her work provides a means to develop dialogue regarding sense of self, identity, and physical appearance.

Rust uses the mediums of painting and sculptural assemblage in powerful applications for addressing gender paths and social issues that stem from personal experiences and of various women throughout history. Her works regard the dressing table and the woman’s approach to her looking glass; blending those moments which expose her internal life and when she contemplates the practices to which she clings or repels. Challenging assumptions of femininity and gender roles, expressionistically painted imagery charged with color is atop low relief surfaces of up-cycled garments and undergarments carefully selected from her wardrobe and vintage collections. The clothes are turned inside out revealing facets of the hidden-self and are used to explore personal and emotional aspects of fashion. Rust’s work emerges as a fresh method to creating canvas and visually illuminating vulnerability.

Rust received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from East Carolina University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Winthrop University, both with a painting concentration. She is a member of the National Association of Women Artists in New York, board officer of the Women’s Arts Initiative in Rock Hill, SC, and has held a residency at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation in Charlotte. She is a recipient of artist grants from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Arts and Science Council and was just awarded an artist grant from the Arts Council of York County for the upcoming 3-woman exhibition entitled Reflecting Herstory at Radford University Art Museum in Virginia and the Center for the Arts in Rock Hill. Rust’s work is in personal and corporate collections across the country and the world, and she exhibits annually in both solo and juried exhibitions across the United States.