Noir More Than Ever

Christy S. Jimenez’s portraiture is unconventional, her landscapes dark and brooding.
Photo by Amos Moses

By day, Christy S. Jimenez is the Marketing Director of Flat Rock Playhouse, the State Theater of North Carolina. By night, she is a portraitist — but not in the ordinary way. 

Rather than paint someone’s physical likeness, such as their almond-shaped eyes or the delicate curvature of their lips, Jimenez immortalizes a subject’s inner life. “My focus is non-traditional portrayals of people,” says Jimenez. “The process involves meeting with an individual, understanding where they are in their life, and incorporating that into a piece.” 

Photo by Amos Moses

Most often, Jimenez’s interviews dredge up dark emotions like heartbreak, rejection, and regret. She captures these feelings in gestural strokes of acrylic, splatters of walnut oil, and smudges of pastel. The result is “provocative,” says Jimenez. 

In one portrait, for instance, a crimson-red substance (maybe lipstick, maybe blood) drips from a young girl’s lips. In another, two ghostly figures stare absently into the void. In a third, a woman’s eyes are completely obscured by red blocking.

Photo by Amos Moses

Jimenez’s abstract landscapes are dark and brooding, too. As she explains, they “evoke a feeling, an idea, a place that you have never been [to] or maybe doesn’t exist.” 

Born and raised in South Carolina, Jimenez began painting as a child. “Art is just a part of me. Ever since I can remember, I was always painting, drawing, and doing anything I could do to be creative,” she says. “I had a room to myself in our house in Spartanburg that I deemed my art studio, and I would sit for hours creating.”

Photo by Amos Moses

After high school, Jimenez followed her love for art to Savannah College of Art and Design, where she studied painting as well as graphic design. The combination was unconventional, “but I knew I wanted a professional advertising career that would always support my passion to paint.” At the tender age of 23, Jimenez moved to Greenville, SC, and began managing multi-million-dollar accounts at a marketing agency. She stayed with the agency for 15 years before leaving to assume her current position at Flat Rock Playhouse. 

Photo by Amos Moses

Today, she spends her time promoting shows at the theater, serving on the board of Upstairs Artspace in Tryon, and tackling projects through her freelance design business, South Creative Design. Of course, she also paints, and her work is the focus of a spring show at Landrum’s boho-chic boutique Bodega Noir, a venue specializing in floral design and local 2D art.

Photo by Amos Moses

According to the artist, her latest piece depicts a young woman to whom she grew close. “I got to know this individual and the struggles she fought with,” the artist says. To symbolize these challenges, Jimenez layered crimson paint, blurred the subject’s profile, and added what appears to be bruises on her arm.

Photo by Amos Moses

Titled Girl, the portrait isn’t happy. But it’s beautiful in its own right. 

Photo by Amos Moses

“As humans, we have so many emotions,” the artist notes. “Society loves to show the happiness, the colors, and the smiles when, in fact, beauty and realness sometimes lay in the gray moments.”

Photo by Amos Moses

Christy S. Jimenez, Landrum, SC. Jimenez is represented by Bodega Noir (102 West Coleman St., Landrum, SC, and will have a solo show there Wednesday, May 1 through Saturday, June 1. To learn more, visit

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