Ageless: Cynthia Wagner
Let’s challenge the concept that beauty and self expression are reserved for the young. Let’s tell the story of brave, bright colors and over the top elegance. Silver hair, well-earned wrinkles and fabulous fashion. Women who embody that particular brand of gorgeous that only comes with the years passing.
Photos by Graham Yelton
“I grew up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I married a man who found his way to Colorado Springs by way of the Air Force and that started the joint journey requiring eighteen changes of address, two sons and three daughters. I went back to university in my late thirties when my oldest child was getting ready to head off to college herself. After commuting two hours a day, five days a week for eight years to study fine art and photography at Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis, I received a BFA in Painting from Indiana University with an additional degree in Visual Communications/Photography and minors in Anthropology and Art History. We made our way to Huntsville, Alabama, the toes of Appalachian Mountains, in 2012 and we love calling Alabama our home now.
“I’m a working artist with a studio at Lowe Mill in Huntsville. I’m interested in what makes people tick, individually and collectivity. People and the human experience are central to my work. In my latest artwork, houses and other building become metaphor for humans, their souls, and their lives. An artist’s job, I believe, is to articulate the human experience. I recognize that others are very much like me and that our stories are often universally human. I know making art that comes from deep inside my personal experiences can resonate when another sees themselves in our common experiences. You can currently see my work in person at Lowe Mill studio 2053, the Huntsville Museum of Art now through October 31, 2021, Gallery 1:11 in Huntsville and a full exhibition of my latest work September and October 2022 at the Gadsden Museum of Art.
“I have a burning interest in architecture, and I love spending time outside, traveling, and cooking and eating. I’m inspired by all things art—the visual arts, dance, music, theater, poetry, film and literature. My main community service has been serving as the treasurer and exhibitions chair for the Alabama Women’s Caucus for Art for the last five years.
“My mother passed away from COVID-19 in June of 2020 and so the pandemic has been a traumatic time for me. The photo shoot, coming on the heels of my COVID-19 vaccine, was a little like a getting–out–of–jail–free card. It gave me the chance to open the doors from the socially distanced space I’d been in for more than a year and begin to return to a more normal life space. I had been cutting my own hair (with the help of my husband) through the worst of the COVID lockdowns and spending my days in yoga pants and the same five shirts. What a breath of fresh air it was to go shopping in person at last (for the preliminary photo shoot clothing selection) and then have the pampering of professionals to cut and color my hair and do my makeup and clothes again! It was wonderful to be seen as someone who is still beautiful and interesting even though I’m not 22 anymore. What a gift!
“I believe the way we use clothes to express ourselves reflects how we see ourselves or how we want others to perceive us. My approach to fashion and style, when I’m not in the middle of a pandemic, is to collect a few high-quality comfortable pieces in “artist” black and to layer those pieces with colorful and interesting glasses, earrings, scarves, jackets, and shoes. (I LOVE shoes!) A great piece of clothing or a new haircut can do a lot to make me feel right with the world.”