After a stint in NYC, this artist is enjoying life in the South.

By Betsy Cribb and and Mary Shannon Wells
February 16, 2020
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Inslee Fariss in Raleigh Studio
Credit: Robbie Caponetto; Hair, Makeup, and Wardrobe Styling: Sophie Wilson

When artist Inslee Fariss and her husband, Anderson, first looked at their would-be home in Raleigh, the Realtor felt certain they would not be sold on the area. “The location may not appeal to some people,” says Inslee, who grew up in Leesburg, Virginia. “The agent kept telling us, ‘I don’t think you’re going to like this. It backs up to a commercial property.’ ” But after eight years of living in New York City, a little noise was just what the young couple was after. “I would be scared if I couldn’t see a Walgreens within a hundred feet,” jokes Inslee. “From here, Jackson (my 2-year-old son) and I can walk to the coffee shop or to the dry cleaner.” While her time in New York may have cultivated an affinity for the hustle and bustle, Raleigh has proven to be an unexpected muse. “For the first time in years, I have more space to fill and am starting to understand what people need in their homes as far as art goes,” she says. “That’s the puzzle I’m thinking through right now. It’s hard to fill up a house with art. And if that’s something I’m facing, other people are too.” Here, Inslee shares her spring wardrobe staples, three lessons she’s learned, and why she loves a particular drugstore moisturizer.

Cassidy dress, $198; nordstrom.com

Flor Studs, one of a kind; for similar earrings, hyladewitt.com

My Personal Look

“It’s funny; I have an eye for fashion and enjoy painting things that are inspired by it, but that doesn’t translate to my personal style at all. As I’ve gotten into my thirties, I now have a look that I’m pretty confident about. I like classic pieces and prefer wearing a lot of neutrals and things that are a little bit more restrained.”

How I Shift My Closet for Spring

“I’ve always been a dress person, so I’m excited about getting away from jeans and moving more into flowy dresses and florals. [To quote The Devil Wears Prada,] ‘Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.’ I’m a sucker for that for sure, so I’ll be jumping on the bandwagon before it’s even warm enough.”

Ways Motherhood Has Shaped My Style

“You’ve got to think: ‘Is this going to look good with food on it? How is it going to translate in a sandbox?’ Part of keeping my sanity, especially through the newborn phase, was getting dressed and feeling pulled together. If I’ve showered, my hair is dry, and I have some cute shoes on, it’s like, ‘Well, at least that’s under control! My child is screaming and I don’t know why, but I do know why my feet look stylish.’ ”

Where I Find Inspiration

“This revival of ancient patternmaking and block printing that I see everywhere is really speaking to me. There’s such a layered richness to the way they’re being used in everything from clothing to wallpaper.”

Inslee Fariss Artist of Raleigh, NC
Credit: Robbie Caponetto; Hair, Makeup, and Wardrobe Styling: Sophie Wilson

Kiki Dress, $198; tnuck.com

The Pointe in Rose Nappa, $195; margauxny.com

No. 64 The Graphic Frame Bag in Natural Canvas/Palm Croc Embossed Leather, $248; available March 16th at neelyandchloe.com

What I’m Working on Right Now

“I’m veering away from fashion illustration and moving toward other types of fine art: pattern, large-scale pieces, and color studies. It’s an exciting time, branching into all of this new work. Having an art history background helps me dig through the different movements and periods I’ve studied for inspiration.”

A Collaboration I’ve Loved

“It’s so energizing and powerfully inspiring to work with other women and small businesses and see the way we feed off each other’s energy. Neely and Chloe Burch [the sisters behind accessories brand Neely & Chloe] are so good; I love working with them. We’re on the same page in a lot of ways, so [creating a day planner together] was a natural, fun fit.”

Best Advice I’ve Ever Received

“In business: ‘Know your worth. If something is selling too fast, it doesn’t cost enough.’ In fashion: ‘Do not buy itchy things!’ And in my personal life: ‘Tell the babysitter to come earlier than you think you need her to.’ ”

Drugstore Find I Swear By

“I have really dry skin, but if I put Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment on my face and go to sleep (wearing a headband so it doesn’t get in my hair), I wake up glowing. It’s incredible.”

A Favorite Quote

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” —William Morris

Raleigh Rundown

Inslee reveals her favorite spots in her tip of the Triangle