Framer, artist shares passion with others

Art has always been Stinger Studio owner Sonia Colonna-Mathis's passion.

"Because I was always drawing, my family was so sure that art was the path I was supposed to be on. They encouraged me every step of the way," Colonna-Mathis said.

After graduating from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Colonna-Mathis moved to Georgetown with her husband and joined the Williamson County Art Guild. She took a job as a framer at Hobby Lobby.

"I was seeing art all the time, learning how to present it and how to preserve it," she said. "It was a great thing to do, and I was getting to know the people who were here. I found out there were a ton of talented artists here that were from all over the country."

Colonna-Mathis took a job at Framers Gallery on the Square where she was given more freedom with framing options, she said. The store also gave her the chance to curate art shows.

"[At Hobby Lobby,] I was inhibited by the products that we could only get. Then all of a sudden, there were all these vendors and all this stuff we could play with," she said. "More and more of the local artists were coming out to see me and to talk to me about their artwork, and I would start putting together these really interesting art shows."

After a few shows, artists began encouraging her to open her own gallery and frame shop, and in 2010 she opened her own studio on the west side of town. Inspired by her astrological sign—Scorpio—Colonna-Mathis chose to name the space Stinger Studio.

A few months after opening, she hosted her first show in the new store, and soon after she had art shows booked for the entire year.

"It's been so encouraging to just watch the art fly off the walls every month," she said. "I've never seen that happen in the 11 years I've worked in art galleries. I've never seen art move this fast."

Along with displaying and selling art in the store, Colonna-Mathis also offers a variety of framing options. The art that hangs on the walls comes mostly from local artists with a few of her pieces mixed in as well.

"It feels good that I'm somebody that other artists want to hang [their art] with," she said, adding that some of the art is also done by her young children.

Customers looking to learn about art are also welcome in Colonna-Mathis' studio. The artist teaches art classes on Monday afternoons in the store and Monday nights at Hobby Lobby.

"I love people, which is what makes this job so great," she said. "That's where the framing comes in. I get to help them make choices that really make the artwork they pick stand out."

Stinger Studio, 4410 Williams Drive, Ste. 102, 869-5544,