Quite a Pair // Carlisle Mercado and Sellers Grantham have created a collection of more than 20 illustrated poems.
Sellers Grantham and Carlisle Mercado have a knack for creative expression. Poet and painter, respectively, these local ladies have poured their love of simple living into a collaboration of visual art and words titled An SC Story, a collection of illustrated poems available in print and digital form this month.
A creative match made in artistic heaven, Carlisle—who was tracing Peanuts cartoons at age five—and Sellers—who penned an ice cream– themed poem at age three—met through mutual colleagues. “She was a writer and I was an illustrator,” says Carlisle. “We were constantly talking about different concepts.”
Grill Story // The illustrations are crafted with gouache paints by Carlisle and the poems handwritten by Sellers.
Originally from Southern California, Carlisle studied studio art at Bob Jones University, and after getting married, she and her husband settled down in the area, where they have family roots. Sellers is a Greenville native, and after finishing her degree at Furman, pursued a career in public relations with Oscar de la Renta. Though her job shipped her to the likes of Dallas, New York, London, and the south of France, she’s currently home pursuing a master’s degree in clinical social work.
The pair’s local presence partnered with their artistic background led them to the concept for An SC Story. “At one point, I was reading one of my four-line poetry vignettes to Carlisle, and she was immediately drawn to the imagery,” says Sellers. “Neither of us had pressing commissions at the time, so really, it was just perfect timing.”
Keep the Piece // Celebrate the simple life with print and poem collection, An SC Story.
The poems came first, crafted by Sellers into simple vignettes, each prefaced with the phrase: “I wish for you.” Her verses are packed with bold alliteration that rolls sweetly off the tongue—“songs sung off key, scrubbed into a memory”—and evoke hope-filled scenes Carlisle brings to life with her mixed-media illustrations. Her figures are whimsical, with dominant, unusual features, and characterful expressions.
When asked what the “SC” in the title represents, the response is multifaceted. “It’s for South Carolina, because it’s home,” says Sellers. “Also, Carlisle’s from Southern California, and ‘SC’ are our initials as well. So many roots with these two letters!”
But with Sellers’ fluid voice and Carlisle’s eccentric prints, “SC” might as well stand for “simply charming.” Just like its title, the essence of An SC Story represents much more. These lovely ladies have managed to capture the magic behind the common experience—like backyard barbecues and brand-new bars of soap and church choir on Sunday mornings—it’s why their collaboration is so compelling. Sellers’ and Carlisle’s talents combined create an honest piece of artwork that celebrates the simplicity found in each stage of life. An SC Story? Of course. But in truth, it’s everyone’s story.
Experience An SC Story at Art & Light Gallery on Thursday, May 4, from 6:30–8 p.m. To purchase prints, follow @anscstory on Instagram.