North Texas Daily

Alumna shows contemporary side of Grapevine art scene through new studio, showroom

Alumna shows contemporary side of Grapevine art scene through new studio, showroom

Alumna shows contemporary side of Grapevine art scene through new studio, showroom
April 25
16:53 2022

Hunched over the studio table, university alumna Rachel Townsend, 26, does not know what her next piece will look like or when it will be done. She never does. She just has to keep working until she knows it feels right.

Townsend looks out the doorway toward her completed pieces displayed in the front of her space, RTown Studio + Showroom. The canvases covering the walls, though more advanced than the detailed faces she drew on cardboard boxes at age 3, reflect the same passion that has always lied within her. As she glances across the room, Townsend does know one thing for certain: she was meant to be an artist.

Rachel Townsend poses in her studio on April 15, 2022. Julianna Rangel

“Art has always been a part of me,” Townsend said. “I don’t know who I’d be without it.”

Townsend started pursuing her passions at 5 years old when her parents enrolled her in art lessons at The REC of Grapevine. She continued to develop her artistic skills up through high school until enrolling at the university as a drawing and painting student in 2014.

Having previously worked on landscape and still life projects, Townsend began to find her own style by diving into more abstract and contemporary work. As she continued to develop within the Denton art scene, she found composing layers with different mediums and textures made each piece feel exciting and new. Since then, Townsend said she has continued to constantly evolve her style as it helps her grow as an artist.

“Whenever I get comfortable is when I start changing,” Townsend said. “That’s the fun part. Once I feel like I’ve been down a rabbit hole already, I’m like, ‘How can I do something to challenge myself?’”

During her last semester of college, Townsend became pregnant with her son and joined her father’s insurance company to better provide for her future. While Townsend was grateful for her job security after graduation, she felt like a part of her was still not fulfilled. After participating in several pop-ups and markets across North Texas, Townsend reentered her hometown art community in Grapevine with the dream of making it on Main Street.

In the traditional Grapevine art scene, Townsend said it is much harder for young, unconventional artists to get their start. Last fall, Townsend felt lucky to connect with Grapevine Foundry and Fine Arts Program Owner, Linda Lewis, 49, who offered her space as a vendor at the Foundry’s Holidays in Grapevine event. Townsend credits Lewis and her guidance as a crucial part of her success with RTown.

“She believes in me,” Townsend said. “She helped give me exposure so I could grow. That’s what an emerging artist needs.”

Lewis said initially offering the space to Townsend was risky, but that the artist soon demonstrated her worth by showing  Lewis said there are three characteristics that determine a great artist: talent, ambition and will. While many artists Lewis has worked with display these traits, she said Townsend also has a natural intestinal fortitude in the face of criticism. She finds this to be a rare skill in young artists which further shows Townsend’s unique artistry.

Rachel Townsend poses with one of her paintings on April 15, 2022. Julianna Rangel

“That kind of quality right there lets me know that she’s going to be successful,” Lewis said. “It’s just the beginning.”

As of April, Townsend’s former vendor space is now officially her own business, RTown. Now located at 701 S. Main St. #102 in Grapevine, RTown stands just down the street from where Townsend took her first lessons. She said this full circle moment shows how she was always meant to pursue her dreams of being a professional artist.

“I feel very aligned,” Townsend said. “I feel ready for it. I’m ready for the growth.”

Others, like her friend Makaela Malstrom, 26, feel it displays the full potential others have always seen in Townsend and her work.

“Rachel definitely has the gusto to take on this challenge of going against the odds to try and make this space that she’s always dreamed of,” Malstrom said. “I wouldn’t expect anything less from her.”

Through RTown, Townsend hopes to not only share her own work but also offer spaces for other emerging artists as well. Whether through instructing high school level lessons or lending vendor space, Townsend said she will work toward building her own supportive art community.

“I’m thinking of what I needed when I was first trying to put my art out there,” Townsend said. “I want to teach artists how to create their own style and pursue work outside of a rigid environment.”

RTown will hold its ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration on Wednesday, April 27 at 5:30 p.m. More about Townsend and her work can be found at

Featured Image: Rachel Townsend poses in front of her studio on April 15, 2022. Photo by Julianna Rangel

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Samantha Thornfelt

Samantha Thornfelt

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