The best countertops make a statement in your home that other features cannot. You've worked hard to incorporate unique designs and flavors throughout your home, so why should your countertops be any different?
At Real Deal Countertops, we aspire to combine the beauty and durability of natural stone with unrivaled, personalized attention to all customers. With the highest quality materials and the most helpful customer service, we give our clients the opportunity to make informed decisions that they feel good about for years. Our story in the countertop fabrication and manufacturing industry began more than 19 years ago, when Rafael Quedevez started out as a sales representative in Massachusetts. Working his way up through the ranks, Rafael soon made his way to South Carolina to open and manage his own companies. In 2013, we created real Deal Countertops. Since that time, we are proud to have served more than 5,000 customers in South Carolina and beyond.
Our leadership team combines more than 40 years of experience in the home remodeling service industry. Always striving to create a better product for our customers, we use the latest in robotics technologies and the sharpest minds in the business to craft countertops of unparalleled quality. Unlike other countertop companies in Downtown Charleston, SC, we only source the finest stone slabs in the world.
At Real Deal Countertops, we offer a wide range of styles and materials to choose from, including:
We are committed to ensuring that granite, marble, and other unique, exotic stones are attainable to all who desire them. If you're in search of a trustworthy counter company with a team of knowledgeable, helpful experts, you have come to the right place!
Most Popular Countertops in Downtown Charleston, SC
Choosing the best countertops for your kitchen is an important decision, but it doesn't have to be a hard one. One of the best ways to narrow down your search is to find out what kind of countertop material you'd like to use. While it's true that material and style trends change over time, there are several counters that have always been top sellers.
Some of the most popular countertops we sell include:
Marble Countertops in Downtown Charleston, SC
There's no way around it - marble adds jaw-dropping beauty to just about any room and is known for its good looks. It is a dense stone that comes in many different hues like greens, browns, pinks, greys, whites, and more. While marble countertops often have otherworldly beauty, they can be susceptible to stains and cracks. Marble is also considered one of the most expensive counters to choose from, though the truth is marble comes in a wide range of qualities and prices.
- Pros: Stunning beauty, plenty of beautiful choices.
- Cons: Not always used in kitchens due to chance of staining.
- Popular Colors: Portinari, Shadow Storm, Super White, Lumen, Calacatta Linconni, Nobulato Honned, Shadow, Grey Imperiale Honed.
Granite Countertops in Downtown Charleston, SC
When it comes to popularity, granite countertops take the cake. Granite countertops usually contain a blend of quartz, feldspar, mica, and other minerals. Granite can add an edge of elegance and even a country-chic feel to your kitchen, making it a well-rounded stone. Granite is durable and scratch-resistant, though it can require sealing and DIY chip repair.
- Pros: Luxurious, rich look featuring natural stone that is durable, heat resistant, and scratch-resistant.
- Cons: Hard material that may require DIY chip repair and sealing.
- Popular Colors: Blue Jeans, Creama Pearl, Alure, Galaxy White, Luna Pear, Steel Grey, Ubatuba, Oro Brazil.
Quartz Countertops in Downtown Charleston, SC
Quartz is a manufactured material that represents one of our favorite four-letter words: easy! If you're looking to add a high-end feel to your kitchen or bathroom, quartz is an excellent material to consider. Like granite, quartz countertops can add a decadent vibe to any room. Unlike granite, you may not have to seal quartz quite as often (if ever).
- Pros: Quartz countertops come in plenty of colors to choose from and are easy to clean. They are also strong, scratch-resistant, and don't require sealing.
- Cons: Quartz is not as heat resistant as other materials like granite counters. Sharp corners tend to crack, but that can be remedied with rounded corners.
- Popular Colors: Noble Grey, Raw Concrete, Frosty Carrina, Shitake, Pebble, Pietra Grey, Sierra Madre, Arctic.
Silestone Countertops in Downtown Charleston, SC
A manufactured material made from quartz crystals, Silestone countertops are equal parts gorgeous and practical. Known for being a durable, non-porous choice, Silestone is resistant to stains, scratches, and even some forms of bacteria. Homeowners who choose Silestone do so because they can get a high-end look without having to worry too much about maintenance. Silestone counters look great in many different homes, from contemporary abodes with modern accents to vintage-looking kitchens.
- Pros: Silestone countertops are non-porous, meaning germs and bacteria can't lodge themselves inside this material. This makes Silestone counters great for kitchens and bathrooms alike. This material also comes in a wide variety of colors and resists scratches and chips. Overall, Silestone is an excellent choice if you want to make a solid long-term investment without much upkeep.
- Cons: While Silestone is great if you're looking for a low-maintenance counter option, it can be sensitive to harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia. Silestone is also not recommended for outdoor use since the resins used to make the material do not do well with UV light.
- Popular Colors: Daria, Gray Expo, Lagoon, Calacatta Gold, Arctic, Blanco City, Gris Expo, Desert Silver
Quartzite Countertops in Downtown Charleston, SC
Not to be confused with quartz countertops, which are manmade, quartzite is a naturally occurring stone that is quarried much in the same way that granite is. If you're a fan of marble counters, quartzite mimics its looks without as much upkeep. Like granite, it is a very durable choice and adds an upscale feeling to almost any room you choose.
- Pros: Since it doesn't require any special cleaners, quartzite looks great without much maintenance. When it gets dirty, soap and water should be all you need to clean. Quartzite is also a great long-term option since it doesn't wear down quickly at all.
- Cons: Heat is required to form quartzite. However, you should avoid putting hot pots and pans on your quartzite countertops. Because quartzite comes in many different varieties, some forms of quartzite need to be sealed more often than others.
- Popular Colors: Maya, Fusion, Locomotion, Callacata, Airy Concrete, Cocada White
Which Countertop is Right for You?
If you're just beginning your search for new countertops, it can be a little overwhelming trying to whittle down your options. We've got good news - with over 19 years in the industry, our team of experts has learned a thing or two about countertops. When you come to the Real Deal Countertops showroom, one of our goals is to educate you about our products and your countertop options, so you can make an educated purchasing decision.
How Will You Use Your Countertops in Downtown Charleston?
The first and perhaps most crucial part of your countertop choice should stem from how you and your family use your countertops. For example, if you have kids, your counters will probably see a lot of activity. Between standard eating times and "in-between" meals that teens are known for, your counters might double as food prep stations. As such, you might need a countertop material that is resistant to most food and beverage stains. If you own a rental property that sees a lot of foot traffic from strangers, you might want to consider an economical material that is also durable.
- Do you cook a lot?
- Do you host a lot of parties?
- How long will you be living in your home?
- How long will you be living in your home?
Once you figure out exactly how you'll be using your countertops, you can begin to narrow down your choices.
How Much Upkeep Is Too Much?
Be realistic and honest with yourself about this question. Before you fall in love with how a countertop material looks, be sure you understand how much upkeep is needed. Some materials require more care, while others don't need much at all.
Keep these points in mind:
- Materials like quartz only need to be wiped down occasionally.
- Materials like granite, marble, and limestone will need to be sealed at least once a year.
- Some materials may be durable but aren't stain resistant.
The bottom line is this: Assess the maintenance demands that come along with the materials you're looking at. Marble countertops in Downtown Charleston, SC are elegant, but if you'e unwilling to keep them looking their best, why bother buying the material?
You should be aware that most countertop materials will require some form of upkeep, even if it' minimal. To help keep your counters in pristine condition, consider these care and precaution tips:
- Many common foods contain acids that will dull or even damage the surface of stone countertops.Use coasters to protect your counters, especially if you'e drinking something with citrus juices or alcohol.
- Do not place scalding hot pots or pans directly on your countertops.
- Use mats or trivets to place under hot dishes.
- If you spill liquid on your countertops, blot the spill with a paper towel ASAP. Wiping the spill will cause it to spread.
- Use mild soap and plain water to clean up stains.
Which Colors and Materials Match Your Home's Aesthetics?
For many homeowners, this question is almost always top-of-mind. After all, you want to choose colors and materials that fit well with other features in your home. When selecting your countertop materials, try to choose a tone that contrasts with your other amenities, like your cabinets. Don't go for a perfect match. As an example, black granite is a beautiful contrast to white cabinets.
Consider these questions when choosing your countertop materials:
- Are there one or two colors that you love more than others?
- Does your choice go well with the color of your kitchen's walls?
- Do you want to switch up your kitchen's style or keep it the same?
- Will you be painting your kitchen a different color in the future?
- Will you be replacing your appliances soon?
Real Deal Countertops Pro Tip:
Because your home's accessories and paint job may change with time, your countertops should have a versatile color. That way, you won't have problems matching them with new paint colors or appliances.
Countertop Remodeling Done Right
At Real Deal Countertops, our #1 priority is your satisfaction. Unlike some countertop companies in Downtown Charleston, we make it a point to exceed our customer's expectations. We strive for excellence with every transaction we complete and pledge to faithfully implement innovative techniques to ensure that our products remain affordable. With the help of Real Deal Countertops, remodeling your kitchen and bath will be painless and easy.
The appearance of a kitchen or bath depends on the right countertop selection, proper fabrication, and expert installation. Are you interested in granite countertops in Downtown Charleston, SC? Maybe quartzite is a better choice for your family. Whatever you choose, know that our skilled installers and fabricators will make a template so that all custom pieces fit perfectly in your home.
What Clients Say About Us
Countertop Installation for Sue Gregory
Custom Countertops for Ellen Bowdon
Granite Countertops for Holly Washington
Kitchen Countertops for CFR Williams
Quartz Countertops for Judy Galuppo
Countertop Installation for Emma Fitzpatrick
Laminate Countertops for Carla Greene
Countertop Replacement for Barbara Piper
New Countertop for Daney Herrera
Custom Countertops for bob shafer
Granite Countertops for MrMunsters1313
Kitchen Remodel for Barbara Piper
Kitchen Countertops for Carol Moura
Quartz Countertops for Shoshanna Richek
Marble Countertops for David Glunt
Quartzite Countertops for Jim Brennan
Bathroom Remodel for Cody Griner
Countertops for Pam Kemmerlin
Countertop Installation for Al Walters
Granite Countertops for Amy Marion Langstone
Kitchen Countertops for Jose Feliz
Quartz Countertops for Mark and Marilyn Atanasoff
Laminate Countertops for Sandra Bryson
Countertop Replacement for Paul Scott
New Countertop for Steven Barbieri
Latest News in Downtown Charleston, SC
Commentary: Why it’s important to protect Charleston’s black burial grounds
Joanna Gilmore and La’Sheia Oubrehttps://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/commentary/commentary-why-its-important-to-protect-charleston-s-black-burial-grounds/article_1f49a98e-3887-11ee-bcb2-e76fc6540e8d.html
Few places encapsulate stories of our shared cultural landscape like burial grounds. Some are well-established, even destinations for generations of families and visitors. Others, especially those historically serving black communities, remain tucked out of sight or otherwise disconnected from those they once served, but are no less important to Charleston’s cultural history.The Mapping Charleston’s Black Burial Grounds project was established last year to support the families and communities who have kept a watchful eye o...
Few places encapsulate stories of our shared cultural landscape like burial grounds. Some are well-established, even destinations for generations of families and visitors. Others, especially those historically serving black communities, remain tucked out of sight or otherwise disconnected from those they once served, but are no less important to Charleston’s cultural history.
The Mapping Charleston’s Black Burial Grounds project was established last year to support the families and communities who have kept a watchful eye on these sacred sites to further document and ensure the long-term preservation of our shared cultural resources.
Here in Charleston, a city celebrated for its architectural preservation, there traditionally have been few requirements to investigate and protect what might be underground when people want to build on their property. So, until very recently, it was relatively easy to claim ignorance about the presence of human burials or even grave markers.
In 2021, a community-driven policy change resulted in a new citywide cemetery protection ordinance that now requires that anyone who finds or is made aware of “known or probable gravesites” during construction “must immediately cease ground disturbing work” and report it to city officials. It was a good start, but with so much development and so few safeguards until now, not many resources exist that document locations of local burial sites, making that prior knowledge difficult.
Enacting the new city rules was the culmination of hard work over the years by community leaders and advocates that sparked renewed interest in strengthening protections for the invaluable cultural resources that burial grounds hold.
The 2013 discovery of the remains of 36 people of African descent during construction of the Gaillard Center is among the most notable recent events to bring public attention to these untold stories. Working with The Gullah Society, alongside the late Ade Ofunniyin — “Dr. O” to many — we rallied the community to learn more about the remains of the people buried for centuries without commemoration under the city’s former municipal auditorium. Soon, a new memorial will be built near the corner of Anson and George streets to pay homage to the men, women and children laid to rest nearby, and the many people of African descent buried under the growing city.
The presence of unmarked burials is not an anomaly here. In the Neck Area of the peninsula, several cemeteries along Monrovia Street sit isolated and overgrown, inaccessible to friends and families of the deceased. On Heriot Street, an estimated 3,000 black Charlestonians were laid to rest between 1860 and 1960 with only a handful of headstones still remaining on a mostly vacant lot.
And within the city limits on the Cainhoy peninsula, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control issued a stop-work order for site work on the new Oak Bluff subdivision in response to evidence of unmarked African American burials. Additional archaeological survey work was conducted, and soon after, the city began listening to advocates and talking in earnest about ramping up local regulations.
All of these sites, and an untold number of others across the area, remain under-documented and vulnerable. But along with stronger local ordinances, increased cultural consciousness and understanding can make sure the Charleston community is able to take the next step and enforce its new ordinance.
This month and in September, there are meetings to hear from communities across the city of Charleston in an effort to identify and document black burial sites to assist city officials with their protection and preservation efforts. Once we assemble a comprehensive map of burial grounds, these sacred sites can be better defended from development pressures.
Building on long-term efforts by families and communities, these sessions are made possible by an African American Civil Rights Grant from the National Park Service to the Preservation Society of Charleston, which is working alongside partners from the Anson Street African Burial Ground Project, with the support of the Charleston mayor’s office and Planning Department and the International African American Museum.
Descendants and residents are invited to attend sessions to learn more about this mapping effort and share comments about burial sites that are meaningful to their families and communities. Strengthening networks for communication and support between residents, preservation organizations and city officials will be one of the best ways to connect communities with resources they need to preserve and maintain local burial grounds for generations to come.
The remaining meetings are at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 29 at Keith School Museum, 1509 Clements Ferry Road, and at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 9 at the Charleston County Main Library, 68 Calhoun St.
Joanna Gilmore and La’Sheia Oubre are members of the Anson Street African Burial Ground Project research team and are working as consultants on the Mapping Charleston’s Black Burial Grounds project.
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A family tradition: The life of a Lowcountry shrimper
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — At 4:30 a.m., most people are still asleep, or maybe they're just starting to roll out of bed.Not Rocky Magwood.Shrimpers like Captain Magwood and his crew are already a half-mile off the Charleston shoreline by that time, hard at work netting dozens of crustaceans to be used in some of the Lowcountry's most iconic culinary dishes.AUG. 22, 2023 - Trooper Bob joins Captain Rocky Magwood and his crew to learn about the life of a shrimper in the Lowcountry. (WCIV)On Tuesday, Captain Ma...
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — At 4:30 a.m., most people are still asleep, or maybe they're just starting to roll out of bed.
Not Rocky Magwood.
Shrimpers like Captain Magwood and his crew are already a half-mile off the Charleston shoreline by that time, hard at work netting dozens of crustaceans to be used in some of the Lowcountry's most iconic culinary dishes.
AUG. 22, 2023 - Trooper Bob joins Captain Rocky Magwood and his crew to learn about the life of a shrimper in the Lowcountry. (WCIV)
On Tuesday, Captain Magwood set up in a spot his family has been shrimping for more than a century.
It's a trade he was forced to learn at a young age.
When he was 12, his father passed away, leaving him to balance going to school and maintaining the family shrimping business.
At that time, the Magwoods had two shrimp boats.
Not only do he and his crew work long hours – they also often work in tough weather conditions.
And Tuesday is no exception. The Charleston area is expected to see temperatures reach highs into the upper 90s.
My sole purpose for this trip was to show how hard they work all day for something that takes us three minutes to boil and eat," said Trooper Bob, who joined Magwood and his crew on Tuesday. "I wanted to show what all goes into catching shrimp.
AUG. 22, 2023 - Trooper Bob joins Captain Rocky Magwood and his crew to learn about the life of a shrimper in the Lowcountry. (WCIV)
After 10 hours on the boat, Trooper Bob said they caught about 400 pounds of shrimp.
Once the shrimp are gathered in the nets, they are brought onto the boat and then every shrimp is picked out by hand. Any other sea life is thrown back into the water.
"I have nothing but the utmost respect for the shrimping community. I know that I will go out of my way to support them and purchase local shrimp. It’s a tough job and thank you for doing what you do, Capt Rocky Magwood!" Trooper Bob said.
Editor's note: This story will also be updated throughout the day.
Overwatch Home Services Expands to Hilton Head Island and Charleston, South Carolina, Offering Absentee Home Watch and Vacation Rental Management Solutions
AB Digital Inchttps://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/23/08/ab33991901/overwatch-home-services-expands-to-hilton-head-island-and-charleston-south-carolina-offering-abse
Overwatch Home Services, a trusted leader in comprehensive home solutions, is thrilled to announce its expansion to Hilton Head and Charleston, South Carolina. With a focus on serving absentee homeowners and vacation rental property owners, Overwatch Home Services brings its expertise in Absentee Home Watch and Vacation Rental Management to these sought-after coastal destinations.As more homeowners seek reliable and professional services for their properties, ...
Overwatch Home Services, a trusted leader in comprehensive home solutions, is thrilled to announce its expansion to Hilton Head and Charleston, South Carolina. With a focus on serving absentee homeowners and vacation rental property owners, Overwatch Home Services brings its expertise in Absentee Home Watch and Vacation Rental Management to these sought-after coastal destinations.
As more homeowners seek reliable and professional services for their properties, Overwatch Home Services is proud to introduce its Absentee Home Watch and Vacation Rental Management solutions to the vibrant communities of Hilton Head and Charleston, South Carolina.
Overwatch Home Services understands the unique needs of absentee homeowners who reside elsewhere for extended periods. They recognize the importance of regular property inspections, maintenance, and peace of mind. The Absentee Home Watch service provides homeowners with a trusted team of professionals who will regularly inspect their properties, ensuring that everything is in proper working order and addressing any potential issues before they become major problems.
About Overwatch Home Services
Overwatch Home Services is a leading provider of comprehensive home solutions, specializing in Absentee Home Watch and Vacation Rental Management. With a commitment to professionalism and customer satisfaction, they offer trusted services to homeowners in Hilton Head and Charleston, South Carolina, ensuring the care and management of their properties.
What Overwatch Home Services will add to the Hilton Head and Charleston communities
With Overwatch Home Services' Absentee Home Watch, homeowners can enjoy the reassurance of knowing that their investment is in capable hands. This team of experienced inspectors performs thorough checks, including HVAC systems, plumbing, electrical, security, and overall property condition. Regular reports and photo documentation are provided to homeowners, allowing them to stay informed about their property's well-being, even from a distance.
In addition to Absentee Home Watch, Overwatch Home Services offers Vacation Rental Management services tailored to the needs of property owners who rent out their homes to vacationers. They understand the unique challenges that come with managing vacation rentals, from guest check-ins and check-outs to cleaning, maintenance, and ensuring a positive guest experience.
Overwatch Home Services' Vacation Rental Management solutions provide property owners with a comprehensive suite of services to streamline the management process. The dedicated team handles everything from marketing and advertising the property on reputable vacation rental platforms to guest inquiries, reservations and coordinating cleaning and maintenance services.
By entrusting Overwatch Home Services with their vacation rental properties, homeowners can enjoy peace of mind knowing that their investment is being managed by professionals who prioritize guest satisfaction and property maintenance. This team strives to maximize occupancy rates, enhance guest experiences, and optimize rental income for property owners, all while providing exceptional customer service.
Whether homeowners are seeking Absentee Home Watch services or require Vacation Rental Management, Overwatch Home Services is committed to delivering excellence. With the expansion to Hilton Head and Charleston, South Carolina, they are excited to bring their industry expertise and trusted services to these vibrant coastal communities.
Awendaw mayor responds to concerns of overdevelopment
AWENDAW, SC (WCIV) — For weeks, Awendaw residents have been expressing concerns about the potential of hundreds of new homes coming to their community."Town council has approved 822 new residences with more on the docket tonight," Awendaw resident John Cooke said. "Those residences come with a population that will at least double our current population."Read more: ...
AWENDAW, SC (WCIV) — For weeks, Awendaw residents have been expressing concerns about the potential of hundreds of new homes coming to their community.
"Town council has approved 822 new residences with more on the docket tonight," Awendaw resident John Cooke said. "Those residences come with a population that will at least double our current population."
However, Mayor Miriam Green says the population will not be doubled.
"It's not the truth," Green said. "It's not a total of 800 homes. And if it is, they still have to go through planning."
"I can't say it's 800, 9,00, or 1,000 homes because I don't know," she continued. "But in the preliminary plan, yes, it did say certain amount of homes will be built up there."
Green describes the development plans as "smart growth".
Mayor Miriam Green describes the development plans as "smart growth". (WCIV)
"We are following ordinance and processes of procedures and state guidelines," she said.
In response to the concerns about the development plans being too much in too little time, Green says the town has to follow guidelines and the rules.
"Just because someone comes to you and says 'This is what we want,' doesn't meant that's what the majority of the citizens of Awendaw want," the mayor said.
Residents have also expressed concerns about how new developments may affect Awendaw's roads and infrastructure.
"Last meeting, I heard emergency services people talk about the fact that they were concerned about their ability to support the town," Cooke said. "The roads, the infrastructure might not be able to support (new development). The roads that were made in the early 1950s-60s are still the ones being used today and could fail."
Green says the infrastructure, road, and traffic issues are being analyzed as part of the development plans.
"We're looking at all that stuff," the mayor said. "We have a traffic study in place, but it doesn't happen overnight."
Another concern is the septic tanks that will be used for the new development, which Green says the town is working on with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
"20 years when all these systems start to fail, you could have an ecological disaster that could affect a lot of bulls bay and the intercoastal waterways," Cooke said.
The evening of Aug. 21, the Awendaw Planning Commission reviewed the Harper Valley proposal. It was denied in a 5-1 vote.
Cooke says people who live in Awendaw are banding together in opposition and they are asking for a moratorium to slow down the development.
"It's a growing pain in Awendaw," Green said. "It's not the people that live here. It's the people that came here."
Charleston gallery spotlighting artist who paints what her migraines look like
Priya Rama has been having chronic severe migraines since she was a little girl living in India. Now a mother living in Cincinnati, she’s made them the centerpiece of her art career.If you goWhat: “States of Being: A Dialogue” by Priya Rama & Marie Redfearn Smith When: 5-8 p.m. Sept. 1 Where: Mary Martin Gallery’s second location, 143 East Bay St. Price: Free More Info: ...
Priya Rama has been having chronic severe migraines since she was a little girl living in India. Now a mother living in Cincinnati, she’s made them the centerpiece of her art career.
The abstract works that portray what it looks like to Rama when she has a migraine have garnered the attention of galleries around the United States, including one here in Charleston. Mary Martin Gallery, with two locations on Broad and East Bay streets, now represents Rama and is hosting an exhibit of her artwork from 5-8 p.m. on Sept. 1. The reception, with Rama in attendance, will take place at the 143 East Bay St. location.
Translating pain into beauty
Rama’s art and story made it onto “CBS News Sunday Morning” in February 2020. In that video segment, and on a Zoom call with The Post and Courier, Rama explains how her migraines translate to canvas.
Often, a piece will start out with bursts or bubbles at the top, representing light flashes and loss of vision. As the migraine progresses, pain and tightness set in as everything goes dark. Then, she sees vibrant colors pop up in patterns that start their way at the top and work their way down.
“Then I’m able to travel in that space,” she describes to The Post and Courier. “Kind of like I’m bobbing and swimming around, almost. And even though it feels like a goopy texture, I’m able to go through it.”
She paints this progression on the canvas in vivid colors and textures, creating ethereal, meditative works, often hours or days later, after the pain has subsided.
“When I have migraines, I can’t always paint, but I have a photographic memory of visions during them from all these years,” said Rama. “When the meds kick in and I can get out of bed and paint at my home studio, they reappear in my head, like on glass slides that I can (scroll through) and paint.”
Rama has now been creating art inspired by her migraines for around five years. At art fairs and shows, she said those who also deal with migraines often come up to her and express how spot on her pieces are to their own experiences.
“That blows my mind, because these are different bodies, different heads. So how are they seeing the exact same thing?” Rama said.
It’s encounters like these that make her work validating.
“In doing this, I’m able to talk about pain much more openly than I ever had before,” she added.
Rama didn’t always seek to turn her pain into beauty. For most of her life, she just accepted it as a part of daily life. She’s had chronic migraines and considered herself an artist for about the same amount of time, since she was around 8 years old. But only recently did the two collide for her.
A life of art, a life of migraines
The painter, with a master’s degree in visual arts education who has completed doctoral studies in arts administration, has always been a visual learner. That’s how she remembers things, she said.
“I’ve always drawn and painted, and I was self-taught,” said Rama. “In India, I used to look at magazines as inspiration. My father had a subscription to ‘Life’ and ‘National Geographic’... and was a big lover of books and reading. We had no TV growing up, so my view of the world was through these magazines.”
Once she married and moved to the United States, Rama became a graphic designer and began working at an ad agency. Through all of it, she had weekly or even multiple-times-a-week migraines. They ran in her family, so she saw it as just something she had to deal with, often a debilitation that would zap her energy for a day or more at a time.
Even now, after finding a medicine regimen that works for her, she’s bedridden for a half-day or more from an occurrence.
As Rama furthered her art career, moving into the art education sphere, her migraines became worse, likely due to the stress and exhaustion of a two-hour commute each way from Columbus to Cincinnati for classes while teaching, too.
“Being a mom, being a wife, being a teacher, being a student, it was all just too much, and my migraines started to really, really worsen. So when I finished all my coursework, I decided to take the year off before going back to do my dissertation,” said Rama.
It was then that she found clarity. It was then that she began to paint her migraines.
“Just doing that changed how I responded to the migraine and the pain,” she said. “Needless to say, I never went back to finish my dissertation.”
She uses the process of painting migraines as a coping mechanism, said Rama. It’s a way for her to look beyond the pain. Instead of feeling the intensity of the pain, she focuses on the intensity of what she sees: the colors and patterns that she said emerge like a movie. Once she grasps on, she wants to stay in that moment.
It’s also helped her to realize the dualities in life.
“You won’t truly appreciate the beauty without the pain,” she said. “They go together.”
The Charleston connection
Rama is a member of the Women’s Art Club of Cincinnati, which is where she met Mary Martin’s niece, Marie Redfearn Smith. Smith will be joining Rama for the upcoming show at the gallery, titled “States of Being: A Dialogue.”
When her aunt came to visit in Cincinnati, Smith connected her with Rama. After meeting at the artist’s home, Martin said she knew she needed to work with Rama, who is now one of the 140 artists represented by the Charleston gallery.
“I fell in love with who she is,” said Martin. “She is one of the most gentle, kind and wonderful people. She’s very Southern, even though she’s from India.”
Martin, who grew up on a farm in central South Carolina before having a successful real estate career in Colorado Springs, Colorado, moved back to the Palmetto State, specifically to Charleston, 20 years ago to open an art gallery.
She said she’s discovered so many talented artists throughout the years, and Rama is one of them.
“This is so beautiful if it wasn’t so painful, but she’s made such a name for herself,” said Martin.
Martin said Rama’s work is in high demand at both her Charleston gallery locations, including the newest to open on East Bay Street. The gallery was sold out of her work when The Post and Courier visited a few weeks before the upcoming art show.
The front room of the space will be full of fresh pieces for sale and perusal on Sept. 1, and Rama will be there in person for the occasion, migraines allowing.