Honestly, that was his long-winded way of saying history matters. (Gotta love him.)
And it does.
As a people, we are story and narrative all the way down to our core. The histories we are born into, the experiences we have + the people we encounter in various ways along the way-- inform the person we are + who we will become.
History fascinates me. There is a deep curiosity within me to know as much as I can about the various "stories" lived in this world, both past + present. I think that is why I enjoy travel so much. Each trip offers me the privilege of reading other pages of this crazy beautiful world, + somehow feel more apart of its rhythm-- its heartbeat.
Over the next couple of months, I will be preparing for a dream project that includes an opportunity to live + make for a few weeks in a place that is not my home. The project demands that I "lean into" the history of other Black American artists who lived + worked in countries that were not their homes, specifically between 1945-1965. This was a time in history following WWII, when hundreds of Black American artists left a more racially oppressive US environment to pursue their artistic careers outside of this country.
I’ve chosen 4 artists to live with over the next 4 months--all from various artistic disciplines. I will study the life, work + writings of one artist each month; focusing on how their time as an artist in a country that was not their home impacted their creative imaginations + work.
The first artist I'll study is Edward Clark, American abstract expressionist painter.
Ed Clark is absolutely brilliant + so much of his story set my inner muse a blaze.
I even brought a broom to create new large + small abstract paintings that will be featured at my solo pop up. By the way, that show will be at lululemon HTX Heights Local (713 Heights Blvd., Houston) on Thursday, May 31 (6:30-8:30pm).
I will be sharing what I learn from the artists + my studio practice on my Instagram + Insta Stories. I invite you to follow along.
Here is a short documentary interview with Edward Clark, which spurred my desire to study his work. Enjoy.
I hit the ground running into 2018. Finally at a real moment where I can breathe, I reflect on the beautiful layers of these January + February days. I have so much to celebrate + tell you about; where do I even begin?
At "Transfigured", of course! In early February, I held my first pop-up art show in partnership with Holy Family HTX. I was both the featured artist + curator. Just typing these words feels surreal.
When I first began my professional art journey in 2014, this never even played in my imagination. It is truly a dream I never even realized I was dreaming, and it all came true!
My first highlight of the show was getting to experience it with Ciona, my sister. Visiting from Nashville, she got to see my studio for the first time + see my art work in person! Her poem, "Do the Crazy Thing," has been my studio mantra from the start, so it just felt right + a gift to have her here for one of the biggest moments thus far in my career.
Another major highlight: standing in the space and finally getting to see all 9 of the paintings from the "Paraments" series on view. For a year I built this body of abstract work for the weekly public liturgy of Holy Family HTX. For a year, I wrestled with how to invite the community to live into liturgical rhythms through color, textures, graffito, and meditated marks, to experience the Christian story through these aspects of art. For a year, I studied and delved more into the intellectual history of color and how to let it best speak in this work. And there they all were--a year of work & liturgy on canvases in this one wonderful space.
Each piece reflects upon the eight liturgical seasons of the Christian Church and the sacrament of Baptism and has deliberate color choices. I also borrowed from the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi in this work, specifically its aesthetic emphasis on subtlety and the beauty of imperfection, impermanence, and “the aged.” I approached each 6ft x 6ft canvas individually even though I knew they represented a whole story together.
But I won't give you all the details of my process right now because another highlight (drumroll, please): we're creating a piece of art to tell the story of these pieces very soon. A book! I'm elated to be able to share this work with more of you in this way. Watch this space . . . more details on the book to come.
I'll leave you with a final and special highlight of the night, which was sharing it with the the artists in the HFHTX Artist Collective. I invited each artist to create work that explores one of the liturgical seasons, specifically through a contemporary lens. Their work, thought-provoking + profoundly beautiful, interacted with the "Paraments" series so perfectly and added to the contemplative nature of the show. I am honored + grateful to share in this moment with each of them.
Check out some of their art:
As you can see, 2018 set an enormously high bar so far. I'm humbled + also confident it will continue to surprise + delight me.
Thanks to everyone who came out to engage our art.
Special thanks to Holy Family HTX for partnering with me to make space for art to happen + to speak in spaces where all can hear.
Click the names below to learn more about the creative journeys + work of the artists who contributed to "Transfigured"
Words + Photography by Lanecia A. Rouse Tinsley. Edited by Ciona D. Rouse.
Artist Pablo Picasso is quoted often as saying, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." It's so true. Ask any child if he or a she is an artist, and more often than not they boldly proclaim, "YES!" without a second of hesitation.
At the end of 2016 when Holy Family HTX commissioned me to create 9 liturgical year 6' x 6' paintings, I began research and planning for the work. One of the many things I wrote included, "For the Christmas painting, invite a child to join you in the process--the theme demands it."
So come early fall, I honored this inner nudging and waited for a child before starting the piece.
That's where one of my young friends comes in! He joined his mother during a private workshop I hosted in the studio and was absolutely taken . . . When I told him that one canvas was especially for Christmas, I saw starlight twinkle in his eyes. That's when I knew it was time to begin this painting. So I handed him a brush, and his art became the first to mark the canvas.
"Ok, buddy, I want you to paint the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Christmas and Jesus coming into the world." I said.
He joyfully painted a heart and wrote his name next to it. I couldn't wait to join him and be inspired by his work. I knew then it was the right decision to co-create this painting with him and other little artist friends. Over the process of a couple of months, I invited two other children to add their painting, drawings and general artistry upon the canvas and join me in the process.
Here are my takeaways for our time together co-creating this piece:
1. Do not fear. Take risks, be vulnerable and true to yourself. Trust your first response to the materials before you and the space you have to work with. Remember there are really no mistakes in art.
2. Have FUN, don't overthink the process. It's ok to loose control.
3. The way the children moved the brush and marked the canvas inspired me to move differently, as well. A few of their brush strokes seem to have found their way into my making vocabulary. While working on my current painting for Epiphany, I notice myself using some of the some of the brushstrokes and mark making techniques the child artists intuitively did with freedom, confidence and ease,
I'm grateful for the markings, letters, brushstrokes, and joyful creative energy of Cobe, Owen and Hazel who all confidently added to the work throughout different stages of the process. I have a feeling that will not be my last collaborative painting with little artist hands.
"Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children."
Written by Lanecia Rouse Tinsley.
Edited by Ciona Rouse.
Photographs by Lanecia Rouse Tinsley + Brittney H.
(The background image is of a Wabi Sabi inspired painting in my “Beautiful Struggle” collection featured at The Journey Contemporary Workshop of MDUMC.)
In early September my studio was flooded by the waters of Hurricane Harvey. Hardy + Nance Studios, where my studio is located, took in over a foot of water throughout the entire building. My personal studio took in approximately 16 inches. And I knew from the moment I walked through the door after the waters had gone down, I would not be able to make it through the recovery alone.
Thanks to my phenomenal sister, Houston's Jerry's Artarama, the art community, the community of Holy Family HTX + numerous of other family, friends + strangers I was not alone in the recovery effort. Your gifts of encouragement, time, financial resources + support truly made a difference.
Thank YOU a 1,000 times to everyone who has supported me during the recovery + every step of my LAR Art Studio work! You have been an essential part of the golden joinery that has helped me live into this particular new normal with courage, hope + determination.
Hurricane Harvey came in strong through TX, + I discovered the days following that collectively our strength can be stronger than any storm.
Below are photos of the what the flood waters left behind + now.
After the Storm
I lost all of my art books, half of my studio furniture, a few supplies, old+ new paintings + canvases that were waiting for me to make my marks..
After Your Generosity + Encouragement
As I reimagined + recreated the space I kept these questions before me:
1. What would give me the most joy + life?
2. How do I make sure the space is both functional for my own studio practice + hosting others at the table without much rearranging?
3. What do I really need to do my work + what can I do without?
4. How do I shape the space to best display my art for others to engage?
5. How do I make sure I soak up as much of the natural light as possible while I'm working.
Below are a few images of me living into the answers. To see more of the studio join me at the 25th Annual Art Crawl! I would love to host you in the space + share my latests works on November 18 (10am-10pm) + November 19 (12pm-5pm).
On any given day you drop by my studio you will find me in a zone either creating in 1 of 4 ways:
1. With music blasting through the Bose speaker,
2. Headphones on, lost in my own world of sound + emotion,
3. Vinyl spinning on my record player offering me soft sounds that make me nostalgic about days growing up with parents who appreciated a good 45 or album and made sure we did too, OR
4. in complete silence which fuels me in a way no song possibly could.
Music is for sure an important part of my process + each month usually has its own gems that fuel my creativity-- always has. So I decided to start sharing my studio playlist at the end of the month to invite you into my process + maybe even shed a little light upon the work that I've most recently made.
I'm a little late on the September playlist, but hey-- better late than never I say.
Element., Kendrick Lamar
DNA., Kendrick Lamar
Something Just Like This, The Chainsmokers
Settling Into the Space
Don't Let Me Down, Joy Williams
Saturn, Sleeping At Last
Prepping the Work
Closer (feat. Halsey), The Chainsmokers
I'll Find You (feat. Tori Kelly, Lecrae
About to Get Into the Zone
Double Heart, Penny & Sparrow
All things Coldplay really
Mask Off (Remix), Future featuring Kendrick Lamar
All things Coldplay really
Spiraling Out to See Where to Go Next + Last Hour
A Set at the Table, Solange
You Are Enough, Sleeping At Last
Lanecia A. Rouse Tinsley