The day LaTisha Coleman graduated from at N.C. A&T State University in 2008 was the day she realized she could make a living from her art.
As a child growing up in Winston-Salem, she liked to draw and took advanced placement art classes in high school, but never thought about being an artist in life.
“Actually, I can say that happened in college,” said Coleman, a graphic designer for the Winston-Salem Journal and the Greensboro News & Record. “I really got serious with it after school.”
She sold her first big piece — a series of eight pieces focused on different animals in different environments — to a college classmate’s mother that graduation day.
“At first, it was just something to do for fun, but once I started selling, I said, ‘Hey, I can really do this,’” Coleman said.
Coleman does mixed media and 3-D portraits.
“Recently I’ve been playing around with scarves,” she said.
Her “Badu” piece is named after the artist, Erykah Badu. It is a 3-D portrait highlighted by a multi-colored scarf wrapped like a turban. “Badu” is one of three of her works from her “The Queen Series” collection showing at Delta Arts Center. The other pieces are “Grace” and “See, Hear, Speak No Evil.”
Q: How would you describe your art?
Answer: My work is often influenced by the African culture. My collection entitled, “the Queen Series,” features three-dimensional portraits of black women, celebrating their virtues, unapologetically, glorifying their power, strength and beauty.
Each piece often consists of constructing a range of mediums, including plaster of Paris and faux locs, and techniques such as paper mache’. With these elements, I am able to create not only a three-dimensional presence but individualism, originality, uniqueness and an undeniable unity between each Queen.
Q: How have you evolved as an artist?
Answer: I can honestly say, I am not the same artist I was a couple months ago, not to even mention last year. Being open to exploring new mediums and techniques has opened this gateway for me. With new materials, such as the human faux locs extensions, I have been able to take my art to a different level. And I am truly excited about it.
Q: Who has influenced your art?
Answer: My family members are huge influencers for my art — particularly the females. I have even named some of my works after some family members, simply because the paintings remind me of them. As a child, we were taught to stand strong, to handle your business, to take care of family and to always keep god first! This has shaped me into the person I am today, and I am very positive that this is translated into my art.
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
Answer: This is funny! I have a huge problem with planning/control. Everything has to be planned out, before even touching the canvas. From the color, to what materials are used, etc.
I have to be in control, sometimes I wish I could just walk up to canvas and start painting. ... However, I am just not programmed that way.
Q: What does art do for you?
Answer: Art = freedom. Freedom to explore, build, construct whatever the creative mind thinks.
Q: Any advice for other artists?
Answer: Don’t let anyone’s opinion of your work stop you from doing what you are so driven to do and remain humble.