See Me, Move Me, Feel Me:Part 2

Lanise Howard in... Painting Upon A Dream!


Her paintings fascinated me. The figures portrayed in her work seemed so realistic. I loved how BLACK it was; green sceneries that mimicked the landscapes of Africa, different shades of our golden, melanated skin, chunky jewelry and clothing are all reflections of the motherland. Lanise Howard is definitely an artist on her way up. Painting images from her dreams are the perfect way of creating from the soul. As a creative, when you turn your wildest imaginings into an art form, it is a way of completing your soul's purpose. So little of us do this, and we need to acknowledge those who step out of societies norms and fly.

I was beyond excited to have my first interview with an art student. As I stated before, I love her work and what it represents, so, getting to know her and where her inspirations come from was joyous. On my way to the art room where she was painting, I couldn't help but feel quite nervous. I never interviewed a stranger in person before. As I walked in, there she was working on a totally different piece beside the one I was already familiar with. I had to make sure that I was getting footage of her in action. I felt as if it were important. Finally, I sat down with her and didn't say much of anything. I asked one question and I listened. What I learned from her will always remain cherished.

Lanise Howard was born in Los Angeles but grew up in New York. Being "authentically you" was not a strange concept to Lanise. The world of art and originality was a part of her upbringing. While living in New York, she felt an urge to come back home. So, at the tender age of seventeen, she flew back to L.A. where she stayed with her grandmother. There were lots of things to get into for a young girl at that age. The first thing that caught her attention was the world of modeling. I mean why wouldn't she? She had the figure, the long legs, poise, and the beauty to make it. This was her time of feeling alive. Having fun and making memories seemed more important than work. One day while chilling with a friend, they have decided to take a drug that they have never done before. Lanise was a bit hesitant at first, but, she went with it anyway. Before she knew it she was seeing stars and all sorts of delusional shit. Apparently, she must have taken too much of this drug because she ended up nearly overdosing. As she puts it, "Life literally flashed before my eyes," and right before she blacked out, she heard a voice inside her say, "Bitch, you fucked up." This moment changed her entire perspective on life at the right time. After this moment, Lanise knew it was time to channel her life in a new direction; towards her art. Like most "art-artists", they tend to channel their pain to their work. So, she continued to draw her heart out. She attended school to pursue more of her fashion career. While drawing new clothing designs, her professor noticed that she should be putting her focus more on art itself rather than fashion. I guess her work was just that good.

She continued her work as an artist. Like with most proactive people, her work got better with practice. Then it came a day where she picked up a paintbrush and that's when her artistic abilities truly prevailed.

This was part of the interview where I couldn't wait to learn about; her inspiration. Lanise explained to me that her ideas for her artwork come from her dreams. She has very vivid dreams and been having them since she was a child. This guided her faith into the realms of spirituality; believing in spirit guides, being a spiritual being and so forth. Her Afro-Centric art is based on the dreams she would have through asking the universe and/or her spirit guides to show her more of our ancestors/ the African people. The culture of our past has inspired her to become more in tune with the world around her. She meditates, manifests her desires and listens to her intuition at every turn.

The presence of women shows up in almost all of her artwork. Divine feminine energy is important she says. We are often looked over and forgotten and feels that it is important to display our strength and beauty into her artwork. I couldn't agree more. Black women as a whole are subjugated and sexualized by society. No one loves our assets more than non-melanated beings. But it's not our fault. Due to years of constant abuse saying that our skin, hair, bodies and even our voices aren't beautiful can wreak havoc on our minds.

"I want my work to transport and captivate their minds." If you look closely at her work, you'll notice the pixels in the background apart of the setting. The idea of the pixels is like a veil between the past and the present worlds, or the dream world and reality. She painted a black nude couple that is obviously from present times, but the setting was put into rural Africa. Just beautiful. Lanise had the need to showcase her work in upcoming art shows and that's just as hard as finding an affordable apartment in L.A.

Surprisingly, the real challenge was her artwork being accepted by Black curators into Black art shows. Judging from the quality and message behind her work I would think it wouldn't be so difficult. However, according to Lanise's experience, it wasn't a good one. But that didn't keep her from trying other sources. She finally had gotten the o.k. from non- black curator that was more than happy to put her work in her very own solo show. It gave her the encouragement that she needed to keep painting and believing in herself.

Switching majors along with moving back to Los Angeles were few of the best decisions she has made yet. From speaking with Lanise about her work and what she has learned through the years about thyself and troubles, is inspiring. I learned that we are both on a journey of spiritual awakening. However, she's further along than I am and I feel that that's special to me because of the knowledge she has placed upon me. Being in an art school, you become surrounded by so many like-minded people who all want the same thing; acknowledgment for their work. Notice how I didn't say success. I asked Lanise what success means to her because everyone's version is different. She simply said success is when your work impacts people and regardless of your success; everyone is not going to like you. She then went on to say, "You have to be connected with your craft in such a way where you breathe passion for it." I loved it! Because it is so true! Your passion speaks through your work. How much you care for it, value it etc…

Remember that life is a journey and to never give up on your dreams. Everyone's story is different with maybe little similarities, that is how you gain acquaintances. They are a part of you and you them. Until next time…

Stay Positive. Stay Focused. Vibrate Higher.

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