D. Lammie Hanson: Visual Art became my loud silent partner who spoke for my soul when I couldn’t
Personally I think it would have been unfair of me to put any other picture in place of this one to serve as the introduction of our latest feature D Lammie Hanson. It’s just that this one sums her up better than any other to me… She’s an artist. My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Telephone Factory Art Showcase in Atlanta, Ga where we were thrilled to hear her speak with so much passion about what she loves and who she is. So it was only right that we bring this feature to you. IVYBetty… D Lammie Hanson.
You spoke so passionately about texture and how you use it in your work. Tell me what appealed to you in the beginning of it all, color or texture; and describe your affinity for it.
When I first started painting, texture and color were not in the mix of any painting I did. I was not into color at all. I was very much into Black and White like B/W photography and film. And my work reflected it in the beginning. If I did put color in, it would be a vibrant red for the lips.
“Just groovin with the best of crew… Don’t you feel the music to their step. Celebrate that life you have.”
Not only have I read it, but when we spoke you expressed a deep sense of faith and spirituality. At times when I write music I am so in tune and at peace that my pen takes on a mind of it’s own. Tell me about how your spirituality coincides with your artwork both musically and when painting.
In the vein of visual art, my paintings were cathartic. It was a way to give the subject a voice to share their heart and soul in a time of yearning to be heard and seen. I don’t know if that taps into spirituality but I think it goes into faith of the voice and soul. It was where I was at the time.
Sometimes I look at a painting and feel it painted itself. Visual Art became my loud silent partner who spoke for my soul when I couldn’t. Creating beauty to make myself beautiful. I now know that I am beautiful on my worse days, as well on my best days.
In the vein of my music, I’m more subtly spiritual. Music is a big part of my life and sanity. Music helps make the paintings happen 95% of the time for me. But as a singer/songwriter I write lyrics with divine optimism in mind. In 1997, I discovered the band, Jars of Clay’s song, Flood. I’m an Alternative Rock Baby. I didn’t know anything about Christian Rock at the time. Being raised Catholic, I was able to identify with the biblical references in the song and I loved it. It was quite uplifting.
At the time I was an agnostic Catholic and I hit a rough patch after a heart-wrenching breakup. I renewed my faith with a more intimate relationship with God. Jars of Clay had another song called Love Song for a Savior and I was hooked on writing lyrics on intimate inspiration and love. You can apply the lyrics to man or God.
Have you ever been criticized about your artwork from a spiritual standpoint? I mean, someone attempting to label you or your work as blasphemous/against your faith? How did/would you handle it?
I never got picked on for my faith or my work as blasphemous. I’m catholic. I have inspiration like the Sistene Chapel or images like David. The human body and face were the road maps to storytelling. You can’t knock that.
The only criticism that I had ever gotten that got my attention was that my work wasn’t “Black enough.” I don’t paint to be black or “black enough.” I paint because I can and I love it. Being Black is a given. I’m a black woman. You can’t measure a person’s Blackness because their eyes see something other than what you see. You have other artists that will carry that torch. Do you need another one? I’ve always saw the world with my own individual eyes, then as a woman, then as a black person. In that order. I don’t have a problem with it.
No matter how much we as artists do the work out of love, there is always the business side of things. How have you managed to be able to handle/balance the business of being an artist in a way that does not subtract from what you love?
I do it out of faith. I’m the only one that can make the art I make. I am still learning the balance of success vs failure and trail and errors. I’ve taken some risks that can be humiliating failures. I’ve learned that I could try to make something that I think people will buy and then those same people will prove me wrong by buying my personal original pieces.
Lesson here: whether it’s music or art, your audience knows what truly came from your heart. Your pure vision and talents shine brighter than a prefabricated whim. And then you find your reasonably pricing system to find your worth… and run with it.
Many of your works give insight into the emotion and character of human beings, most commonly women, but men as well. What is your favorite emotion to illustrate through your artwork? Is this the emotion that you yourself find inspiration and create from most often?
Warmth and sensuality, it always flows through me into the paintings. The world just seems so disconnected and through my work I want people to know each other again. See each other, hear each other, feel each other’s presence. It’s not sexual but sensual.
In your eyes what are some of the biggest and most noteworthy differences between men and women?
In my observation, women are communicators above their necks while men were allowed to express themselves below the necks. I focus on the eyes, lips and the position of the head of women because that is their main focus of communicating. Men’s bodies are their voice. Their strength, weakness, tiredness and virility can all be communicated through their shoulders and chest area.
Music is another passion of yours, more specifically songwriting and singing. Does music help you to articulate an area of yourself that painting does not?
Oh Lord, Yes!!!! In painting or sketching, it is a journey to complete the artwork. In writing songs and singing, it is a continuous joy ride per song and within the song I hit certain notes throughout and I get many moments of happy. I do it because I love it. My first love of creative appreciation was music then visual art.
Tell us about Perceptive Arts Magazine and what you aspire to do with it.
Artists always come up with concepts on series. Behind those concepts are stories that usually get interpreted by a viewer who doesn’t personally know the artist. This magazine will focus on a particular concept of a living artist who has created a particular series of artwork with the majority of the commentary, explanation, expose, analysis or whatever will be by the artists with support of their peers.
I know so many artists whose work I admire, who have stories that should be told and who I want to see shine brighter. That is what inspires me.
Would you say your mistakes or your successes have made you a better person/artist?
In the world of mistakes, I’ve become a better artist. Art is a relative thing and one persons imperfection is another’s perfection. I’ve made the best discoveries and the best art out of things that I initially thought was a mistake from my original plan.
Now my successes just made me grateful and humble
What is the legacy that you want to leave behind from your work?
Ahh that’s a good question. I hope that my work can still touch peoples humanity. I want my work to be in museums and have people from any country in the world identify with the warmth, vulnerability, sensuality even strength. I hope the viewer feels inspired to be alive or happy on some level. Just to be alive and human is enough for me.
Spend 5 minutes with LammieÂ and you will see that she is definitely a people person, and approaches life as if it’s all one big canvas. That being said, be sure to check out her fan page here to stay current on everything Lammie. Her portfolio can be found on her website here as well. Lammie and all of her work is represented by Richard Beavers, House of Art, in Brooklynn, NY. If you’d like to get in contact with her, feel free to email Richard at [email protected]