Robinson curates Artful's Juneteenth exhibit

LaSaundra Robinson, an accomplished painter, curates the third annual Juneteenth exhibit at ARTFUL. The opening reception will be held June 15, 6–9 p.m., at Coventry PEACE Campus in Cleveland Heights. 

Robinson, who has had a studio at ARTFUL since 2017, recently answered some questions about her work and the Juneteenth exhibit:

What artist(s) most influence you? I wouldn't say that there are specific artists that influence my work directly, but there are definitely artists that inspire me. Henry Taylor, Kerry James Marshall, and Charly Palmer, along with countless YouTube and Instagram artists, keep me wanting to paint and try new things.

Can you describe how your style has evolved over the years? When I first started painting, I would just find a couple interesting images, put them together and try to make a story. I used a lot of mixed media then. I decided to focus on what I really wanted to paint and that was Black women. After painting in a more realistic style using oils, I began to experiment using a looser style using acrylic paint. The oil painting takes a long time so in between those I like to do loose acrylic paintings.

What is your biggest challenge? The biggest challenge I face is being a single mom and a caregiver with not a lot of support. Having lupus steals my energy, but whenever I can I'm out here trying my best to move forward with my art and this amazing art community we have in Cleveland.

Why are rainbows a common theme in your work? Rainbows for me are a symbol of going through some sort of storm or trouble in your life and making it to a better time—a goal or dream that you may have.

What do you most enjoy about curating the Juneteenth exhibit? I enjoy meeting new artists. It is exciting to meet a new artist that maybe has never shown their work before, and experiencing that first-time excitement with them is awesome.

How has curation of the exhibit influenced your own work? Seeing all the different work that comes in and all the different styles and techniques are really inspiring.

Why is ARTFUL where you choose to do your work? I love my studio at ARTFUL because it is definitely a place you can grow as an artist. There is an amazing community of artists that are always willing to help and give you feedback on whatever you're doing or working on. And being a mom of special-needs kids I definitely needed a place that is accessible.

Your studio is between Jacqui Brown and John Martin, also longtime ARTFUL resident artists. Have you formed a bond strengthened by your diverse backgrounds? It has definitely been a plus having Jacqui and John as studio neighbors. I would say we help each other the most. They are like my work friends now that I don't have a traditional job.

The Juneteenth exhibition will be open through July 26's PEACE Pops event, 6–9 p.m. The gallery is open on Wednesdays, 4–6 p.m.

Shannon Morris

Shannon Morris is the executive director of ARTFUL Cleveland, and a lifetime resident of the Heights. 

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 10:31 AM, 05.29.2024