GALLERY 203: Expressions of Place

Albino Hinojosa is currently featured in our gallery, but we'd like to call attention to the book in which he is included. Expressions of Place: The Contemporary Louisiana Landscape is a collection of art works by thirty-seven different artists who explore the urban and rural spaces of the state. Some of the artists are represented locally, where as others have been included in major private and public collections. Hinojosa is one of the later examples, having shown in numerous museums such as the Museum of American Illustration in New York City. Each artist in this book expresses their view of the land with styles that range from traditional representation to they symbolic and abstract. The artist's depict their region of the same place: Louisiana. Hinojosa focuses on the north central piney hills and fields of the state, while other artists in the book show the gritty streets of inner city New Orleans. Whilst a vast contrast between the two landscapes, they make up this place we call home. 

Expressions of Place is not a catalog or history of the visual arts in Louisiana, instead with it's introductory essay it places these contemporary artists in context to an earlier time. The artists speak to the readers, giving a point of view as to what they paint, where they paint and what has drawn them to this landscape. Not only is it about the artist's imaginations, it's about the land itself. With each painting, they have created visual poetry and sonnets to the land and the environment that have become so much a part of their lives. -- Adapted from the description of Expressions of Place, by John R. Kemp, published by the University Press of Mississippi. 

About the Author: 

John R. Kemp, the former deputy director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, has written hundreds of articles about Louisiana and Southern artists for numerous regional, national and international magazines, including ARTnews (New Orleans Correspondent), American Artist, Arts & Antiques, The Artist’s Magazine, New Orleans Magazine, Plein Air Magazine, Country Roads and Louisiana Life. The New Orleans native covers the New Orleans art scene for WYES Public Television’s weekly show, Steppin’ Out. He also has written, edited and contributed chapters to seventeen books about Louisiana art and history. Expressions of Place: The Contemporary Louisiana Landscape is his most recent book.

For more information on the book please visit here. See the listing on Amazon here


GALLERY 203: Chats with Liz & Albino Hinojosa

Thanks to 99.3 The Peach AKA Retro Radio. We brought our best to you through Rick Godley's morning show! Listen here to both interviews and we hope to see you at our reception for WORKS/RELICS. 

Thanks Rick for all you do! Visit here for the Peach Radio, and follow The Peach on Facebook

DIY Fall Wreath Decor

There are plenty of fall ideas out there to decorate your house, but have you tried this trick for your front door? We'd like to share with you several makers who have put together an easy DIY project for a Fall inspired Frame Wreath. 

1. Fall Chalk Board Frame Wreath 

Change up what you have to say on the daily with a chalk board frame. You could even change out the ribbon and floral in order to make it an all seasons wreath. Find the inspiration here

Credit: Lilacs & Long Horns 

Credit: Lilacs & Long Horns 

2. Customize with a cute Letter! 

Monograms are the rage! Make your wreath unique with a letter found at the local craft store. Find out how they did it.

Credit: Fun Home Things .com

Credit: Fun Home Things .com

3. Ornate is Great! 

Painting a plastic ornate frame keeps your door looking fresh and expensive without the cost. Learn how here

Credit: Celebrate & Decorate

Credit: Celebrate & Decorate

Finding a frame is easy at the Frame of Mind because we have many ready-made frames just waiting for you to become creative with. Stop in the shop to see our selection! 

GALLERY 203: Interview with Lacey

We sat down with long time Ruston-based artist, Lacey Stinson to talk about his work.  Each question we asked Lacey, he was delighted to put extra in-depth answers. At the bottom we asked Lacey to give some advice to emerging artists, here's a clip we especially appreciate.

We learn in the business world that competing is simply being realistic, but that if you fail to earn that money, you quit doing whatever it is you are doing and do something else. Quitting your art is not an option if it’s so deeply ingrained within you. So the business of art is unlike any other. It’s also why the poverty of genuine artists is so common. It’s not about the money.

Is there a reason you choose to work in oils over, say, acrylic paint?

I work with oil paints primarily because of the way it absorbs, transmits, and reflects light. It has a fleshy sort of skin that feels more alive and pliable to my eye. I have used water-based media, but they seem more suited to studies and sketches. While I can create solid planes of color with acrylics, they still have an ultra-modern manufactured feel which fails to produce the dusty, worn and weathered appearance of things having survived ages of time and use, which I like to see. Oil paint better reflects the poverty most of us live in. It reflects reality as it is, as opposed to what we wish it were. That, of course, is to anthropomorphize paint, but the tradition of painting has already established that for us. Prior to the 19th century, the subject matter of oil paintings may have reflected the elitist wealth of patrons and the iconic daydreams of the then-dominant church, but the underlying statement of the paint itself I see as reflecting the artist's lives, of their often belonging to a lower stature and poverty, as simply another worker, craftsman, or tradesmith.

I see a sadness in being merely a transient spectator, yet it's ultimately the spectators who stand up to injustice, even to this day. By spectator, I mean someone taking the time to observe and to think about what's seen. An artist should be addressing everything that dawns in his mind. I see this in the painted shadows of many of those old extraordinary paintings. Shadows may not play the starring role in those paintings, and may therefore be overlooked, but this, to me, is where the spirit of the painting resides. Nothing can have much meaning without shadows. Shadows carry us back into the space created by the paint. Perhaps this is my own fantasy of why paint is applied in the way it is, but I would not like to be told that my shadows are too dark and depressing, even if they were. Darkness is a natural part of life, a normal part, to some degree, of a complex mind. It can be found in most mammals, especially those raised in bonding social environments. Permanent optimism lacks the capacity for solving problems because it doesn't understand shadows. This may be an odd way to say that oil paint permits the expression of finer nuances in extended and drawn-out thoughts. Oil paint can reveal things otherwise not possible to see.

I also enjoy taking things apart and figuring out how they work. This can be done in the mechanics of painting, too. I can try different approaches in creating marks, surfaces, or effects in the same painting before settling upon something that works, that has the right feel. The delayed drying time of oil paint allows nuanced tones, layering, scraping, and working over areas that have dried to just the right degree of tackiness for certain effects to successfully work. Creating an image is simply the excuse used to paint.

How does working from life improve the quality of your work?

Working from life references not just life, but how life experiences reality. It plays into a lot of what I do. In the simplest terms, it provides a much larger possible landscape of objects, shapes, colors, tones, and relationships from which to draw, compared to what is simply imagined as being there. In my experience, imagination is the a conceptual grasp of an idea, where details are assumed rather than seen; where a basic idea is believed and therefore accepted as complete, when in fact very little of the thing has actually been observed or worked out. Imagination may be a great starting point, but the brunt of the work is in the process of bringing the idea to life by applying marks on canvas or paper.

In working from life, the task is in suppressing the unnecessary parts of what's seen, and filling in details in the abstracted rendering on the paper. Even in a highly accurate rendering, parts are being suppressed in order to focus just on what's vital to the portrayal. And even then, edges, shapes, and shading are exaggerated to some degree to trick the eye into believing some portrayed aspect of the real world setting. In working from life, I focus on what is already there, selecting what to ignore, instead of having to pay attention to what's not there, to what's missing but is needed in an imagined scene. There's a selection process in both methods. This may be daunting when first learning to draw, but it becomes second nature in time. The risk in doing this, learning how to suppress information, is that one's approach to drawing may become indoctrinated and rigid, and lead to repeatedly making the same choices in what would be similar circumstances. Divesting oneself of indoctrinated ways of responding, if you recognize them, can open you to seeing subtler distinctions between things, shedding light in the gray areas, and permit responses to things previously overlooked.

We're inclined to make cursory surveys of what we see or hear, drawing rapid conclusions for a rapid response. That's undoubtedly an evolutionary trait for survival that has it's advantages, but it doesn't work that well in doing science or creating fine art. Yet, there is a place for it in art, such as when capturing a pose of an animal or human that will change within seconds as the model moves. What does it take to be able to do that? In fact, the previously discarded indoctrination can serve us well in making instinctual responses to what we see. The indoctrination here is not quite a formula or memorized response. What's indoctrinated is a methodology. It's little more than a dedicated intention to observe, and to improvise, as though dancing or composing music on the fly. The process sidesteps rational analysis entirely. With practice, you'll find you are seeing things that were there the whole time, but were being ignored for no good reason. In going beyond quick sketches, I find myself wandering along a branching structure of ideas, implications, and surprises. Exploring these aspects of painting can take a lot of time. There is the time in actually painting, and possibly even more time setting my subconscious to task in solving problems, visualizing, and imagining what's possible. I'm looking for what's significant, what's being systematically overlooked, and what will ultimately tell a good visual story in the most efficient but necessary way.

I wouldn't want to overstate the use of working from life, though, as I still see it as merely a reference for creating shapes and objects in a painting that feel natural, that meet some requirement in our evolved brains for recognizing believable things. It's always possible to paint things that violate these expectations, but if taken too far, it becomes visually disturbing. Picasso and Matisse are excellent cases in point. While they violated these expectations, they nevertheless incorporated just enough of these geometric and spacial relationships to draw us only slightly off the beaten path of expectation. Their images worked possibly by appealing to how fantasies work, that only the barest essence of an idea is enough to generate ability to believe it.

From birth, our brains develop expectations about how the world works, about its substance, about mass and volume and the geometry of changing relationships. These physical characteristics cannot easily be violated without triggering something in the brain that tells us something just ain't right. Paintings that take this into account can successfully pull an observer's mind in directions they may not have normally chosen to go. This may not be true of alien from other planets, but because they will have had to have evolved in a physical world, composed of naturally occurring relationships of material, driven by gravity and electromagnetism, just as here, they too must be, at least initially, driven by instinct for self-preservation. But we just don't know what might take place in their brains were they millions of years more advanced, and the product of genetic engineering, or were they entirely self-created robotic individuals. These ideas are part of what drives my art. I don't see any firm limits on what might be or should be important.

While drawing something entirely invented, to some degree it requires referencing reality as we know it if I want to believe the creation can, in some way, exist. Science recognizes this foremost idea in that knowledge must be based on material reality, otherwise it's little more than conjecture. Religion recognizes it, too, but generally doesn't realize that it's doing this. Attributions to the supernatural are composed of those material aspects of reality the brain is able to understand. If they were truly supernatural, there would be no understanding of them at all.

There are limits to what can be conveyed in painting, but I'm okay with that. There's nothing mystical about it; it's just an undertaking to find out what's possible, and then making it a reality. I don't necessarily enjoy simply copying what I see. Photographs do that for us very well. I want the substance used to build the image, the paint itself, to be just as important as what's being depicted. I like to see changing effects in a painting as I come closer to the canvas.

I'm sure some people have far more vivid imaginations than me. I find that my own imagination is synonymous with a wire-frame model that requires a kind of belief to make it work, as though the belief make me think all the details are already filled in, when in fact they're not. That is the nature of belief; one thinks he sees a whole, when it's just small parts with tenuous ties between those parts. The ties themselves are a product of belief. They may not actually be there, nor relevant, but testing the beliefs can help us find out first if they reflect an aspect of reality, and second what significance can be attributed to them.

In creating an image, I have to remind myself it's just an idea that gets fleshed out on the paper or canvas. By adopting an effective methodology for applying marks to the surface, I can tug out a number of ideas that feed back into my mind and allows me to narrow th range of acceptable marks that will build a believable and appealing visual space on the surface. It's the many times I have worked from life that make it easier to tell which marks to keep and develop, and which to let fade into the background.

What are you working on now?

There's no real end to what I started working on 40 years ago. It's been one continuous effort. But I can describe 2 somewhat different sets of ideas I'm focusing on. What's closest to my heart are the planetary landscapes. That's the easiest way to describe them. In the context of imagining landscapes and skies on other planets, the plein air paintings I do on this planet fit right in to that idea. Everything I've learned about painting from painting from life here goes into inventing the imaginary landscapes. And with our space telescopes discovering thousands of new planets orbiting other stars in just one small patch of sky, I have a renewed interest in doing this. It's what I started out painting in high school. I'm just doing more of that.

Landscapes of earth may seem more familiar. The peach trees I paint are one of the things I find very appealing that I can actually go and sit down right in front of them to draw from. Fruit trees of any type fascinate me. We haven't always had fruit trees. They evolved from flowering plants that appeared in the Cretaceous period some 125 million years ago. In creating these landscapes, I draw on everything I know about science, geology, and atmospheres, first to account for the laws of physics, and then to anticipate how life-like things, or the remnants thereof, might have affected the environments I'm envisioning. For instance, if we had never observed the evolution of wings on this planet, would it have been possible for any of us to anticipate such a thing? Probably not. That's what's so wonderful about science. It's full of surprises. And art beautifully expresses those discovered ideas.

These drawings and paintings are essentially about us more than about alien species. They are the outcomes of our ignorance, our intolerance and bigotry, our stupidity, but also about our intelligence, foresight, and endurance. Just about everything can be expressed as a Bell curve. There is no ideal in nature, merely a range of possible experiences. That's what I like to explore. These paintings are about the beginnings of life, the end of life, the absence of life, construction and disintegration. These are the hard facts of life in a universe that for all appearances has no purpose. Once you step off of this tiny little planet, it's all madness that any of it should exist, yet it does for no apparent reason at all. We continually update our myths to account for the useless waste we find out there, as though it's all about us. But because it's not, we try not to think about it too much. Yet, the illusion that what we do is important is necessary if we're to do anything at all. And why not? It's one more thing we've managed to imagine into existence. 

I call this body of work Small Worlds.

How has your style changed over the years?

As a teenager growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, my friends and I would visit the Fernbank Science Center. One thing that never ceased to captivate my imagination and wonder was a small painting of a nearly face-on galaxy as seen from the surface of a barren, rocky, and cold planet. I later learned this was painted by Chesley Bonestell who created many of the early space and planet scenes used by NASA prior to digital renderings and actual photos taken by spacecraft and landers. The painting was a gorgeous little gem that inspired the subject of my first oil painting.

After starting out in this way, I then studied art and learned to draw. I could pretty much already draw anything I wanted to using my understanding of math and geometry, but putting in time drawing directly from life helped me to develop a sensitivity to the quality of my mark making. In that, I developed a signature. Drawing became an immediate interaction with a developing image. After this I was able to put everything together to come back to my original feelings about inventiveness and the planetary landscapes with which I began. 

The desire to reach beyond ordinary day-to-day views and conceptions of things has been a part of my work since I began painting, and is even part of what I'm doing when in the field painting peach trees. A landscape is not simply an ordinary view of somewhere on earth, it is an extraordinary view of somewhere in the universe. I'm not so much interested in reproducing what I see. I'm interested in creating a place that can only exist within the canvas. I want to see the structure, the texture, feel the heat or cold, and catch the background sounds that come from minor movements of hidden life, or a fall caused by gravity. Much of the painting may feel familiar, but something about it says, I'm an alternate universe. Sooner or later it takes you to a place you've never ventured to before. This keeps me wanting to paint. Curiosity, and wondering what else is there? What's next?

I've made excursions from figurative to landscape, to abstraction, but these are more or less necessary steps in learning to paint. While working down any of these avenues, stretching the meaning of these terms becomes inevitable. Imagery blends across the iconic boundaries that we imagine dividing the genres. The terms are merely a convenience, a short-hand, that makes it easy to grasp an idea quickly. In reality, they are all mixed together to varying degrees in all paintings.

In short, I don't like simply rendering an image with the precision that might come from a photograph. That's far too mechanistic and limiting to me. Rules bore me. I imagine far away worlds using a methodology similar to how I approach things on this planet. That methodology uses pretty much just one rule: how does it work? Everything else is derived from that. I sometimes imagine myself as being from another planet, seeing the earth for the first time. Nothing here would have any inherent meaning or importance to me. Everything is an unknown. I proceed from there to piece together explanations for what I see based on what can be found out.  I use this methodology in painting alternate worlds. It may be that not everything can be found out. That may be true in painting, too. There's always a mystery, somewhere. What's that thing peeking out from behind that doodad? What's that doodad? There may seem to be a sense of order or relationship between things, but why? It's not always clear why. It may never be clear. Not knowing is okay. These painted mysteries are metaphors for any problem begging to be solved, but for which there is no known answer. I don't know is a good answer. It leaves the door open for art, science, and learning more about everything. Pretending we know things that we really don't closes that door.

Many iconic artists other than Bonestell have influenced my thinking over the years, but I find myself returning to the memory of seeing this first small Bonestell painting as being characteristic of my deeper goals in painting.


Any advice for younger artists trying to break into the art world?

The main thing is to nurture your vision, regardless of the circumstances in which you find yourself. Success comes in many different flavors. You will always need money to do what you do, but in the end your art comes from your inner vision. Your inner vision is who you are throughout your life. If it earns you money, so much the better. If you can survive aside from being a superstar, that can work, too.

It can be very difficult if you're looking for something richly nuanced in your work. The rewards may not come right away, but you find a way to do it anyway.

With luck, you might plug into a ready-made system that provides the rewards you need to do your best work. That's not always possible. We still need to find a way to do our best work even if the reward never comes.

You can also create a business out of it, which is an entirely different challenge. There is no sure fire way to do that, but it does require a way of thinking that is typically inconsistent with modes of thinking more suitable to creating art. Some people have the gift for doing both, but if not, partnering with someone who possesses those skills may be the only way to make it work. Traditionally, this role has been filled by the art dealer. In theory, the art dealer is working for you, but in practice, you may feel you are working for the dealer, tailoring your work to fit the market which she says she can provide for you. You may feel you are competing with other artists for the attention of a gallery, where ideally the gallery would be going out to find artists, to get to know their inner workings, and make the decision that this is someone who needs to become known, come hell or high water. We learn in the business world that competing is simply being realistic, but that if you fail to earn that money, you quit doing whatever it is you are doing and do something else. Quitting your art is not an option if it's so deeply ingrained within you. So the business of art is unlike any other. It's also why the poverty of genuine artists is so common. It's not about the money. But the art is impossible without it. Just as you are not about the food you eat, but your life would be impossible without it. You have something important to say and do. Find a way to do those things, at whatever pace works.

It's not always easy to know just what is needed for your work to blossom. Money? A large studio? Any size studio? A car? Quantities of paint? Better qualities of paint? Better brushes? Expensive sable brushes? Does the size of the canvas matter? More free time? Time to think? Relationships? A better grade of whiskey? Quiet meditation? Better music? Better conversation? Just what is it that ignites that spark is hard to say. New things may do that for you; but it might be also be old things. Some people are performers and actors and find that spark when they have an immediate audience; they need to be seen. Celebrity comes more easily when you are seen. But your actual work is usually private. What then? Others can help fill that gap for you, but it often means compromising. Hopefully, it won't be by much.

It's great work if you can find the support you need to do it. It can be difficult work without that support. There can still be rewards, no matter what. Others may not see them, but you will. There's nothing wrong with moving forward on your own.

Thanks to Lacey for indulging us on all of these topics. Lacey can be found here!

The views expressed by the artist may not reflect the view's of the Gallery. 


Mandy Kordal has created a beautiful, ethical brand of high quality soft knitwear. This week we will have a sample sale ALL WEEK! Last week's east coast storm delayed the product on the East Coast, deeming it impossible to show during Ruston's Fashion Week. Stop in this week and browse the collection. The pieces sent to us are soft, lightweight, perfect for southern weather.

A little bit about Mandy: she graduated in 2009 from University of Cincinnati DAAP, studying under ready to wear designers such as JCrew and Doori. She found her passion for knitwear, deciding to buy her first knitting machine and focused solely on her brand KORDAL. From this she has created a strong collection focused on ethically made and brilliant quality clothing.


Studio 203: Drawing Fashion and Past Drawing Classes

Just bringing an update about our drawing classes! The past few weeks we've focused on still life, forms and now composition. It's really coming together! Here is an image from one of our students who has worked through every class, improving each time. 

Changing from simple still life this time, we are going to draw some drapery, taking our inspiration from today's Fashion! Because it's FASHION WEEK!!! in Ruston! We are so happy to be apart of this exciting time in Ruston, so much so that we want you to participate. 

For $30 you will receive paper and pencil for 2 hours and the ability to learn a bit about the foundations of drawing. We hope to inspire young artists to grow and possibly seek a career in the fashion design world. 

We hope you come to "make it work!" 

Photo Credit: Martin Meyers. 

Photo Credit: Martin Meyers. 

GALLERY 203: Abstractions, A Closer Look

Lacey Stinson, Ruston-based painter, completed this body of work for Abstractions quite a few years ago. Abstractions took a fresh approach the work, placing the work in a space that brings the work to life. Displayed in solid handmade frames, Lacey's drawings stand above the normal matted and framed look of a drawing. Below is a closer look at the work inside of the gallery.


Abstractions will be on view through October 28th, 2016.

Studio 203: Drawing & Design Class

First day of drawing and design with Charlie Meeds was a success! Here is our Gallery Director's sketch from Thursday. Despite a degree in art, Liz explains, "My drawing technique can always improve. I plan to use this class as perspective when looking at my own work. To give me fresh eyes."  

Liz says she only had one or two classes that enforced a Giacometti style drawing. But, taking this class has helped her see beyond her school training-- she understands this style of drawing a lot more. 

GPS systems use multiple satellites to pin-point a location of an object. It’s the same process here.

Alberto Giacometti,  a Swiss artist who lived from 1901 until 1966, derived a style of drawing that encourages wrapping space around an object, and finding points to use as references to how that space exists. The resulting drawing has layers of push and pull, lines to connect dots and draw angles that are constantly readjusted throughout the drawing. The building of a drawing is about comparing the relationships of points. Meeds explained the process like a satellite. GPS systems use multiple satellites to pin-point a location of an object. It is the same process here. Measuring distances and angels to find the next point. He encouraged his students to continue a line from one side of the page to the other. 


Abstractions, a collection of selected drawings and paintings, by Lacey Stinson, will be on exhibit at Gallery 203 in Ruston, Louisiana from September 9- October 28, 2016. 

Though touted as abstractions, these drawings and paintings--closely related to his Small Worlds body of work--read as dream-like realities that are theoretically possible within the context of the artist's natural laws pertaining to paint and its form, line, shade, and rhythm.

Instead of approaching a subject such as a tree or a human form from just one point of view, each subject is approached from a few different perspectives. Building layer upon layer, a consistently handled overall character emerges, while clarity of subject fades. The pieces skillfully transition from the use of delicate, playful lines that define the faint, high swaying branches in tall pines, to aggressively manipulated ink and charcoal that builds formidable, yet reductive relationships between the primary characters in a work with the less obvious network of supporting marks and rubbings. Those parts that first catch one's eye are made important by the chorus of elegantly dancing secondary marks that grow like underbrush in and around the highlighted elements.

Opening reception will be held on Sept. 9, from 6-9pm at Gallery 203, 203 West Alabama Ave Ste. 2, Ruston, La. Also, on display will be Victoria and Mashall Smith's featured art wall in the front of The Frame of Mind. Inside Studio 203 we will host several artisans including, Doreen Kordal, Bonnie Ferguson, Lora Lee and Pint Sized Printers. From 7-8 PM Carlos Tenorio will be playing live guitar. This event is free and open to the public.

Featured Musician: Carlos Tenorio

A first at the Frame of Mind, but something we hope to continue is to host a musician to play live during our openings. We'd love to introduce Carlos to you, we first found him at the downtown Monroe art crawl. Carlos is a multifaceted and multi-instrumentalist self-taught musician. Born and raised in Venezuela, his composition style range from genres such as heavy and progressive metal to music for classical guitar and string ensemble.

Curiosity and a constant search for improvement, led him to start learning classical guitar by himself guided by his father.  Despite the fact that he never studied music formally, Carlos has composed music for electric guitar, classical guitar and string ensemble. 

Among his most significant musical career achievements, the following are worthy of being mentioned: In 2008, Ensamble Strauss (Venezuela) recorded an arrangement for string ensemble of his classical guitar work, Cronos.  In 2012, Carlos saw released in Mexico another of his compositions for classical guitar "Joropeando" by maestro José Suárez.  Additionally, between 2013 and 2015, three of his compositions for guitar “En Mis Sueños”, “Joropeando” and “Namarië” were played in the Goddard College Community Radio 91.1 FM  Plainfield, VT. In 2014 he finally release his first album titled Cronos.

Besides the Monroe crawl, he has played recently for KEDM's Annual Lunch and Louisiana Tech's Performing Arts Summer Series. Check this out for a sample of his work.

Featured Artist: Victoria Smith

Victoria is the other half to Mashall, an artist, teacher and overall wonderful maker! Her work is whimsical, hilarious and very colorful. Liz asked a few questions, her way of answering can be useful to all, as they are more bullet points, than anything else, in true teacher style! 

LZ: What does being creative mean to you? 

LZ: Do you have any patterns or rituals you use to get making? 

LZ: Describe a time you failed and may have learned from.

LZ: Share what you're most proud of as a creative person. 

Victoria LOVES her rabbit, Henry Nibbs Smith. He is adorable and often found on her instagram feed. To find more out about her love of creating, story telling and all things Victoria, go to her website.

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

Featured Artist: Mashall Smith

Today we interviewed Mashall Smith, of Pint Sized Printers. Mashall (sounds like Michelle) is a junior Graphic Design major at Louisiana Tech and does her own screen printing. Both her sister and her will be on our featured wall for the month of September. We cannot wait to show you their beautiful creative wall!

Her own brand of shirts are always hand printed by Mashall. 

Her own brand of shirts are always hand printed by Mashall. 

LZ: What does being "creative" mean to you? 

MS:Being creative to me means trying new things even if I may not know quite what the out come may be. Let it be trying a new medium and not knowing what creation will come from it or even trying out new, weird idea that others may think are unorthodox! Being creative is taking a chance on your imagination and knowing that whatever you end up with came from somewhere deep down in your soul!

LZ: Do you have any patterns or rituals you use to get making? 

MS: Depending on what I want my work to say, I usually doodle down some objects or words that come to mind when I think of my topic. Then I usually go back and ink some of my ideas that I like with some of my favorite pens. After inking, I then go back and scan in my drawings and edit them in illustrator. I mainly like to work digitally because I can change anything I don't like or ever try out different colors before screen printing them!

LZ: Describe a project that failed that you learned from. 

MS: My freshmen year I was taking a design class and we were learning about making art with another material, cardboard. The assignment was to make a costume with nothing but cardboard and it had to be a whimsical costume as well. So I of course love to do things on a grand scale and decided to make a larger than life size Polaroid monster camera! I was very excited about it but was very confused on how to construct it. So at first i just started piecing the thing together which took an incredibly long time! And I was trying all these different things to figure out how to make if fun and detailed but still couldn't think of an easier way to do it. It was not working and I became frustrated with the project and almost decided to do something entirely different. But I had worked so hard in creating this life size camera I didn't want to throw it away! Then it dawned on me to just create each side like a cube and then glue the sides together...It took me along time to figure out the construction of it and what was the simplest way to do it! I would say that this project really taught me to take a step back and think of the simplest way possible to saving problems, not the most complicated!

LZ: Oh you've gotta check out the video of this monster Polaroid! It's at the bottom of the page. I don't think you failed at all. Share what you're most proud of as a creative person. 

MS: I'm most proud of creating things that reflect who I am as an artist, not what others want to see on the wall but what I want to see! I mainly create weird things that make people uncomfortable so I hear that "Eww thats weird!" Or " Oh, that's interesting." But I find that as a compliment because if i'm not creating things that spark no emotion i'm not creating art at all. I love all the weird things that I produce. It really is a direct reflection of the person I am inside. And i'm okay with being weird on the inside as long as i'm a good person on the outside! So I would say i'm most proud of being a weird artist!

We definitely think weird is good here at Gallery 203, and are so excited to have you as one of our featured artists!  

Meet Our Team

It's almost September 2016, many exciting changes are happening in our business. It is our pleasure to introduce our team to you. 

The very first member we are proud to introduce is Liz Zanca. Liz joined the team in April 2016. She began working with us as an assistant and has since transitioned into role of lead frame consultant and gallery director. We asked Liz some questions about work and life. 

Q: How did you get started with The Frame of Mind? 

Well, I met Kit and Robert through my interview process. My husband had been in the shop before and I knew very little about it, except that it had a gallery. April was a strangely quick moment of transition for me. We started renting from Gilbert Realty (Kit's old company), and then I began working here. I jumped in and just learned everything I could: our web presence, sales, marketing, gallery practices. By July I figured out how to join the Chamber of Commerce and start getting involved with the city's downtown events and I got involved at NCLAC. 

Q: Great, What are you looking forward to doing in the future in capacity to the frame company and gallery? 

We have some shows coming up, and I'm excited to say I will begin managing Kit's other gallery, Studio 301 and helping her out with those aspects. But at The Frame of Mind, I'm working on introducing systems that will help us in sales, a rewards program and continued marketing with the shop. Without being too technical, I'm excited to be a part of Ruston's downtown district where we can grow not just our business, but the entire downtown. Our presence as an art gallery is really important to the art community here. One goal I have is getting a hold of our college age crowd, who usually don't roam downtown very often. I know the city is interested in bringing them downtown more with events such as Dog Days of Summer, and I'd like to continue that effort with our artist receptions. I think that comes from being just out of college myself. 

Q: What's the most difficult part of the job?

Probably the part I struggle the most with myself and other artists is procrastination. It seems to be a common trait among artists, and my bosses can't stand procrastination. So far, I'd say I'm not as some, however, it's a struggle. Or maybe just learning to prioritize what gets done one day versus another takes some time to learn. Artists can be the worst at waiting until the last moment to do a task. 

Q: What's the most rewarding part of the job? 

I love talking art with people. I love talking to people most days, but it's even better if I get to talk about art. Getting to know artists is a great benefit. I enjoy asking customers about their prized possessions they want framed. Each day it's knowing someone has something beautiful to hang on their wall or put on their desk. That makes my day to see a customer so happy. 

Q: Tell us something about your personal life.

I'm married to Chris Zanca, he's a math teacher, but his degree is in Physics. We both really enjoy those small moments where we get to tell each other about our day, he usually makes me laugh. We want a dog, but don't have one yet because we're renting. At home I have a huge studio, well huge for me. It's a sun room off the back of the house. I paint in the mornings and evenings I'm off. (I also work weekends and some evenings at Painting with a Twist in Monroe.) I'm also trying to read some books about gallery work and marketing. So I think I keep myself pretty busy with all that. But that's about it about me, thanks for having me. 

Thanks, Liz. We'll talk to owners Robert and Kit next time. 




Highlights from Fishing For Angels

Here are some beautiful images from our show with Sarah Albritton, as well as some extra moments we would like to share with you. 

Ms. Sarah Albritton, in her younger days. 

Ms. Sarah Albritton, in her younger days. 

A memory she painted about, getting booted out of church.

A memory she painted about, getting booted out of church.

Gallery guests chat and laugh with owner Kit Gilbert and Sarah. 

Gallery guests chat and laugh with owner Kit Gilbert and Sarah. 

Gallery director, Liz Zanca, smiles, beaming with pride for all that Ms. Sarah has accomplished.

Gallery director, Liz Zanca, smiles, beaming with pride for all that Ms. Sarah has accomplished.

Liz, Sarah, Peter Jones, and Susan Roach smile for the camera. 

Liz, Sarah, Peter Jones, and Susan Roach smile for the camera. 

Artist Lacey Stinson, talks to one of his heroes, Ms. Sarah Albritton.

Artist Lacey Stinson, talks to one of his heroes, Ms. Sarah Albritton.

Sarah, Carole Tabor and Kit look at Sarah's book of stories published about her. 

Sarah, Carole Tabor and Kit look at Sarah's book of stories published about her. 

Mayor Ronny Walker and owner Kit Gilbert smile in front of Sarah's Civic Center painting.

Mayor Ronny Walker and owner Kit Gilbert smile in front of Sarah's Civic Center painting.

We would like to give a strong thank you to all who supported and came to our events for Ms. Sarah Albritton. She is a gem of a woman who this town should never forget. A special thanks goes to Marguerite Hogue, Peter Jones and Susan Roach for their extra efforts in putting on such a historical and important exhibition. 

If you are interested in seeing Sarah's work, please contact Liz at the Frame of Mind, every day from 10-5 pm CST. 

Closet Makeover

We can't contain our excitement for this closet make-over here at the Frame of Mind! It was specifically designed to hold custom orders, gallery works and tools necessary in the gallery. Our master framer Robert realized the dream, making it come to life this weekend. Thanks Robert! 

Here's the BEFORE and AFTER! 

Technically before, it wasn't an empty closet, we had a desk, some book shelves and other random items in our closet. But this is the space empty (minus our filing cabinet in the corner.)

And AFTER!!! We can't wait to use it to fill the orders we get and store the artwork we have on display! 

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