Lavett Ballard, Willingboro Member Since July 2008 Artist Statement Lavett ‘Preachers Wife’ Ballard showed her artistic talents from an early age. Through elementary and high school, she explored this gift with a passion. Winning many state and local art shows by the age of ten embolden Lavett even more. This passion was further sparked by her early exposure to art teachers who encouraged and praised her artistic talent.
Lavett attended and received her formal training at the esteemed Newark, New Jersey High school for the Arts and the Parsons School of Design magnate Art programs. Her Artwork has been exhibited in Museums, galleries, and shows from New York to California. Collectors of her work have included prominent Politicians, Entertainers, Artists, Professionals, and those in various Ministries. On the local scene, her works were exhibited at public libraries, Art Centers, Private offices, and the African American Heritage Museum of South Jersey. Lavett's calling card of colorful images and diverse spectrum of illustrations of her people is a gift from God. She truly believes God directs her artistic vision. Her work is ever evolving from deep and thought provoking to spiritual and sensual. Peers describe her work as "colorful pictures of life."
When did you discover that you had talent as an artist?
I was always a doodler from the time I could hold a crayon, but my Maternal Grandfather and Aunt was the real Artist in the family. I was amazed at how well he could draw a horse’s head and make it look so realistic. I was about eight when I copied his sketch freehand and drew the entire horse just from memory. My grandfather was so impressed he asked me to sign my name to the sketch. Because he said “All great Artist’s sign their name to their work.” He took the picture and put it in his memento box in his room. I was so proud at that moment.
Why do you paint?
It started as a I can do that moment. But now I paint because I have memories and images that come to me from somewhere deep within, that I feel should be shared.
What subject matter are you most passionate and why?
I love to paint women! I love the curves of our bodies, the way we dress, the way we can speak volumes with just a tilt of our heads or a smirk of our mouths. How you don’t have to even see full facial expression and flip of our wrist can say come here baby or back off!
Who has influenced you the most in your life, both personally and artistically?
My favorite Artist is Annie Lee her work is so full of life and my style evolved from a combination of her work Synthia St. James ‘s Colors and the Attitude of Frank Morrison’s style. All Three African American Artist are all personal inspirations and Associates that have personally given me volumes of advice and encouragement.
What is the most difficult part of painting, and do you utilize other media? Painting itself isn’t difficult.
I tell my kids ‘There is no messing up with paint you can always correct most errors, Those you can’t are just a White wash away to start over new!’ Recently I felt inspired by the new Quilt artists I’ve encountered and have started using cloth, fabric paint, ribbon, and beading elements to my works to add a two dimensional elements to my work. I find it brings cohesiveness to my work that has been missing in my older works. I now find myself going to older work and adding these small elements to make them into my signature style.
Your peers describe your work as "colorful pictures of life". How do you describe it?
They are my Soul Visions. Images and memories sent to me. I could never classify my work as figurative, Narrative or Contemporary. It is truly evolving.