Latta Kussman, Roselle, Illinois Member Since June 2008 Artist Statement Latta Kussman's story is quite interesting and provides an explanation for his artistic efforts.
Latta was born in Springfield, Ohio in March 1942. Widowed in 1948, his mother moved the family to Montgomery, Alabama to be close to relatives.
Latta recalls being left in a 2nd grade cloak room to do art for the entire day, a daily activity, but placed in remedial programs. His teacher mysteriously kept all the artwork and no explanation was offered for this strange practice. Latta was a grown adult before he shared this reason for remedial lessons with his mother.
Montgomery, Alabama in those years lacked art classes in-or-out of school. Latta knew no art supply stores. Latta used the paint around the house, pencil stubs and paper from a willing butcher shop to produce what art he could. From these early beginnings, the love of art was launched.
Latta has a long association with watercolor painting. His overall inspiration and style seems to be related to the artwork of ancient Greece, primarily from the Dorian period, known as "archaic" art style reflecting upon rigdity, melodramatic and expressive within itself. There is also a whimsy quality in some work done in lighter moments.
After high school in 1960, Latta entered the US Air Force. During this interim period, he produced three murals using enamel paint due to weather conditions.
Latta's military service was cut short due to spinal and respiratory illnesses in 1962, a foreshadowing of future dire sicknesses. He recovered slowly, until 1967, he could enter Huntingdon College in Montgomery. In attendance, Latta directed a group of students painting a 75 foot back drop for an outdoor play. This experience sealed his resolve and after conversations with a grateful Art instructor, Latta adopted art as a minor study.
Latta armed with a BS in Math and a minor in Art came to Chicago and went to work in the insurance industry. During this period, Latta accepted commissions for his work.
From 1976 to 1982, Latta took art classes at the College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, Illinois, earning an AA Degree. Henceforth, cruel illenesses interfered with Latta's life. He was involved in two terrible auto accidents in 1983 and in 1994, which were none of his fault. His permanent illenesses placed him on permanent disability in April 19, 1990. His first and second broken necks, coupled with spinal illenesses, several serious operations, nerve damage and fusing of the spine. The degenerative prognosis with chronic pain developed which Latta must live with the remainder of his life. Latta for years has lived in a heavy medicated fog in an increasingly vain attempt to still his chronic pain.
Latta realized in 2005 the quality of his life was not what he wanted it to be. With his strong faith in the Lord God and pure determination, he weaned himself off pain medications. The pain remains but the drugs which masked part of the pain has been stopped.
In October 2005, Latta completed a watercolor painting and has not looked back since that time.