Monteque Pope Le Beau
Tracie Thornton is an artist who chose to leave the rat race to follow her own path. A path to give recycled and used items a well deserves second chance. So begins their new life as Jewelry, books, Prints and Art. Much in the way of artist David Random give life to the unwanted to create his Rocket Ships, so too does Tracie Thornton to create art out of nothing. A gifted artist and environmentalists who is filled with wisdom far beyond her years; is debuting The Storyteller Collection which explores the stories that we tell others and the stories we tell ourselves. It will be showing at Violet Ray Vintage in Neptune Beach, Florida on, August 21, 2014 doing the North Beaches Art Walk. We had a chance to speak with the young up and coming artist who is making recycling hip again before the show.
Thank you for sharing some of your time with us.
Tracie Thornton: Hey…It’s my pleasure. I think this is cool.
Thank You, You are a very unique artist who does not fit the mold, we would like to know in what way did the time you grow up in influenced to become an artist you?
TT: It didn’t really. I’ve always been an artist. As far back as I can remember. I’ve never wanted to be anything else. When I was around five or so I loved getting and sending letters (still do!) and I would ask my mom for paper and envelopes. Not only would I draw on my paper, but my envelopes as well. They were usually to my family. I still have some of those first drawings.
Really….. Well what inspired you to follow this path?
TT: My spirit primarily and the people I was surrounded by. My brother draws. My mom is talented in many areas artistically and my dad used to play an instrument.
We have often heard how the early years are the most important in the development of an artist, what was the early years as an emerging artist like and what was your “Aha Moment” that made you realize you had made the right decision?
TT: I’m still emerging as an artist and as a person! Hopefully that won’t end. With every challenge that comes my way I am evolving and growing as well. I didn’t have an “a ha” moment so to speak. Art chose me. I don’t feel as if I had much say in the matter.
Your are very passionate environmentalists; as such what are your thoughts on the environment?
TT: I have several:
•The more conflicted we are as beings the worse we treat our environment.
•We don’t think about the long-term effects of how daily everyday activities can effect the environment positively and negatively.
•Every person can make a difference. Whether it is about making things better or preventing them from getting worse.
What caused you to become an environmental artist?
TT: I think of myself more as an artist who considers her impact on the environment and community surrounding her. I don’t think anything in particular was the catalyst other than realizing the value of items that others were throwing away. With the way I work, I’ve automatically became an environmentalist. It is a natural biproduct considering that I love to use vintage and antique items because of the stories these items have to tell.
What is the driving force behind your work and what is you process?
TT: The driving force behind my work is human relationships and the way in which we interact.My ideas for projects usually come from stories; my desire to tell one story or many stories. So my process involves determining what story I want to tell and the best way to tell it. Then I create.
What is the artistic meaning and statement of your work and what do you want your work to stand for?
TT: It changes with each project. But would it be ok if from my perspective some of my pieces didn’t ‘mean’ anything? It was simply the act of creating that was most important to me. By the way does artwork always have to purposely ‘stand’ for something? I want others to find their own meanings in my work. I’m not necessarily interested in telling others what I believe they should see.
One can definitely say todays world is a difficult one to be an artist. What have been the obstacles you have had to overcome with the your art?
TT: The biggest obstacle I would have to say have been myself and the way Americans think about the arts. The way we think of art and the decision to become an artist here in the US can be discouraging. “You are going to be a starving artist” is something I’ve heard more than once. When I was in school no one said to me that art, in any form, could be lucrative, profitable, and satisfying.
What has been the hardest thing you had to do pertaining to your art?
TT: Sell it and understand its value even when and if others don’t.
What project are you woking on now?
TT: The Storyteller show that I have coming up.
Can you explain what it is and what drew you to it?
TT: I was moved to create this work because of my desire to understand humans better.
What was the inspiration for this project?
With the difficulties artist have getting their work shown what are the steps you have taken to bring your project to life?
TT: Just working on it as much as I can. Walking the path toward completing it.
Who are the collaborators you are working with on this project and how did you come to work with them?
TT: Violet Ray which is a local boutique. The store was recommended to me by someone who knows my love of antique and vintage items. I was invited to set up in front of the store for an Art Walk and the owner felt that my work and her shop complimented each other.
What does this project mean to you?
TT: It means what my work always means to me: a chance to share and connect with others.
How is this project different from other projects you’ve created or worked on?
TT: It’s another step forward on my artistic journey.
Is there a link so people can find out more about the project and help?
TT: Yes, www.theurbanatelier.com is my website. This is where others can find out more about my work in general.
Do you have any future projects if so what are they about?
TT: I’m interested in doing more collaborations with other artists. I’m also interested in starting a non.profit that merges my love for travel and other cultures with art.
Is there an on going theme or premise in your work?
TT: The influences of various world cultures as well as human connections.
To be as young and wise as you are, we would like to know where do you see yourself in five, ten, twenty years?
TT: Still making art. That’s the one thing I know won’t change. Everything else is subject to change except my number one love.
Are you doing something besides working in the arts?
TT: I work in the non.profit sector. Right now I work at a children’s hospital with an organization that provides a fine arts experience for hospitalized children and their families.
What advice do you have for up and coming artists?
TT: That’s funny. I’m still up and coming myself. But if I were to say something to those who are following the path of the artist, first I would say persevere. Learn the art of being resilient. Understand the business of being an artist. Talent only gets you so far. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself. The whole idea of being a sellout if you promote yourself as an artist is ridiculous. If you aren’t willing to talk about your work and market yourself who else will?
What does art is life and life is art mean to you?
TT: It means they feed off of each other. One is catalyst for the other and vice versa. One can’t exist without the other. [TAOMR]
For more information on Tracie Thornton go here: