T. Monnette Lartey (Ms. T) is an organic artist with a flair for interpreting nature’s art.The materials often used in her art designs are found objects originated by the Creator. Acorns, straw, fruit, vegetables, wood, sawdust, flowers – fresh or dried, and bones are only a few of the items often artistically arranged in her works.
A native of St. Louis Missouri, a “Statesman” from Webster Groves High School, Ms. T attended the Kansas City Art Institute and holds a Bachelor degree in Fine Art from Avila University and an Associate degree in Commercial Art from Pen Valley Community College, both in Kansas City, Missouri.
She has displayed her work in a variety of fairs, festivals and private showings. She is currently at work as the illustrator of a motivational children’s book.
T. Monnette Lartey is the mother of three sons: Tarik, Siddik and Rashad Lartey. She is also the proud grandmother of two grandsons, Lucas C. Andering and Taheem-Wasra Lartey.
TAN: How old are you? Continue reading
I recently had the chance to view some amazing pieces of art. Bound to the walls of an old Screen Printing Shop, these pieces were yearning to be shown to someone, or at least something, other than one another. Demanding my attention, they spoke words like “I am Magnificent”, “I am Majestic”, “Release Me from these confines for I deserve to be broadcast and revered by art enthusiast everywhere”. Within seconds, my phone and I were sharing these one of a kind creations with the rest of the world. Instagramming, Facebooking and Tweeting we were.
To make a Long story short, the artist, Steve Sims, is good friends with the owner of the shop. With a little a bribery and blackmail, I was granted an interview. One thing to remember though, and that the pictures posted do not affirm is that these works are three dimensional. From a front on view, they seem as if they are only paintings when in reality, they are sculptures.
Steve Sims is a tall, broad shouldered Man. I’d say he is around 55, give or take a few years. Golden framed eyeglasses covered his calm, casual eyes, while a slightly beaten truckers cap, maybe by design, brimmed over his grayish black, head of hair. He sported a blue and white striped crew neck t shirt, blue jeans and a pair of Reebok athletic cross trainers. Chewing on a toothpick, he asked “you ready”. “I’m ready” I answered and our interview began.
T.S: How old are you?
T.S: A. Where are you from? B. How long have you been in St. Louis?
S.S: A. Little Rock Arkansas B. 40 something years
T.S: What do you do for a living?
S.S: I am a mailroom supervisor.
T.S: Do you have any formal art training, schooling, degrees or the like?
S.S: No, not really, just life experience and uhm, things like that.
T.S: How long have you been a professional artist and when did you first realize you had a passion for art?
S.S: Oh, I’ve been doing art professionally since I was about twenty years old and my passion for art came around about when I was six.
T.S:What inspired you to work with wood, what type of things inspire you in general?
S.S: Uh, what inspired me to do that type of art, the one that you’re talking about, is I saw a guy using the saw that I use to create these things with, and I said, what he’s doing , well, I can create something, uh, some kind of piece of artwork. So, that’s what I went about doing, trying to figure out how to go about doing it. So, it took several turns to figure it out and I did. And uh, the the other question was what?
T.S: Are there any artists or elements in particular that you look to for inspiration in general?
S.S: Uuuuuuuuhhhhhhm, that’s a good question. Uh, I’ve payed attention to a number of artists over the years I’ve been doing this, and uhm (sigh) which ones in particular? I really couldn’t say right now. It’s been numerous artist that I’ve uhm, that have inspired me.
T.S: How long does it take to finish one of your wooden sculptures?
S.S: Depending on the size of it, it takes about a month or a month and a half to complete one.
T.S: Where do you get the wood?
S.S: Home Depot or Lowes.
T.S: And you cut and paint them correct?
S.S: RIght. Size em up, cut em up, paint em up.
T.S: Do you work with any medium other than wood?
S.S: I work in all kinds of mediums. Acrylic, pastels, pen and ink, you name it, I’ve done it.
T.S: So basically, whatever you feel like working with, you work with?
S.S: Whatever I feel like working in, yeah.
T.S: Is there anything in particular that you want the viewer to take from you work? Or is it more a take what you will type of thing?
S.S: Uuuuhhha, It’s kind of a take as you will thing because it takes a lot of, uh, know how to create the things that i do, and it takes a lot of, uhm, I guess, inspiration on the part of the individual that’s looking at it. Say well, hey, this is three, and you have to pay a…, well, what you probably; if you were to stand back and take a look at some of them, you’d think it was just a flat painting, but actually, it’s a sculpture so, it takes a lot of knowledge to say well, this is something different, and that’s what i aspire to do, something different. Something that no one has really, uh, ever noted before.
T.S: Do you have a website or blog that people can view the rest of your work on or connect with you through?
S.S: No, I’m not into technology, it’s just not my thing
I thanked Mr. Sims for his time and patience, and began to give him this blog address so he can read the article. He again tells me that he’s not into technology and refuses to accept the address. Again, I thank him and tell him that I will give him an old fashioned hard copy of the article and a face to face update of its responses the next time I see him. He laughs, and thanks me for my interest in his work, says his goodbyes and exits the room. What do you think of Steve’s work? What type of unconventional mediums do you work with? What inspires you to create? Share your thoughts with us and maybe we’ll want to write about you.