Where are you from?
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I was born in Indianapolis, IN and moved to Richmond (Chesterfield), VA in 1998; I was 9 years old. I tend to claim Richmond because I’ve spent more time here. Not to be mistaken, 97% of my family is in Indy so I’ll never not claim it.

“#7; 2016” (16×20”) This piece came about in September 2016, and was completed in October 2016 amid NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s protest against racial injustice and police brutality. Now, one of the most polarizing figures in the country, it is important to acknowledge and applaud his efforts.”
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Art and politics are intrinsically linked. By your choice of portraits i can see a pattern. why do you choose the people you portray?
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I kind of alluded to this above. There’s a quote, and I couldn’t find it to copy it verbatim, but I think some of the most important art, visual and otherwise, and my art most definitely, is influenced by the times that we’re living in and the things happening to and around us. The people I choose are people who I think are positive and influential. Sometimes they can be polarizing figures, but I think that’s important. Now and forever, there are going to be conversations that need to be had and faces that need to be seen in order for our society, and more importantly to me, our community, to continuing moving forward in a positive manner.

“Twelve Nine” (16×20”) This piece was created as a tribute to music artist J. Cole’s fourth studio album and second album released on the day December 9th (2014 Forest Hills Drive [2014] & 4 Your Eyez Only [2016]). Music is such an important part of our culture and the faces of the artist are so easily identifiable that it’s necessary to keep those who are speaking transparently in the forefront.  The half profile drawing is a style that was tested to judge whether the image would still be effective or not. A lot of the time we think we need to see something in its entirety to understand it, and this style proves otherwise.”
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Your work features a lot of faces? Is this on purpose? What do faces tell us?
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 I’ve always been a realistic artist. Not always faces, but always recreating a scene or a picture. I really got into drawing portraits in high school. We had to do self-portraits and I guess I realized that was kind of my lane. Now, the purpose of the faces/portraits has definitely evolved as I have evolved as a person. The faces tell you that I’m very intentional in what I’m doing, representing, and creating. In the past year and a half, there have been very few “I just wanted to draw him or her” drawings.

“LTEN: Body Issue Cover” (18×24”) Along with social movements, self-image is an issue that portrays well through visual art.  The LTEN: Body Issue is a series that was created to highlight different insecurities that are sometimes present in women. This image was chosen as the cover of the first issue highlighting a woman with a curvy figure, in hopes of instilling confidence in the women who see this image and identify with her.”
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How do you make your art? nuts and bolts. What’s the process like?
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My process, to me, is a simple and straightforward one. I stumbled upon black canvas about 3 years ago and originally was going to paint. One day I decided to play with color pencils instead and ended up drawing a picture of Bob Marley. I fell in love with the process. When I started I was using about 5 or 6 colors, now it’s just two: white colored pencil, tan colored pencil for low lights. I also use charcoal sticks for emphasis. I lay down the sketch with light pencil and charcoal, and work my way through the piece a section at a time.

“Old School” ’72 (9×12”) This piece is a 1972 Chevrolet Impala grille. The first Friday of every month there is an art walk in downtown Richmond. For the past two summers, I have street vended at the event and noticed that most people keep a distance from art because they are afraid of the potential price. I started my “First Five” collections keeping smaller pieces at affordable prices (no more than $30) in an effort to be more inviting and inclusive to old and new collectors.
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How did you get into art? Have you always been passionate about it?
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Art was definitely my first passion. I can remember being in kindergarten in Indianapolis and sitting in art class drawing dragons. I think I was having a draw-off with one of my classmates, haha. My grandfather was a talented artist so I picked it up from him. It’s always been a part of me. I played basketball and coached for a while so art was kind of on the backburner for about 10 years, but I redirected my focus the past two years and have been giving art some much needed and overdue attention.
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Contact:

Email: letterten.art@gmail.com

Website: www.lettertenart.com

IG: @jane.xx

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