Nashville Arts Magazine and Customs House Museum present pu-ri-na kaleidoscope by luciana ja’vonne
Customs House Museum • July 1 – August 2
by Stephanie Stewart-Howard
Cleveland, Tennessee, artist luciana ja’vonne’s paintings are a rich, vibrant panoply of primary color—striking the eye from the moment one encounters them. Vivid and full of life, it’s impossible to tell by looking that this self-taught artist has been working with paint as her medium for only a few years. You’ll get a chance to judge for yourself at her forthcoming show pu-ri-na kaleidoscope at the Customs House Museum in Clarksville, the next exhibit in the yearlong series curated by Nashville Arts Magazine.
“I’ve been in the arts for most of my life, starting with the theatre,” says ja’vonne. “I’d always loved creating and making art, but when it came time to declare a college major, I wasn’t aware of as many artistic opportunities as I might have been, and I stuck with my first passion, which was theatre.”
That passion took her from Spellman College in Atlanta for her bachelor’s to New York and a master’s program at the New School. From New York, like many theatrical gypsies, she eventually made a move to California, and several years ago she moved to Cincinnati to be close to her family. When her mother made a move to Cleveland, Tennessee, near Chattanooga, luciana followed.
When she began painting, she knew she’d have to explore exhibition opportunities in Chattanooga and Nashville to gain a wider audience. With this show at the Customs House, that journey has now begun.
The impetus to paint lies deep within, she says. “When I decided to start making this kind of art, I literally just went out and bought paint, bought acrylics and canvas and said, I’m going to do this, and did.”
Asked about her use of color, she replies, “You know, I really go with my instincts, with what my gut tells me to do. When I first began, I started with primary colors of acrylic, knowing you could make everything from them, and it all developed from there. Instinct inspires me too, although I think I’m inspired by everything in life, by everyday things.”
Even so, she mentions the Dadaist movement as an early influence, along with artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and the Modernists of the 40s and 50s.