During this quarantine, I’ve discovered a new Houston pop-artists that made work for Texas-born star Lizzo and found old classic and new music to keep my spirits high and hopeful. In this second series of How To Culture Yourself At Home, I have tied the fine art and music industry together to inspire you to learn how to externalize your thoughts or at home experiences through art. I’ve been painting acrylic stationary to send to friends and am not putting pressure on myself to make something the best it can be. It’s all about learning how to sit with something which you can end up editing and changing and just to bring some color to life, right? First, I have interviewed Reagan Corbett, the founder and lead artist of The ReagART Collection, to find out about her latest work and how to get started with your own piece with supplies at home. Give her a follow on Instagram @reag_art !
Chekmark Eats: First of all, I love your donut piece you made for Lizzo! What medium did you use for that and how did it come about?
Reagan Corbett: Thank you! Low-key makes me hungry every time I look at it. The painting itself was created on a 48″ x 48″ canvas, and I used acrylic paint to make a solid blush colored background. After that, oil paint was used for everything else. Within my larger body of work I have found a fascination with depicting various objects, isolating them from their “natural habitat” and recreating a new environment for them to live, on a large scale surrounded by bright bold colors.The Shipley’s Do-Nut painting is another work in my collection that addresses the ideas of perfection that we are constantly fed through consumer advertisements. Nothing I ever paint or create is done simply “because.” My paintings always represent some sort of social commentary whether the viewer is able to recognize that or not.
CE: What was the process for the Lizzo painting?
RC: Lizzo is a fellow Houstonian, and was in town for a performance in the fall of 2019, she posted a video of herself dancing in front of the iconic Houston, Shipley Do-Nuts chain that inevitably went viral. After I started the painting I realized that the PERFECT collector for this work was Lizzo herself. I told my team, and we started reaching out to anyone and everyone we could. Eventually we got a confirmation that she wanted the painting and that’s when things started to fall into place. The original plan was for her to receive the painting when in town for her performance at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo [March 2020], but because of COVID-19, the rodeo was cancelled. We shifted gears, and got the painting to her team before they flew out. While I ended up not getting to meet Queen Lizzo herself, her assistant followed up with me expressing gratitude for the painting, and letting me know that they picked up Shipley’s to accompany themselves and the painting on their flight back home. Yay!
CE: How can those of us at home experiment and make some art pieces right now while we have time? Do you have suggestions on how to get started? What are your recommended supplies?
RC: In the weirdest way possible, I think this is the optimal time for anyone to create and embrace their inner artist. For once our society has collectively been put on pause, allowing each individual to reconnect with themselves, nature and their very own living space. Interesting objects, shadows, or elements of your daily routine can all be translated into art. For anyone just getting started, I would practice drawing. In my mind, drawing is the fundamental tool that will allow you to understand and create anything you want to. Supplies to draw: blank pieces of paper (you can use printer paper or a legal pad), pens, pencils, a ruler for sharp lines, and maybe a sharpie if you’re confident enough to work with an unforgiving medium.
CE: What if we just have acrylic and oil paints at home?
RC: If you have any acrylic and oil paint laying around the house, I would go ahead and qualify you as a creative person who has the ability to make anything you set your mind to. If you’re looking for a 1 day project, I would stick with using acrylic paint because it dries in a matter of minutes or hours depending on the thickness of your paint application. On the other hand, oil takes about two weeks to be completely dry.
CE: How can we create mixed media pieces with stuff around the house that would be fun to add in?
RC: If you’re wanting to REALLY go all out and incorporate the elements of drawing, painting and collage mixed media into one project, I would do a pen or ink (ink being sharpie in this situation) drawing, use the acrylic paint to fill in some areas of your drawing with color, then use any clippings from a magazine or newspaper to elevate your creation into being “mixed media.” The biggest take-away is that anything goes. You’re not being graded, you’re not being judged, and if you hate it– throw it in the trash and start over. Right now, we have nothing but time, so use this opportunity to be experimental and find what resonates with you. Artists are some of the most resourceful people who always find a way to turn something out of nothing, so truly don’t be afraid to try something crazy and out of the ordinary!
CE: What are your at home artist tips to help enrich our lives right now?
RC: I find that people have the most success when they focus on the things they personally love. Maybe you love coffee and that’s something you have everyday– each morning draw your mug of coffee, eventually your creative brain will take you drawing other things that surround that morning cup of joe! Try drawing the individual coffee beans, your grinder, your machine (Keurig, Nespresso, old school pot??) the milk carton, the spoon you use to stir, your different mugs, and wah-lah now you already have almost a weeks worth of cohesive elements to start your next project.
My second interview are with the musicians behind Blackillac Music. I saw them perform at Nine Banded Whiskey’s launch party at Central Machine Works right after SXSW got cancelled and their quick, adept, and contagious mood had me hooked on their clever lyrics and energetic performance.
Chekmark Eats: I love your jams and sense of humor, how are you using this time to find comfort through music and what is one of your favorite lyrics you’ve come up with during quarantine?
Blackillac Music: We find comfort though our music in times like this by staying productive and creative. We know how crazy this moment is. At the same time it makes us appreciate our journey more. A recent lyric that stands out to me makes light of one of the setbacks we’ve had. “I heard your boy was hot but they postponed him like Coachella.”
CE: How can those of us at home experiment with music or writing lyrics when we never have? What are some tips for first timers who love music and want to try to pursue it for entertainment right now?
BM: For anyone looking to dive into music at this moment, I would say start by writing. Put down your thoughts and your current vibe. You can develop your musician skills over time and reach back to the ideas you’re writing down now to make something dope from a unique moment in time.
CE: What are you doing to keep busy and who or what has inspired you?
BM: We stay busy by creating music, content, and planning our next moves. When the recent events are over we know we want to give people music to motivate their hustle.
CE: What do you want people to know about Blackillac?
BM: What we want people to know about Blackillac is we’re here and we aren’t letting any crisis, natural disaster, or challenge hold us back from what’s coming. Your southern cousins stay with a pot stirring.