2018 E.A.S.T ARTIST HIGHLIGHT | Chery Henderson
We're exploring the world of the dozens of local artists featured at MMAC’s 2018 EAST gallery and their mediums. The goal of this series is to shed light on real-life Central Texas artists exploring what & why they create.
Tell us about yourself and how you came to find that you wanted to be an artist?
I am a native Texan who enjoys travelling and exploring new cities. I’ve been inspired living in Austin, surrounded by such a diverse, creative, and original community of artists. I am a member of the Creative Arts Society and Neoteric Art Austin art groups.
Some of my interests, which have developed into art projects, include women’s issues, pets, and what it means to find balance in life. Personally, I find the creative process allows for growth and is an expression that provides the power to heal and transcend obstacles. I was attracted to making art to process feelings of personal loss, come to terms with social issues, and to experiment with diverse ideas. I think art provides a way for us to connect with each other. But above all, I’m an art lover, of all genres. So, it felt natural for me to want to tap into my inner artist.
Your work seems to have a story behind each piece. Tell us a story one of your favorite anecdotes about a piece you've created.
Last year, I was painting a series about women and their pets, which surprised me by being a deeper subject than I anticipated. Some of the stories were bittersweet as the pets had passed away after the paintings were completed. Through the experience, I discovered the untold stories behind each of the relationships between the women and their furry friends. It has been said that pets are family, and that I know to be true. Unconditional love is a powerful subject.
A couple of my favorite stories: (it's like Lay's potato chips...you can't have just one)
The first story has to do with a friend who sent me two photos, one of her holding her cat and another with the cat on her lap. I made two paintings based on those photos. I was excited when she came to view the paintings in-person, because she had undergone corneal transplant surgeries in order for her to be able to see; as she had been blind. So, for her to actually see the paintings I made of her and her cats brought us both a sense of joy.
The second story is bittersweet. It's about a friend who was so happy to see the paintings of her with her beloved pet, a large Great Dane, who had passed away before the paintings were finished. She was so elated when saw the paintings that she burst into tears. Her happiness touched my heart and a very special bond was made that day.
And for me, this is what art is about – when we can open ourselves to what art is telling us, and how art connects us in our humanity by how it makes us feel, it is a feeling that transcends all else. Someone once said, " Art is the only proof we have of the existence of the soul." I believe that.
This is your second time exhibiting at Motion Media Arts Center. What brought you back?
I came back to MMAC quite simply because of the great people who are at that venue. Carrie Cates and her staff are phenomenal. MMAC has a really cool vibe that I believe helps artists develop and refine their craft and provides a positive sense of culture and community to Austin artists. I got to meet friendly, supportive people who are genuinely interested in artists. I’ve also had an opportunity to meet so many talented artists that helped me grow and develop in my own artistic experience. Besides, you can't get any cooler than being in East Austin, amiright?
ABOUT BIG MEDIUM’S EAST AUSTIN STUDIO TOUR:
Big Medium's East Austin Studio Tour (EAST) is a free, annual, self-guided art event spanning two weekends in November. EAST provides opportunities for the public to meet the artists and artisans of Austin in their creative spaces.