We recently connected with Leondre Lattimore and have shared our conversation below.
Leondre, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. What’s one of the most important lessons you learned in school?
While studying art in undergrad, I remember going through a phase of rediscovering myself as an artist. When you’re in an art program, it can be very rigorous and fast paced at times. At this time, I’m also simultaneously learning how to integrate into the professional art world as a person who was self taught up to this point. Over time, I began to over criticize my art, primarily because I started to measure its worth based on its popularity and public reception. Viewing my work this way led to me losing so much confidence that I told myself I would stop doing art completely after I graduated. It took months self-reflection for me to rediscover the initial purpose of why I started creating in the first place. My goal has always been to share my experiences and culture, more importantly, I create for my own peace and satisfaction. The lesson I learned was the importance of creating art for myself and my passion. Additionally, I had to unlearn the competitive nature that fueled me through art school. It’s so much easier to enjoy the work of others when you aren’t constantly questioning your own worth.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I am a painter and digital artist based in Oklahoma City, OK. Although I have created works in multiple forms, I consider myself a contemporary artist. The majority of my inspiration has come from my own experiences pertaining to race, class, and culture. I enjoy exploring aspects of masculinity and femininity and portraying it through color and movement. Above all else, I aim to be unapologetically black and authentic. I am most proud of my ability to create without any expectations. Although my work is intentional in detail, much of it is still spontaneous in nature. I really enjoy being able to anticipate how my work will look by the end of the process, because at times even I don’t know.
Any stories or insights that might help us understand how you’ve built such a strong reputation?
I think the thing that’s been most beneficial for me is visibility and consistency. Although I still have a long way to go in terms of my personal goals, I’ve made it this far by simply putting myself out there. I’ve learned that exposure is valuable, so allowing people to experience my art whenever possible is important to me. I’ve made so many connections in spaces that I would’ve never expected to. Although there may be a crowd of people your work aligns with most, you never really know who may be a fan of your art. That’s the beauty of it.
Any fun sales or marketing stories?
One of my favorite sales is my portrait of Clara Luper that was commissioned by the Student Government Association at Oklahoma City University. I am actually an alumnus of the school, and the only reason I was able to attend was because of a scholarship named after Clara Luper. She was an educator, activist, and community leader primarily involved in the area of OKC that I grew up in. After receiving the scholarship I told myself that I would do everything I could to honor her name and to make sure that I could extend her legacy in any way possible. So receiving the commission to do the portrait after I graduated was a huge deal for me, and what better way to honor her than with my own talents? Clara Luper will always hold a special place in my heart, not only because of the doors she opened for me, but because she embodies much of my personal values as well.
- Website: leondrelattimore.com
- Instagram: leondredeshon