journey

Painting, Drawing

Vignette: Sunny Ra

"Radiate" by Sunny Ra, 32x48in, oil on canvas (2016), $1300 |  BUY NOW

"Radiate" by Sunny Ra, 32x48in, oil on canvas (2016), $1300 | BUY NOW

Artist, Sunny Ra. Photo by Dan Lubbers.

Artist, Sunny Ra. Photo by Dan Lubbers.

In striking abstract compositions, painter Sunny Ra uses the landscape form to investigate questions of identity in both a social and highly personal context.

“The foundation of my work originates from my experience of growing up Korean in Louisville, Kentucky. I did not have any Korean friends and since I spoke little Korean and could not read or write Hangul, I was an outsider in the Korean community. Similarly, I never quite identified myself as American since I was not white, and was living among majority white Americans.  I remember people would ask me where I was from or comment on how well I spoke English. I grew up feeling and eventually believing that I did not belong anywhere - perhaps nowhere. It is from this limbo that my night landscapes emerge and my journey into the obscure and the unknown began.”

"Untitled #3" by Sunny Ra, 9x12in, pastel on paper (2016)

"Untitled #3" by Sunny Ra, 9x12in, pastel on paper (2016)

It is a common, and let’s be honest, lazy assumption to confuse an individual artist’s racial and cultural identity. Ra makes paintings with no overt ties to traditional Korean pictorial forms, and her formative culture was Middle American, so it is fascinating to hear how she connects the luxurious darkness of her imagery with an evolving personal journey. 

“In these night landscapes, I revisit my childhood memories - what has been lost and what remains. Through the application of layers of paint, the images at first recognizable, slowly evolve and merge into the abyss of the dark palette. But through the darkness emerges light and color, a new image surfaces, perhaps this is where I belong.”

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 35
Education: MFA, Hunter College, CUNY, 2011; BFA, University of Pennsylvania, 2005; Painting Certificate, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 2005
Website: http://www.sunny-ra.com

"Harvest" by Sunny Ra, 11x14in, oil on paper (2016), $450 |  BUY NOW

"Harvest" by Sunny Ra, 11x14in, oil on paper (2016), $450 | BUY NOW

"Untitled #2" by Sunny Ra, 9x12in, pastel on paper (2016)

"Untitled #2" by Sunny Ra, 9x12in, pastel on paper (2016)

"Kinetic" by Sunny Ra, 14x11in, oil on paper (2016), $450 |  BUY NOW

"Kinetic" by Sunny Ra, 14x11in, oil on paper (2016), $450 | BUY NOW

"Untitled #1" by Sunny Ra, 9x12in, pastel on paper (2016)

"Untitled #1" by Sunny Ra, 9x12in, pastel on paper (2016)

"Might" by Sunny Ra, 11x14in, oil on paper (2016), $450 |  BUY NOW

"Might" by Sunny Ra, 11x14in, oil on paper (2016), $450 | BUY NOW

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Painting, Photography, Mixed Media, Digital

Vignette: Jacqlynn Hamilton


“Creating art evokes an emotional catharsis, and encourages emotional rejuvenation and transformation.” – Jacqlynn Hamilton


Hamilton in her studio.

Hamilton in her studio.

All art might be described to some degree as therapeutic; if an individual feels compelled to create, how could it not? The creative process always channels energy and reveals the character of the artist. Yet sometimes making art is an acutely self-aware journey of healing for both the artist, and the community that they reach. This is certainly the case for Jacqlynn Hamilton.

“I strive to incorporate the essence of aesthetic splendor visually, while displaying to the viewer what may be seen as slightly psychologically dark personal narrative. I cultivate eternal psychological images within my paintings in hopes to link the viewer to a personal introspection. By incorporating several levels of meaning, I hope can relate to work, yet still take away some notion of intrigue and ambiguity.”

“I also endeavor to include elements of womanhood conveyed in prescribed female gender roles, including being a daughter, sister, wife and mother. Symbols form most of the distinctive layers of psychological meaning. My intention is to try to incorporate symbolic meaning to as many objects within the piece, while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing visual whole; thus, allowing the piece to be appreciated on several different levels.“

"Angel" by Jacqlynn Hamilton, 8.5x11in, digitally manipulated photographic & mixed media (2017) $125 |  BUY NOW

"Angel" by Jacqlynn Hamilton, 8.5x11in, digitally manipulated photographic & mixed media (2017) $125 | BUY NOW

"White Rabbit (3 of 3)" by Jacqlynn Hamilton, 8.5x11in, blind embossing print (2016) $175 |  BUY NOW

"White Rabbit (3 of 3)" by Jacqlynn Hamilton, 8.5x11in, blind embossing print (2016) $175 | BUY NOW

Hamilton has spent several years working on a series titled, The Island of My Own Creation, which together forms a personal narrative depicting the realm of psychological disassociation. “Dissociation is a psychological coping mechanism to help minimize or tolerate conflict and stress in the outside world. The act of daydreaming is a mild form of dissociation, and the phenomena can even lead an individual to altered states of consciousness.”

In 2016, Hamilton was included in two exhibits at Kaviar Forge and Gallery, Kentucky Printmaking and Touched With Fire.

Hometown: Sarasota, Florida
Age: 38
Education: Fine Arts, Ringling College of Art, 2000; Fine Arts, JCTS (Louisville), 2012; Major in Fine Arts, University of Louisville’s Hite Institute
Website: http://jacq2di.wix.com/artist-painter

"Treva" by Jacqlynn Hamilton, 8.5x11in, digitally manipulated photographic image (2017) $125 |  BUY NOW

"Treva" by Jacqlynn Hamilton, 8.5x11in, digitally manipulated photographic image (2017) $125 | BUY NOW

"The White Rabbit" by Jacqlynn Hamilton, 48x48in, acrylic on panel board (2016) $875 |  BUY NOW

"The White Rabbit" by Jacqlynn Hamilton, 48x48in, acrylic on panel board (2016) $875 | BUY NOW

"Treva Blue" by Jacqlynn Hamilton, 8.5x11in, digitally manipulated photographic image (2017) $125 |  BUY NOW

"Treva Blue" by Jacqlynn Hamilton, 8.5x11in, digitally manipulated photographic image (2017) $125 | BUY NOW

"Her Brother" by Jacqlynn Hamilton, 11x17in, acrylic and mixed media (2016) $350 |  BUY NOW

"Her Brother" by Jacqlynn Hamilton, 11x17in, acrylic and mixed media (2016) $350 | BUY NOW

Painting, Photography, Drawing

Q&A: Jennifer Laura Palmer


“Sometimes it is a little better to travel than to arrive.”  Robert Pirsig


Location and maps are a crucial part of painter Jennifer Palmer’s work. “The first maps I collected were from my childhood and they were used on family trips. I loved that they were used on our trips and I could see my Dad’s handwritten notes and the highlighted route for each adventure. These memories have become even more precious since my Mother’s passing from cancer this past year.” Palmer is currently working on a new series involving plein air artworks created during road trips throughout Kentucky in a 1951 Chevy Pickup: http://palmertravelingartist.tumblr.com/

"Paintings of Maine (    In Progress)" by Jennifer Palmer, mixed media on poplar (2016)

"Paintings of Maine (In Progress)" by Jennifer Palmer, mixed media on poplar (2016)

1951 Chevy - Barbara Jane (Name after my Mother)

1951 Chevy - Barbara Jane (Name after my Mother)

Are you still touring Kentucky in your 1951 Chevy pick-up?

I currently am and the project is still in the beginning stages. I have spent the summer working on organizing my trip and scouting out locations to complete my artwork.  This has allowed me the necessary time to come up with a more cohesive plan that has clear objectives and goals to make this a successful project. After my trip to Maine this summer I realized I wanted to challenge myself to something much larger than I had originally intended and to push myself creatively to use materials and process that I haven’t used before. This has slowed down the project, however, it has increased the drive to have a series that goes beyond what I had originally envisioned. 

How many different places have you been?

Only a handful of places at this point and mostly I have been cruising routes and making notes on good places to stop and make some art. I feel I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the places to explore in this beautiful state. I have toured a lot of backroads in Kentucky cruising and I started to realize that I need to also include more urban areas on my travels. 

"On site Traveling Drawing (Phippsburg, Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, 9x12in,     ink on paper (2016)

"On site Traveling Drawing (Phippsburg, Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, 9x12in, ink on paper (2016)

What music do you listen to on the road?

I tend to just keep the windows down and listen to my surroundings and mostly the sound of the truck’s engine. 

Do you listen to music while you paint?

I do and tend to listen to the same music over and over until I finish a series.  You would most likely find Shovels and Rope and Roy Orbison in rotation in the studio.

What expectations did you have for the journey?

To stumble upon beauty in every place I visit. 

Tell us something about the people you have met?

I have found that everyone enjoys sharing a story if you are willing to slow down and ask some questions and be sincere in wanting to hear what they have to say. The people I have encountered are the greatest resources on learning more about the areas I am visiting. They know the area and give out the best suggestions for places to see and also to eat. I have experienced that people always love sharing stories about their animals and that is a great way to start a conversation. 

Also, I would like to add since I am still in the planning stages I would love to hear from people in Kentucky on places to go and more importantly why do they think I should visit there and document the space.

"Olsen House (Cushing Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

"Olsen House (Cushing Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

What's your favorite place to visit?

I will have to say Maine. I spent two weeks there this summer on an art road trip and I fell hard for the state. The landscape, the history, the people and the air were so inspiring.  What made the trip memorable was visiting the Farnsworth Museum and seeing Andrew Wyeth’s work in person. It literally brought tears to my eyes.  I was then able to make the journey to the Olsen House and spend time photographing the house and grounds.  I have never felt such a connection with a place.  

Honestly, this trip to Maine got me a little side tracked on the Traveling Artist Project here in Kentucky with the Chevy, however, it stirred a passion and desire to make it a more impactful series by slowing down and really taking time to plan out the project so I can create a wide range of pieces in various mediums. Kentucky holds the same charm and beauty and I want to explore the forgotten spaces to see the hidden gems myself and then be able to share these finds with an audience in a thoughtful manner.

"Olsen House (Hidden Stories)" by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

"Olsen House (Hidden Stories)" by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

So far, what is the longest you spent in any one location?

I crave the chance to be nomadic however, my heart always belongs to one place and that is wherever my horses are located. That is what brought me to Kentucky 10 years ago and what keeps me appreciating this amazing state is all the open land that is still available here. So my journeys tend to be short in nature, however, the list is extensive on places I want to visit, even if it is only short term. 

"Maine Summer" by Jennifer Palmer, 16x22.5in, mixed media on paper (2016), $300 |  BUY NOW

"Maine Summer" by Jennifer Palmer, 16x22.5in, mixed media on paper (2016), $300 | BUY NOW

What's the most challenging part when starting on a piece of work?

To not worry about what the outcome will be and just create and be in the moment.

How long do you usually spend on a specific piece of art?

It varies and can be a few hours to months. Recently, I have been going over work I had in storage for a few years and remaking it into a new series. I strongly believe in including an element of history in my work and I am enjoying making something new out of pieces that I never felt were quite finished.  It is nice to see new life given to them and also to go back and relive the time period of when I was creating them. 

"Travel Drawing Series (Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, 9x12in, ink on paper (2016)

"Travel Drawing Series (Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, 9x12in, ink on paper (2016)

Has your style changed or evolved over the years? If so what do you think influenced this?

It has and it goes through cycles. Location and time of year influences it, also the events going on in my life. The most significant change came with the passing of my Mother from pancreatic cancer. She was the inspiration in starting to live my life to the fullest and to finally get my dream truck, and then for this journey to gather stories. I realized how significant stories and personal histories are after you lose someone and they take the stories with them. If you don’t take the time to gather and archive them you will end up losing them forever. And now my work is more about searching out those feelings and memories and I am seeing a shift of including more figurative elements into my work as a way of processing these shifts in life.

If you could meet any celebrity who would it be and what would you ask them?

Wendell Berry and I would love to ask him to show me his favorite location in
Kentucky and learn more about why he chose that spot. 

Name: Jennifer Palmer
Hometown: Simpsonville, Kentucky
Age: 35
Education: MFA in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design; BA in Art and Political Science, Cedar Crest College (Allentown, Pennsylvania)
Website: http://jenniferpalmer.tumblr.com

"Summer Days (Finchville, KY) by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

"Summer Days (Finchville, KY) by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

"Maine Traveling Sketchbook" by Jennifer Palmer, ink on paper (2016)

"Maine Traveling Sketchbook" by Jennifer Palmer, ink on paper (2016)

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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Please contact    josh@louisvillevisualart.org    for further information on advertising through Artebella.

Please contact josh@louisvillevisualart.org for further information on advertising through Artebella.

Sculpture, Public Art

Feature: Ed Hamilton

"Ed Hamilton's Studio"     P    hoto by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

"Ed Hamilton's Studio" Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

On the west-facing side of the Glassworks building in downtown Louisville you will find an over-size image of sculptor ED HAMILTON with the legend, “Ed’s Louisville.” Part of a series of such tributes to native sons and daughters located throughout the city, the placement of this particular portrait is significant because the west side of town is where Hamilton came of age. Although born in Cincinnati, he grew up on what was then Walnut Street (later rechristened Muhammad Ali Boulevard); a stretch from 6th Street west to 18th Street that he describes in his autobiography as, “…my street, and I owned every crack and every weed in those concrete sidewalks.”* So it is appropriate that his visage is cast out onto what truly was Ed’s Louisville. 

It also explains why the renowned artist has never let fame lure him away. His heart is here, where his parents, Edward Hamilton, Sr. and Amy Jane Hamilton, ran the family business, a tailoring and barbershop, in the early Mammoth Building at 6th and Walnut Streets. Hamilton’s first steps as an artist were at Parkland Junior High School, where art teacher Harriet O’ Malley nominated him for the Children’s Free Art Classes (CFAC) operated by Louisville Visual Art, then called The Art Center, located on the University of Louisville campus. 

"Ed Hamilton working in his studio" P    hoto by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

"Ed Hamilton working in his studio" Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

Hamilton becomes animated talking about this turning point: “If that teacher hadn’t picked me out for CFAC - she could have picked any of those other kids – but she picked me. I never would have gotten there on my own. I had no thought, no ambition to be an artist. That’s an example of why teachers are so important.”

Jean Mulhall, a professional medical illustrator taught that CFAC class, but the human form was not a subject. “We were mostly outside. We drew all over campus.”

Later he attended Shawnee High School, where his art instructor was Patsy Griffiths. In his autobiography, Hamilton describes the contentious atmosphere created by the push for “total” integration in the city schools: “I still remember the animosity and disrespect from white students in that school.” So the fact that Griffith, a white teacher, fostered the talent of a black student in the midst of such tension made an important impression on the budding young artist. When Hamilton graduated in 1965, she pushed him to apply for a scholarship to the Art Center School, which was located in the same building where he had taken CFAC classes. When he returned, with portfolio under his arm, for his interview, he was taken aback: “It had been a few years, and I was still young,’ he laughs, ”and I kept thinking, ‘this place sure seems familiar’.”

Art Center building,ULUA.001.0026, University of Louisville Archives & Records Center, Louisville, Kentucky

Art Center building,ULUA.001.0026, University of Louisville Archives & Records Center, Louisville, Kentucky

The Art Center building was located on South First Street on the U of L campus, and Hamilton used to hang out between classes at a café in Bigelow Hall that was a gathering place on campus for Black students. It was there he met his wife. “I made my move… and introduced myself. When she said her name was Bernadette…well, the name alone was enough for me!” For their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 2017, the Hamiltons are planning a trip to Europe to celebrate.

Of course, there is a lot more life and history between that meeting and today. For 49 years Ed Hamilton has built a career and a reputation that now positions him as one of the foremost American sculptors of public work. Yet his studio is surprisingly modest considering the scale of some of his most famous pieces: the Lincoln Memorial in Louisville, the Joe Louis statue in Detroit, or the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, in Newport News, Virginia. It is a reminder of Hamilton’s humble roots and that, whatever his preeminence, he remains a hard-working artist.

"Bust of George DeBaptiste". Madison Indiana commission of an   Underground Railroad conductor.

"Bust of George DeBaptiste". Madison Indiana commission of an Underground Railroad conductor.

His latest commission is a life-size bronze bust of George DeBaptiste to be installed in a park development in Madison, Indiana. DeBaptiste (1815-1875) was a freeborn black man who settled in Madison before the Civil War and was a conductor on the Underground Railroad, ferrying slaves across the Ohio into Indiana, and later a key figure in the abolitionist movement after riots forced him to move his family to Michigan. It is a subject that fits very well into Hamilton’s oeuvre of African-American History. Taking on such stories as the mutiny of the slave-ship Amistad, African American soldiers during the American Civil War, the migration of southern blacks to the western United States, or the contributions of such individuals as Booker T. Washington and Medgar Evers, seems a natural task for someone with such an acute sense of history. Hamilton does extensive research into the historical background of each project just to prepare his submission, long before he has been formally selected. “I’d like to think it makes the difference – one of the reasons they choose ME.” Even 25 years after completing the Amistad Memorial in New Haven, Connecticut, he speaks extemporaneously and in great detail of Cinque’s mutiny aboard the notorious slave ship and the landmark Supreme Court ruling that finally allowed he and his compatriots to return to their native Sierre Leone twenty years before the Civil War. Should Hamilton ever wish to “retire” from making monuments, he could easily forge a lucrative career as a guest lecturer in history classes, just don’t expect that retirement to come anytime soon.

A 360° video featuring the "Bust of George DeBaptiste" (Madison Indiana commission of an Underground Railroad conductor) by Ed Hamilton. 

"Ed Hamilton" Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

"Ed Hamilton" Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

*The Birth of An Artist: A Journey of Discovery, by Ed Hamilton, Chicago Spectrum Press, 2006


This Feature article was written by Keith Waits.
In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, www.Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.


Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Photos by Sarah Katherine Davis. Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Please contact    josh@louisvillevisualart.org    for further information on advertising through Artebella.

Please contact josh@louisvillevisualart.org for further information on advertising through Artebella.