An Artist Empowered by the Human Experience
I would like to introduce you to Stephanie Warren an inspiring artist, activist, plant-lover, photographer, and painter. Stephanie grew up in a military family and was born in Ankorage, Alaska. She attended high school in Sacramento, CA and currently resides in Austin, TX,
I met Stephanie through Instagram. She liked one of my Instagram posts so I contacted her to thank her. I had checked out her photos previously and really loved the energy I felt when I looked at them. She definitely has a natural ability to capture the mood of each moment which you'll see in her photos. Her work is colorful, powerful, but there is this gentleness to them. It could be the light, colors, or just her way of seeing. She has a journalistic approach telling a story within each of her photographs. She also is a painter and you'll see the bright colors mirrored in her painting as well.
"The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion” - Albert Camus
For photography, I love candid shots. I love taking fleeting moments of life and at the risk of being completely cliché, capturing them. Memorializing them, in a sense, no matter how mundane or insignificant those moments may seem. For my paintings and charcoals, there is less of a solidified approach. Whatever feels good at the moment, I do. My favorite body part are eyes, so draw those quite often and I suppose the emotions that are conveyed through the eyes that I draw reflect what I am feeling at the moment. With that, I’m in the process of conceptualizing a series of charcoal portraits, playing with different themes.
Stephanie attended H.S. in Sacramento, CA and was kind of a band nerd. She played cello, violin, clarinet, alto saxophone, and obo. Although she had this great musical talent and loved the arts she never saw it as a career option. She felt the pressure of going towards a career that would make her money instead of what she loved because of the color of her skin.
In 2004, Stephanie moved to Austin and studied the culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu. She started working at a Houston's which is now Bartlett's and quickly realized it just wasn't for her. She also attended Texas State where she was she was studying Art History with a minor in Studio.
Currently Stephanie spends a lot of her time volunteering by doing community outreach, policy, taking photos for The Austin Justice Coalition where she is the Creative Director. The Austin Justice Coalition is an organization that promotes racial equality. This topic is something that Stephanie feels very passionately about and you can see that in some of the photos below. Stephanie also volunteers for Soulciti as stated on their website is a grassroots phenomenon to disseminate news and entertainment information of interest to African Americans. Stephanie believes that all human experiences are the same and for her she is human first and then black.
Tell me about your photography/art background?
Started drawing as early as I can remember. Doodling mostly when I am bored. Enjoyed art classes in school and took art class when it was available. It was fun and easy to do. From elementary school to college to professional, I kept at it working on different medias, such as pencil, paint to computers.
I’ve always been a creative person. I’ve always doodled and had a camera around me. Although art never really seemed like a viable career path, art has always been apart of my life. In regards to education, I’m definitely on the self-taught end of the spectrum. Throughout the years I have taken many art classes for stress relief but never as a main focus and while I minored in Art History (which required me to take so many hours of Studio Art classes) I’ve only recently began exploring different techniques and learning to express myself via different styles.
What inspires you as an artist? What inspires me most to create art is Life. In all of its complexities. Through failures and victories, ups and downs, etc. To show that no matter what socioeconomic status, “race,” belief system, we are all dealing with the underlying acceptance of existence. We are more similar than we are different. I suppose, I want to do my part to make those differences we focus on less important.
Honestly, my biggest inspiration are people who have the courage to be exactly who they are and live their lives exactly how they want. That ranges from famous people to random people I see on the street. I love me some outliers, lol. As for famous people? Albert Camus, Angela Davis, Friedrich Nietzsche, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Erykah Badu, Kendrick Lamar, Dave Brubeck, etc.
What are your goals as an artist? My main goal is to constantly grow. I can’t say that there is an end goal. I just want to keep exploring myself and my capabilities. I’m in the process of really delving into the art scene so I am saying ‘Yes’ to any opportunities. Some of my pieces will be up at local coffee shops and as for shows, if you know of any, my answer is yes!
“It’s your world, why would you fake it?” - Beach House
Jessica Oleksy is passionate about photography and creative people. Through this blog she will introduce you to the people that inspire her.