Lynette K. Henderson – Art and Cake

May 17, 2024 - Art

Lynette K. Henderson
Chatsworth CA
Age 67

What keeps you excited in the studio?
really juicy painting problems to solve is the best thing

Looking back at your trajectory as an artist, how would you say your work has developed?
Once I chose “fine art” as a field of study, it was full-go-straight-ahead and never look back! I was very into my painting and did create some good work. I did different things for a living, museum education and gallery work, amongst others. However, after more than a decade went by and I decided to go into higher education full time, my studio practice stalled out for about 20 years. Prior to that I had received some recognition and grants, but not enough, and I had to work at other things, so I chose to become a professor of art education. The perspective I gained from that body of knowledge is much more expansive than what I had after receiving my MFA, many new ways to look at art and what it means in the world. So that was good. However, when I got back into the studio in a real way later on I found myself sort of picking up where I left off in painting, I guess because I needed a starting point. It took me about a year to get my feet on the ground and a couple more years to see what I want to do, and while I don’t feel I’ve reached painting nirvana by any means yet, I feel more firmly grounded and confident in my work as a studio artist today, after 4 years. I’m experimenting more with other mediums in addition to my first and best love of painting, which is very fun and exciting and I hope I can keep going and developing more.

What role do you think the artist has in today’s society?
That’s hard to say in a nutshell – because of the digital world we are more focused than ever on the visual, but most people in my opinion are still visually illiterate, they are consumers without understanding what they are consuming. So in that way the products of artists are valued, but I’m not sure how much of the true value is perceived. Also there are so many of us making things and so many different types of images and objects – hordes really. I feel it will all come to a head at some point and maybe there will be some sort of implosion.

What’s the most important advice you could give to an aspiring artist?
I liked a comment made by one of our guest speakers who said that if it’s a choice, you should think about doing something else. I agree with that because true commitment to being an artist is not easy and calls for sacrifices of various sorts, it costs a lot and takes a lot of effort. So if a person can take it or leave it, maybe there’s something else they can be more committed to. I myself had a moment – after going back into the studio for a year and getting the initial gush of work out of the way, I found myself asking that question – do I really want to do this? I was surprised that came up but it was a good question; for myself the answer is yes but I’m glad I asked!

Does age matter in art? Why or why not?
I don’t think so, I’ve seen great art by younger people and by older people, and all sorts in between; to me its about engagement with the materials to communicate something. That requires focus and some skill but can happen at any age if someone is really doing it.

What can we look forward to from you next?
I’m going further into a series of works that use neon paints and night scenes from Los Angeles, so look out for that, and more sculpture too although I’m not sure where that is going exactly, more-better is the goal!

Is there anything else you would like to share about being an artist later in life?
I’m finally able to experience the bliss I’ve always wanted in making my work. I’m retiring after this semester to go full on into the studio work, having developed it enough over the last few years that I think it will be a seamless slide further in.


Nightfall at the El Rey. Acrylic on Canvas, 30″ x 24″ (2024)

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