LaShonda Cooks is a local painter who specializes in a method called pointillism and aims for her art to “make your eyes sing and heart dance.” And with her vibrant portraits of (notably) strong women and historical figures, her work accomplishes exactly that.
“When I first started painting, I yearned to capture and celebrate women who looked like me. By painting them and their unique strengths and beauty, I learned to celebrate my own.”
LaShonda began painting on canvas as a hobby in 2010 after graduating from college and moving home to Oak Cliff (where she was born, raised and still lives today). “I had my business admin degree and was looking for jobs, and painting was my stress reliever and happy place,” she explains. “I never planned on becoming an artist, but I just loved how empowered and safe I felt when I created, so I kept going.”
Now, LaShonda works for GEICO as an insurance adjuster and actually began her quest to be a part of Art Conspiracy when I (author of this story) had her as my adjuster almost exactly three years ago. She saw the Art Con sticker on the back of my car, and immediately asked what she needed to do to get involved as an artist.
“I had heard about Art Con when I participated in the Kettle Art Gallery’s show, For the Love of Kettle. Then I came to Art Con with a friend and was blown away by the sheer energy and excitement. I so wanted to be a part of it. Three lottery entries later, and here I am. So excited!”
Our theme of R/EVOLUTION this year has only added to LaShonda’s enthusiasm to participate. “Given the current political and social environment where you’re either for or against ‘us’ with very little gray area, it’s a perfect time to ask whether revolution supersedes evolution or vice versa,” she says. “It’s a tough but fitting question to grapple with when our world feels like a broken record playing the same old song.”
LaShonda looks forward to the challenge of creating a piece befitting the theme while remaining uniquely her style and voice. “I’m nervous and excited to tackle the task so that the moment my piece is shown, I’m proud to call it my own.”
Come out to Art Con R/EVOLUTION, Saturday, June 2, to see LaShonda’s take on this year’s theme and maybe even take it home with you!
Written by: Martha Elaine Belden