NTID’s Dyer Art Gallery had the extraordinary privilege of displaying the talented Deaf artist Laurie Monahan’s work from March 18 through the end of April. Laurie has always been an artist at heart, exploring many ways of expressing herself including a 11 year career as a graphic artist.
Laurie focuses on several different mediums, especially loving the expressive creativity that acrylic painting gives her, and for different reasons she also loves the fluidity of watercolors. For her, “Watercolors uses a totally different set of skills, more meditative and relaxing.” Whereas, painting gives her the freedom to be the “abstract expressionist” she sees herself as, using bright colors, textures, the use of bold tools such as pieces of wood, palette knives, her fingers, just throwing splat what she connects with, on canvas.
Laurie is influenced greatly in her her painting style and inspirations by fellow abstract expressionist, Jackson Pollock, and landscape artist Georgia O’Keeffe. Laurie smiled, recalling Patti Durr’s Deaf Art and Cinematography course, her introduction to the De’VIA movement that she plans to explore in her future works. Another enduring inspiration in her life has been her art professor, Luvon Sheppard from RIT.
During RIT’s COLORFest, an NTID faculty member approached her about displaying her work. This honorable request led to a presentation of all her work for Jenamarie Bicot, curator of the Dyer Art Gallery, an artist herself. Jenamarie chose Laurie’s acrylic paintings for a unified display, the other artists displayed in the gallery also painters.
Laurie’s earliest creative struggles ensures her constant encouragement of artists in the beginning of their careers. Enthusiastically drawing her passion, shining clear as glass through the rapid flight of her hands,
“Don’t be afraid of other people’s opinions! Don’t let them tear you down, because the most important thing is your art, your work, that it is yours, and yours alone! No one else can take that from you! Don’t let fear of their opinions, make you hide your work! Show the world who you are! You are an artist, and if you’re just starting out, the best thing to do is to learn, learn, learn, as much as you can, take classes, get started and DO it, because you’re the only one who knows you, and your dreams. Always remember, it’s yours, nobody else’s! Follow your dreams! Follow your heart!”