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Lauraette Kirkland is a native born South Carolinian who has always loved art and being creative. “My love of art began when I was very young, says Kirkland. The more she learned about art, she became in awe of old masters like Michangelo and wanted to do realistic art. Although she was a business major in college, she has taken at the USC on art education, art history, drawing and painting while working many years as an accountant. “The most useful thing I have done in learning techniques in art, however, has been from hours of working and experimenting with various types of medium and a number of different subjects. In that way I found how best to express in a tangible and natural way my vision of my creations, my reaction to the subjects, and my emotions about the process” she explains.
In the fall of 2003 because she has always wanted to sculpt, she began working with clay by using hand building techniques with no prior experience or instruction. “I fell in love with the fun and relaxation of working with “mud.” She has displayed pieces at a number of exhibits and shows and won several ribbons for her work. Ms. Kirkland has been teaching sculpture classes at the Columbia’s Park and Recreation for several years which combines her love of sculpture and working with people. People are one her favorite subjects, especially small children. She loves to paint and sculpture them, capturing them in the activities and moments of their lives. When asked about this choice of subject matter, Kirkland says “I find people to be great subjects! To me every person is different; each person has something to say and has value no matter what their profession, or background. The combination of these unique qualities, inside and out, makes all of us unique. It could be someone’s smile, personality, style, or even their charisma that catches my interest. I guess this is why I like sculpting and painting people, because it is so much fun to try and capture their personality. I believe every person brings something individual into the world – every person has a story and I like to tell it with my artwork.”
Also, because of her love of trees, she has done several workshops on sculpting trees, too, especially, big oak trees with gnarly, rough, beat up old trunks, and they has been one of her main subjects. When she sculpts trees, particular attention to the details and makes them realistic as possible. Several of her trees have been donated for charitable causes. “Overall, I want my pieces to tell a story, not just be an object. I want the piece of artwork to evoke emotions that someone can identify with and relate to that brings them pleasant memories, based on their own life experiences,” explains Kirkland.