Beacon of Hope is the title of the art for the 2017 Family & Children’s Service calendar.
Framed on a brilliant backdrop of blue, purple and black, two children release a wish lantern into a sky littered with lights. The little girl’s elation is visually apparent – her outstretched arms, excitement flowing through every tiny little finger. The artist behind this magical visual is none other than Tulsa artist, JP Morrison Lans.
JP works primarily with colored pencil to create realistic yet somewhat altered figurative portraits. She is also an experimental installation artist, who fiddles with imagery of houses, forts, and fantasy spaces to create playful realms.
JP lives and works between Tulsa, OK. and Brisbane, Australia. She is a life-long homeschooler who earned her BFA in 2007 from The Kansas City Art Institute. During her residence in Kansas City, she co-owned and curated the Grothaus+Pearl Gallery. She is a recipient of the Momentum Spotlight Honorarium and her work is in the permanent collection of the Bundaberg Regional Gallery, Queensland Australia. JP’s work has been featured in Colored Pencil Magazine, This Land Press, and Art Focus Magazine. JP has instructed and demonstrated with the Arts and Humanities Council, Philbrook Museum of Art, Living Arts Center, Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, Mid-Del Art Guild and The Colored Pencil Society of America.
I spent my childhood bluffing. As a homeschooler I could rarely remember what grade I was supposed to be in when ask by an adult, and this awkward exchange developed into the game of augmenting expectations with exploration. Learning to read how to best fit into others’ experiences informed my interactions and my artwork. I’ve been drawing internal exploration through the two-way mirror of others’ perceptions since the beginning.
That layered childhood perception has proven to be the compass I hold in my wondering mind. As an only child, left to my own devices in the Oklahoma wilderness, my perspicacity was my constant collaborator. We spent our time creating whole worlds together, drawn on paper and built in forts under tables and up trees.
Acknowledging my childhood self as my muse today is daunting. She is interested in gothic mystique, whimsy and beauty for beauties sake, she is not afraid to embrace the cliché. However, when I tap into this simple and honest foundation I find that I can arrive at the pith of the things I care about.
For example, while I draw female protagonists from fairy tales, they stand alone contemplating their stories. This self-reflection becomes a rebellion against the oft patriarchal narrative in which they find themselves captured.
When I draw or build houses, I pull from theories in child psychology that suggest that houses drawn by children are a form of self portrait. A house that floats off the horizon-line symbolizes a child who still exists between this world and the beyond, whereas a house with many architectural details symbolizes the development of a persona.
In these works, I am constructing the story of myself and those around me, perceived through a lens of childlike wonder.