One of the things I appreciate about my life is how it always introduces me to passionate people in the most unexpected ways. For example, have you ever met someone with a hidden talent? And no I don’t mean your frat brother who could drink a 6-pack in under a minute or your sister-in-law who can burp the alphabet. I mean truly amazing and talented individuals that have seemed to skated under your radar.
A few months ago I learned that my barber/hair stylist, Try Serino, is a professionally trained artist. What amazed me was how humble she was about this fact as she cut my hair. She explained that while art is her passion, it doesn’t always pay the bills (preach on sister!!!) and she found being a hair stylist a nice balance that allowed her to explore her creative side and keep the money rolling in to cover expenses.
And don’t get me wrong, Try is a phenom hair stylist as evidenced by the fact that I travel 45 minutes each way to sit in her chair. But when she finally shared her work with me, it blew me away. It’s dark, beautiful and complicated – this isn’t your throw it up in your foyer stuff – it is highly interpretative, subjective and leaves the viewers with questions of their own. For me, that is the hallmark of true art – work that not only draws me in but forces me to think.
After pestering Try on various occasions, she finally granted me a brief interview so I could explore more deeply her creative process and paintings:
Try, where did you do your training?
I hail from Washington, D.C., and earned a Fine Arts degree in painting from The University of the District of Columbia. Since graduating, I have had solo shows in Washington DC, Savannah Georgia, Salem Massachusetts, and San Francisco.
Your work has a beautiful muted vibrancy. In some of your pieces it’s like you took a snapshot and put it on the canvas and then painted over it. What is your process?
Thank you. I work with a variety of materials, including gesso, acrylic medium/paint, charcoal, and photographs, put on to canvas. I continue the process by adding layers of pigment to build up the image resulting in a rich, layered and at times, multi-dimensional final product.
When I look at your work, I feel like I know the subjects. Is your work based on real people you have met or know?
Although primarily representational, I try to explore the conceptual relationships between color and value influence in my work using a variety of methods from traditional portraiture to figurative abstraction.
Some would say that you work could be interpreted as dark, but to me there also seems to be more than just darkness.
My paintings run the gamut but I often illustrate the sometimes dark beauty hidden in the subjects I use for my figurative work. I explore that through a mixture of media and metaphor. Like many artists, the statements I personify in my work are a reflection of the unique conditions in my life.
As you know, I am a huge fan of your work, so what’s next on the horizon?
Well, being a hair stylist has place me in contact with a wide swath of unique and varied people but at the same time has left me with the realization that being a woman of color in this industry has it’s challenges. I am in the preliminary stages of a set of new works that explore my creative journey in the hair industry. I envision it as a large-scale graphic novel that tells the story of maintaining your center in a world made of dreams.
Thank you Try! I love Try’s work and its deeply personal approach to tell the visual story. I am eyeing a piece for our living room – now I just need to collect my pennies and start saving! Interested parties can contact Try at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on her paintings or discuss commissioned pieces.
Okay, I have an old college friend and her fiancé in town this weekend. I am off to play host. Have a great weekend!!!!