Interviews

Deana Lawson & Henry Lawson

Today from our friends at BOMB Magazine, we bring you a conversation between artists Deana Lawson and Henry Lawson. They speak about the commonalities of their practices, their travels, and the importance of color in their work. Lawson says of her photographs, “I often think of Carrie Mae Weems’s titles in the Colored People series, in which she names the nuances of black and brown bodies and undertones, titles like Blue Black Boy, Golden Yella Girl, and Magenta Colored Girl. I try to glorify brown skin within the print and bend toward specificity of skin tones.” This article was originally published in BOMB 133, Fall 2015.

Henry Taylor. 
Where Thoughts Provoke, Getting Deep In Shallow Water, 2015; acrylic on canvas; 36 × 36 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.

Henry Taylor. 
Where Thoughts Provoke, Getting Deep in Shallow Water, 2015; acrylic on canvas; 36 × 36 in. Courtesy of the Artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.

Henry Taylor and I were introduced by our mutual friend and collector, AC Hudgins, at a MoMA PS1 function in 2012. When we met I was about to depart on my first trip to Haiti to do my photographic work. The following year I asked Henry to accompany me to Port-au-Prince. That trip was a key moment in our friendship as well as in our artistic practices—the influence of Haiti can be seen in both of our bodies of work. It also gave us insight into each other’s process and the methods that aren’t necessarily visible in the final paintings or photographs.

I’ve sat for portraits for Henry in various locations, including the Hudgins’s homes in Harlem and Sag Harbor; Henry’s studio in Los Angeles; and my apartment in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Henry no longer needs to ask me to sit for him; I now ask him to paint (document) me, because, as a photographer, it is fascinating to experience up close an artist’s process that is quite different 
than mine.

Our dialogues have been mutually inspiring and have informed my focus and my photographs in subtle ways. What comes out of Henry’s mouth in conversation is completely unpredictable, and it is our meandering exchanges that keep the friendship alive and fresh.

Read the full article here.

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