THE ARTIST DISCUSSES EMPOWERING THE NEXT GENERATION LEADING UP TO ART BASEL
The excitement is buzzing over the upcoming collaboration between The Tracy Piper and Voss Gallery with Kimpton Angler’s Hotel. This partnership is set to host two events during Art Basel week with an extraordinary blend of creativity and connection. The Angler’s Hotel, known for its commitment to art and culture, is enhancing its Art in Residence program, aiming to deepen guests' engagement with art in a way that's both personal and profound.
In the midst of this anticipation, I had the opportunity to sit down with The Tracy Piper to discuss her vision for the collaboration with Lotus House and how she plans to inspire and empower the next generation of artists during this year's Miami Art Week.
AV: This year we’re hosting a 'Make Your Mark' class at Lotus House in partnership with Angler’s Hotel during Miami Art Week. During the class, you’ll be teaching basic painting techniques to children with an emphasis on embracing their individuality. Can you share your perspective on what 'making your mark' in the art world means through this initiative?
TTP: Making your mark is the opportunity to have your voice heard while incorporating a little artistic flair! Too often we're told to follow the rules, color within the lines, and to not make too much noise. This initiative is an invitation to throw all those ingrained ideas out the window and take up space! The goal with ‘Make Your Mark’ is to get these kids of Lotus House to feel excited about their own voices, and to encourage them to make their own way. Each brush stroke painted on the canvas is your mark—no one else's—and I believe this is very important, especially when you think about how often kids are told to 'get in line.'
AV: Can you tell us more about the ‘Make Your Mark’ coloring pages you designed for the children at Lotus House and their significance? What key messages or experiences do you hope they will impart?
TTP: The design inspiration for these coloring pages springs from a universally human element: our hands. While hands are a recurring motif in my work, I believe they're among the most powerful. Unlike portraiture, which is often specific to its subjects, hands represent a shared human experience—they could belong to anyone, making them a deeply relatable and inclusive symbol.
What started as an idea to involve the kids at Lotus House while they waited for their turn to make their mark on the canvas turned into something much bigger than a quick way to keep their attention. The five different coloring pages each feature a unique hand illustration to scribble, scrawl, and color all over! No expectations or directions on how to color within the lines, this exercise is intended to provide these kids with a jumping off point to allow their own creativity to come out. The messaging with this freeing practice is that there isn't simply good or bad art, just that you made the art, and that you made these individual marks. In this process you find your own voice.
AV: I love that these coloring pages are available for everyone to print at home—especially during the holiday season when families get together. What prompted this decision, and how do you envision people interacting with them?
TTP: I wanted to ensure that these coloring pages were freely accessible to all, as a reminder of the importance of making their mark and the significance each individual's mark holds. “Art is for Everyone” has been my unofficial mantra these last few years. I’ve been very blessed to see the demand for my paintings and the price of my work go up, but I didn’t want to forget where I’ve come from. Making art accessible and approachable for everyone has always been a goal of mine.
While I made these illustrations it occurred to me that this project didn’t have to only have one life. This isn't the first time I’ve considered creating some kind of coloring page, but it really all came together when thinking about the impact this could have for kids everywhere—including us big kids too! I hope these illustrations give everyone the chance to have fun and feel free—and to let go of the expectations of what art ‘should’ be and just make their own marks on the world!
AV: Speaking of kids, how do you think motherhood has influenced your approach to art and creativity? Do aspects of your parenting journey find their way into your work?
TTP: Motherhood changed me in the most unexpected and positive way when it comes to my creative practice. I became interested in the idea of leaving a legacy and its significance to the next generation—not to mention these motherly instincts of love really kicked into overdrive! In some ways when you have a kid, your focus is no longer about you, and this translated into my work. Yes I'm a painter, but it’s no longer just about me, it’s about making others feel seen, heard, and loved. I know it sounds like such a mom mentality, but it's true! So many of us feel left behind and if my paintings can make just one person feel good about themselves, then I’ve done something right.
AV: I couldn’t agree more! I also know that your child is an emerging artist in their own right and enjoys painting alongside you. How do you think early engagement with art influences the development of the future generation of artists and creatives?
TTP: Art has the power to inspire, and that inspiration felt isn’t only reserved for the art aficionados in the room. When children feel that they have a voice in this world, it encourages them to develop into adults who are happier, more creative, and more free with their expressions! Kids are inherently creative, and somewhere down the line this natural curiosity is pushed out of them. I think having an art practice of some form from a young age is not only a nice creative outlet to have, it’s incredibly important—we need our artists in the world!
AV: Building on that, why do you feel it's especially crucial to engage the broader community, including children, in art experiences during events like Miami Art Week? What impact do you think this has on nurturing future generations of artists and art enthusiasts?
TTP: Every year in December the art world descends to Miami. It’s an exciting and wonderful time, but too often I hear from the local Miami community that they don’t feel like these events are for them. Kids especially aren’t really invited into these extravagant events (I mean I wouldn’t want my kid touching a Basquiat either), so in a lot of ways local Miami residents are ignored. It’s very important to me that everyone feels they have a place in the art world and this opportunity to collaborate on a painting with kids—especially during Miami Art Week—just felt right. Encouraging the next generation that they do have a voice, and that there will be a seat at the table for them is just one of the many things I think should be happening right now.
AV: In your experience, how can art serve as a tool for social change, particularly for the younger generation?
TTP: Art is and will always be one of the most important catalysts for any sort of social change. Wielding a paintbrush can be a powerful tool—especially in the hands of our next generation! What we make is important; it is fundamental to our society at large. Any time we can inspire and teach the next generation to make anything is an opportunity to open up the world to new possibilities, new experiences, and new ways of thinking.
AV: In light of that, what is your vision or hope for the next generation of artists? How do you think the current art world will shape their future?
TTP: I think the current art world actually has a growing number of new voices, the art world is really waking up to new modalities and ways of thinking. The landscape is wildly different than it was even just ten years ago—I love seeing that inclusivity and diversity is finally being championed (albeit we have a long way to go). It’s this radical acceptance that needs to be at the forefront of our next generation. I just hope that the industry continues to grow, that there is a place for everyone, and that being an artist isn’t all about starving and suffering. One can hope!
AV: As an artist and art activist who has 'made her mark,' what advice would you give to young, aspiring artists about leaving their own unique imprint in the art world?
TTP: Keep going, just keep going. The art industry is not easy, this world is not easy! A lot of people will say "no," or make fun of your passions, or reject your ideas, but we need your voices in this world! So don’t listen to that nonsense and keep going. If you are ever wondering if you should, I hope these words reassure you to do all the things and keep doing what you love!
If you plan on attending Miami Art Week this year, we hope you’ll join us for a special evening with The Tracy Piper at the Art Basel Happy Hour on Thursday, Dec. 7th, from 5-8 PM at Minnow Bar, nestled in the heart of Kimpton Angler’s Hotel in South Beach.
Begin your art journey even before the festivities by exploring Tracy’s available artwork on our website. Who knows, you might just find that one piece that resonates with your soul. For inquiries about our worldwide shipping and interest-free payment plans, please reach out to us. Also, remember to sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on the latest happenings, exclusive insights, and more.
We look forward to seeing you in Miami to celebrate art and creativity!