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Who is Virginia T Coleman? - A short Biography on my path thus far.

I remember it like it was yesterday, lying on the soft blue carpet straining my neck for hours, gazing up at a Calmen Shemi draping the wall. Transfixed by the colors and shapes I let my imagination describe what I saw. As I revisit this work today I still find it just as fresh and complex as I did in my youth. It was this moment, lying in that space, copying this painting that my family owns that I knew I aspired to create visual tangible perspicacity’s.


I have been blessed to have been raised in a family that has a strong affinity for the power of art. My grandfather was an avid American print collector, focusing on Thomas Hart Benton, Reginald Marsh, John Sloan and George Bellows. He also found interest in many contemporary artists such as, Robert Indiana, Robert Rauschenberg, Clas Oldenburg and Philip Pearlstein to name a few. My grandfather was a Psychiatrist at LSU medical center in New Orleans and his interest into the human condition is directly reflected in the types of works he collected.  He spoke once in an article written about him that art has taught him more about himself than anything else. He surrounded his home in art, his friends he called them and thus influenced early on I to have never lived with blank walls.


Picasso once stated that the true artist is one who is always a child at heart, open to learning, experimenting, eyes eager to get a glimpse of the next idea. I remember the quote I used in my senior yearbook, which stated; “ I’d still rather be lost on the highway than following someone else.” Words that still resonate with me today. I am a wanderer, all I need is my satchel filled with a sketchbook, camera and some good tunes and I am ready for the next adventure. My art is about looking at the built environment, questioning myself within it; questioning the nature of why things are, what higher meaning can we conjure from the simplest of acts.


My educational background is paralleling lines that have lead me to the point I am at currently. I always stated since a small child that I wanted to be an architect, to build the tallest buildings, create the most beautiful soft curves, capture light and color within form. So I obtained my B.A. in Environmental Design thinking this was the trajectory I needed to follow. What I could never understand was why the strict rigors of an architectural degree did not allocate for any fine arts courses, do they not influence each other directly? This bothered me for I yearned to be more abstract. I needed more visual and physically stimulus in my creative path. I did not have the courage yet to fully commit to fine arts so I set out to obtain my Masters In Architecture a more legitimate career path. It took about a year of the program and a little guidance from a professor for it to become crystal clear; I was an architect but of a different methodology. I was the architect of my ideas, my three dimensional paintings and sculptures. The actual practice of architecture was not where my heart was, it never had been, it needs more freedom, more room to wander outside the box and visually relay this knowledge.

So an MFA it was. I figured I should study the most demanding of the entire fine arts task, the human figure. So I buckled down and learned the classics of figurative painting from life. But alas I again was good at what I was doing but someone from the outside said to me that I my true gift resided in another realm, sculpture. Never afraid of the unknown I wandered off to the sculpture building and it was there, in the loud noise, dust, sweat and the heat I found my main tool; steel. My metals teacher was thrilled to have a painter and architecture enthusiast, for he told me the greatest of all sculptors are painters, and analytical thinkers.

It all made sense, I have a fascination with steel structures, light penetrating space, colors reflected in forms, soft curves juxtaposed against strong bold elements all this can be derived from welding and manipulating steel. Again I found myself on the path of the unknown. I needed to learn more about welding, more logistics of its mechanics so off I headed on the road to become a master welder

In the end I am an architect, a visual architect of ideas. With my new set of physical tools and knowledge I strive in the next few years to be fabricating a new larger body of work that will demand of the viewer an open mind, a willingness to learn, compassion, and humor.

So here I stand today with a trail of adventures and knowledge all documented through my constant dedication to visually relinquishing my ideas through the many mediums I use to grapple with this curiosity.

I don’t know what the next step will be, that’s the journey that’s the thrill of being an artist, you can live on the outside of the norm; you have freedom to chase your thoughts


Posted by Virginia T Coleman on 4/7/11 | tags: conceptual

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