Yvette Lucas, Chairs of Inclusion artist and WAE Beyond program coordinator, talks about the inspiration she receives from nature and the lovely thoughts and feelings that inspired the Care Chair.
- What is your education and background as an artist?
I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Cooper Union, completed undergraduate work at Mason Gross School of the Arts (Rutgers University), and did supplemental study at the School of Visual Arts (NYC).
- What inspires you?
Nature. I love to visit woods, parks, and gardens. I’m also inspired by the work of other artists no matter what medium they use.
- How would you describe your artistic style and your process?
My subject matter centers on the outdoors and our responses to the elements in it. I like to create a portrait of the subject or place I am exploring. I’m an observer, so I put myself in situations where I may have the opportunity to capture a hidden world.
- What initially inspired your Chair concept?
I began by thinking about what universally binds and includes all of us and came up with the concept of the Care Chair. We all have people we love, so what do we want for them? How do we let people feel cared for and comforted?
- What was your experience working at the WAE Center on your Chair?
I worked a bit differently than the project initially called for, in that the members who worked with me did not physically work on the chair itself. They used their thoughts and feelings about what they wanted for the people who came to sit in the chair. Those words are printed onto the arms and seat to envelop those who come to sit in it. I was moved by the depth and variation of the responses. There are words of advice, wishes for peace, comfort, romance, and deliverance.
- Did your Chair concept change or evolve as you worked with the Center’s artists?
I was going to have a group discussion with six WAE Center members, but that didn’t work out well, scheduling-wise, so I met with each one individually. I’m glad this happened because I don’t think I would have gotten such personal responses in a group setting. I wound up interviewing 12 people all together. I am grateful for the opportunity to have had those personal conversations. I have a much more complete appreciation of everyone as individuals, which is the first step to inclusion.
- What does Inclusion mean to you?
The feeling of belonging without having to compromise your personality or values. The freedom to be you and to be accepted as-is.
- What do you do when you’re not creating art?
I work at JSDD’s WAE Center as the program coordinator of WAE Beyond, an after-hours program for adults with developmental disabilities. I am also the current president of Studio Montclair, a local arts organization of professional and emerging artists and others interested in art that promotes culture and education in the visual arts.
- What words do you live by?
To see Christ in all people, which means to treat everyone with love and respect and to see how we are all connected. I’m not always successful, but I’m a work in progress too.
- What is your next project?
I Just came back from a workshop that explores a new printmaking photo intaglio technique. I’ll try working larger and more experimentally with that process.