A trailblazer in her own right, We talk with an amazing artist as she journeys through loss and growth. Making her way through challenges and showcasing her talent for the world to enjoy.
We both had a major loss with the passing of a very important person to us both Roshanda Johnson How are you doing?
Courtney: How am I doing after Roshanda’s passing? The answer to this is multi-faceted. Much like Sean, I try to operate in gratitude. So I am grateful for all the things I learned from her. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to love and be loved by her. Her mom treats me like a daughter and checks on me regularly. I’m grateful for that. Now because I am a very flawed human I have many moments outside of gratitude. I MISS MY FRIEND so, I cry when I need to. I laugh when something funny reminds me of her. I smile when I remember a special moment between us. Loving and losing her has been bittersweet, so I do many things with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. I keep moving forward with the things she and I had planned with the goal of continuing to make her proud. We had a phrase for when people are suffering yet they manage to make their struggles look easy. We called it “Breaking beautifully”. It’s something we were both masters of so I’m just carrying on with that.
How do you think others can help keep her legacy alive in Houston?
Courtney: Others can help honor her legacy by continuing to support the West End Homeless Ministry monetarily and with their presence on the 4th Saturday of every month.
What inspires you?
Courtney: God is the ultimate creator and I find inspiration in things that revolve around nature ie. trees, the moon, sunsets and humans.
A lot of things have changed for everyone in the past few years. How have you managed to stay creative during everything?
Courtney: In the last two years I have lost my mother(June 2020), paternal grandmother(May 2022) and a business pARTner/best friend(Aug 2022). Creating has been the key to maintaining the little sanity I still possess. I create something daily, even if that something is just me covered in paint. I love the moments when I get to “be the art”. I feel most alive when I’m creating or planning events.
In 4 words how would you describe the vibe at your exhibits?
Courtney: This may not be what you asked for (my bad) but the vibe of all of our shows is “LOVE”: Love for our community, Love of creating, Love of fellowship, Love of entrepreneurship. The goal is alway to create a space of love, creativity and community.
What is the contact information if someone wants to check out your work online?
Courtney: Creativelycourtney.shop, Creatively_Courtney on IG
Motivation and Inspiration are 2 words people describe your efforts when it comes to helping the community, What started this for you?
Courtney: I was raised by parents who helped others throughout my entire childhood. It’s been ingrained in me that we all need each other. Life is easier for me when I have support so I seek to be a support system to others.
Where do you want to see your art in the next five years?
Courtney: In the next five years I’d like to have a studio and gallery where I can expand my craft and teach workshops and have regular exhibits for myself and other artists
When I talk about your art please inform the readers exactly what your art is!
Courtney: Girl, that’s such a loaded question. I create whatever makes me happy at the moment. So my creations range from canvas art, hand painted hats,earrings, mannequin heads, and copper jewelry. I enjoy learning new techniques of art. Woodwork and sculpting are on my list of things to learn soon.
How long have you been going public with your art?
Courtney: I began painting in 2016 and sold a few pieces at various art shops and then co-curated my first art exhibit in December of 2018
What do you want your legacy to be?
Courtney: I would like to leave behind a legacy of love and creation. I want to reach my full potential of creativity. I’d like to leave the lives of people I encounter better than when I met them.
What’s one funny memory you have at an exhibit?
Courtney: Hmmmm. The funniest memory I can think of at an exhibit would have to be the first exhibit Sean and I did in 2018. The event focused on mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Since it was our first exhibit we had no idea what to expect when we walked in about 30 minutes after the show opened. We had agreed to not put a goal on what we hoped to sell, instead we decided to let God surprise us. After about an hour of mingling and talking about our pieces with our guests, Sean and I found each other. We took a collective break to survey the room and saw that pieces were being taken off the wall and wrapped up. We looked at each other in amazement/amusement and at the same time said “So we are selling art for real?’ We both cracked up. We were surprised and amused at how well our work was received because we came in with no expectations. That moment eased the tension and nerves we were feeling from debut jitters. We exhibited 24 pieces and sold 18 that night. During rougher moments Sean and I reflected back to that moment.
What’s a misconception about you and your craft?
Courtney:The biggest misconception about me as an artist is that creating comes easily and that I don’t struggle with it. It doesn’t and I do. (lol) I’m just always determined to do whatever I set my mind to regardless of how hard it is. I’ve spent more hours and wasted more canvases than I’m going to admit to here, on work that was a complete disaster. I’ve adopted the walk away and come back in a different headspace mindset, over the years. The accomplished feeling I get from seeing a project through to the end gives me the courage to start new projects.
I have partnered with artist Tay Mayberry and Leroy Toliver to put on an exhibit and poetry show in Sean’s honor on December 10,2022. The event will be a celebration of Sean and her many talents. Planning this show without her has required me to step up my game immensely. Sean was such an amazing friend and I am determined that the event does her memory and legacy justice.