Maybe you remember the giant orange chicken that made Hemming Park fountain its home last year until it took flight last month? The mastermind behind the 600-pound sculpture crafted from parking cones was artist Lana Shuttleworth, a Jacksonville-native who recently returned home after a life chapter in L.A. Right now you can see her work along with Matthew S. Bennett and Jan Tomlinson at The Space Gallery downtown. We asked Lana to share about her experience as an artist and life in Duval. If you hit art walk this week, be sure to check out the “more than this” exhibit. We are super stoked for this new gallery space downtown!
Tell us a little bit about your journey as an artist. When did you realize that this was your path?
In college, I studied at Florida State to get my BA. As part of the curriculum I had to take a humanities course, so I took an art class. It was at this point that I was bitten by the art bug.
Safety cones are your primary medium. Why and how did you become so inspired by their versatility?
Safety cones are like an urban leather to me. The “pelts” are malleable and pliable like leather and can be cut with the average box cutter. Safety cones have many colors and hues. They are not just orange. There are blue, white and chartreuse safety cones; some of which have interior hues that are pink, peach and yellow.
What brought you to Jacksonville?
I grew up in Jacksonville before I moved to Los Angeles where I lived for 15 years. I moved back because I missed Spanish moss and sweet tea, along with Southern Hospitality.
How has living in NE Florida impacted your artwork?
There is a special feel to the nature-scapes of North Florida. I plan to create some intracoastal and marsh scenes this year.
We are living in a time where our national political leadership is devaluing the importance of the arts in society. What do you say to the next generation of artists coming up in this environment?
We can’t be complacent with something as important as the Arts to leave it up to the government. We have to do our part to support culture, to preserve our beautiful environment and to be good stewards of the earth. It is ours.
Check out Lana’s work at The Space Gallery in downtown Jacksonville.