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Inside the Artist’s Studio: Cora Rountree

Tattoo You

By Derrick White

Start Me Up – When I asked local artist, Cora Rountree what started her on the path to becoming an artist she answered, “Art is the only thing I was ever good at or made sense to me. I was always coloring, crafting, or making the best school project possible when I was a kid.”

I first met Cora more than ten years ago in the art department at Tyler Junior College. Her unique talents, work ethic, and quirky personality stood out, and she was soon selected as one of the performance grant students. Performance grant students are given a modest scholarship and charged with exhibiting their artwork. A student showcase allows artists exposure as well as the experience of creating exhibition-ready work. Students display their art at a professional level and are integral in curating and installing the show.

“After receiving the performance grant and learning I could, in fact, be an artist made me switch to an art major,” remembers Cora.

Hang Fire – After TJC, Cora transferred to The Art Institute of Atlanta and received a B.F.A degree in Illustration and Graphic Design. “There was a lot of trial and error trying to figure out how to make money with art but still have creative freedom. I tried working professionally as a graphic designer for a while. I made things from wedding invitations to billboards to cycling apparel, but I was losing my creativity. When I made the move back to East Texas to be near family, I decided to make a career change, a big one,” Cora states.

Slave – It turns out Cora needed to find the right medium and tools for her creative expression, one she could passionately be a slave to, and it continues to hold her interest. The artist affirms, “I kept doing magazine ads for a company in Denver. I began teaching painting at Pinot’s Palette while I apprenticed to become a tattoo artist. I was spending all of my time looking at tattoos, drawing tattoos, and spending all of my money on tattoos, so it made sense to me. I now, on a daily basis, sell my artwork. Before I became a tattoo artist, I would sell a painting every now and then. Now, for the last three years I work by appointment only, people send me ideas, and I create something special just for them. Tattooing is definitely the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. It’s permanent, no erasing. Your canvas moves, complains, and bleeds. Your machine vibrates, the needle vibrates, and your back hurts. There are so many factors, but the fact people daily ask for me to put my artwork on them forever amazes me. Paintings can be damaged in fire, floods, tornados, or stolen by a roommate. A tattoo is with the person until they die, or lose a limb.”

Neighbors – Cora lives on a small farm in the woods outside of Tyler with her many animal neighbors currently consisting of four dogs, two donkeys, two turtles, a tortoise, and some fish. She spends most of her time at Red Rooster Tattoo (1214 E. Marshall Ave., Longview) with a very talented group of artists, including her mentor who taught her the art of tattooing, Tyler Weisenberger. She laughs, “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be able to give people forever art. He actually introduced me to my boyfriend, his brother.”

Worried About You – Every career and situation comes with its own set of frustrations. Before, for Cora, it was not being able to make enough money from doing something she loved. “In my current job the most frustrating part is putting your heart into something, and then it’s not what the client has in mind. No worries. We will continue to work together and find a happy medium.

Tops – “We at Red Rooster Tattoo want to give people the best tattoo possible. Each of us has our own unique style, and we place people with the best artist for the tattoo they want, states Cora. You can check out Red Rooster on Facebook or Instagram at Red Rooster Tattoo.

Heaven – Cora’s favorite artist is Sandi Calistro (Denver based painter and tattoo artist). “When I lived in Atlanta, I went to an art show and saw one of her paintings of a circus lady holding a monkey, very stylized with large eyes but still perfect. She even drew little tattoos all over the lady. I can still see it perfectly years later. I looked her up on the internet and realized she was a tattoo artist as well and living in Denver. I was already planning on moving to Denver so when I realized that’s where she lived, I immediately booked an appointment with her. I began going to get tattooed by her every few months for a few years. I still get tattooed by her actually. It was she and her co-worker that asked if I had ever considered being a tattoo artist. At the time I was making good money doing graphic design and thought I was set in my career and too old to make the change. She’s truly talented, and the way she does things are heavenly unmatchable,” exclaims Cora.

Waiting On A Friend – When asked about some of the most important things art brings to her life Cora replies, “People and happiness. Some of my best friends and most important people in my life I met somehow through art, whether from school, in a class, at a show, at a job. Art brings people into my life. Art brings happiness into my life as well. When I worked the corporate design jobs, I was overworked. I never did anything fun or creative for myself. I was losing who I was. I was becoming stagnant. Now working in a creative environment where everyone I work with is inventive, it keeps my creative juices flowing, and they push me to create which makes me happy. Making art is a release, a therapy in a sense. An artist could go crazy not being able to create.

Keep up with Cora’s art, tattoos, and/or animal shenanigans on Instagram at @lovecoratattoos.

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Tyler Museum of Art Creativity Camps Begin

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Tyler Museum of Art Creativity Camps 2018

9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. M-F * Ages 6-12 * $40 per day/$175 per week

TMA World Tour 2018      June 25-29

We’ll expand the visual arts to include music and performance. In addition to our visual art activities, our young artists will make musical instruments, learn a song, and play a mini-concert at the end of the week.

Upside-down and Backward      July 9-13

Everything looks different from a fresh perspective. Drawing underwater, painting with spaghetti, there’s no telling what will happen when we change the way we make art. This camp is all about real creativity, and our young artists will help us brainstorm up new, exciting projects all week long.

Beachcombers’ Paradise     July 16-20

Love the seashore but hate sunburns and foot-scorching sand? Come explore marine environments through art! Biology, art and fun merge into one great experience as we learn about the weird, wonderful world of sea life and environments, and express our new knowledge through art.

5 Days Away from Rose City   July 23-27

Some of the country’s greatest artists call the Lone Star State home. We will explore the geographical regions of Texas and the artists who gain inspiration in them, ending up right here in East Texas.

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6×6@110 Continues at Gallery Main Street

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Skip the line, purchase tickets in advance HERE.
Purchase VIP tickets HERE.

The annual 6×6@110 is an art fundraising project to benefit Gallery Main Street in Downtown Tyler, Texas. The gallery is a City of Tyler facility operated with the cooperation of the Downtown Tyler Arts Coalition, an all-volunteer group of artists who schedule and jury fine arts exhibits and organize projects. All of the net proceeds of 6×6@110 will go to support those activities.

The annual 6×6@110 fundraising project will be held June 6th at 6pm. Each piece will be sold for $20, with all proceeds going to help fund the City of Tyler Main Street Department, which operates Gallery Main Street.

The name “6×6@110” reflects the fact that all artwork sold in the show will be 6”x6”, and will be shown at Gallery Main Street at 110 W. Erwin, Downtown Tyler.

For more info on this project go to downtowntylerarts.com, call (903)593-6905, or follow the Downtown Tyler Facebook Page.

The 2017 6×6@110 featured over 1000 works by hundreds of participants. The project earned the distinction of receiving the Best Promotional Event award from the Texas Downtown Association.

First Solo Show Opening

Help celebrate the opening of Gallery Main Street’s first fine art solo artist exhibit on Saturday, May 12th, 5:30-8pm. This free event will feature the opportunity to meet the artist and be among the first to see and purchase pieces from the exhibit. The exhibit will run through June 4th.

The jury will select the top three groups of submittals and then additional information and show descriptions will be submitted. The jury will review all additional information and will announce the solo artist on April 28th.

Other Upcoming Exhibits

Remaining shows this year are:

  • Solo Show #1 – Opening May 12th
  • “6x6x10” – Deadline June 1st, opening June 6th
  • Solo Show #2 – Deadline June 17th, opening July 14th
  • “Assemblies” – Deadline July 29th, opening August 11th
  • “Alternate Perspective” – Deadline September 30th, opening October 13th
  • Holiday Market – Deadline November 25th, opening December 8th

You can enter your art at DowntownTylerArts.com. For more info call (903)593-6905 or go to DowntownTylerArts.com.

Gallery Main Street features a new exhibit of original art approximately every eight weeks. Each exhibit opens with a Saturday evening reception that features music, an opportunity to meet the artists, refreshments, and more. The Opening Receptions are free and open to the public.

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Art Events Warming Up For Summer

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Events & Classes

June 16th (11am-11:30pm) June 17th (11am-4pm) – Junebug Art and Music Festival – Calling all artists! Junebug is an annual community Art and Music festival with an afternoon farmers market. This event encompasses art in its many forms. There will be teachers of weaving and soap making, along with hands on pottery wheel demonstrations. Attendees’ senses will be engulfed by the sights, sound, smell, and feel of all that is to be offered at this very unique art event in a very quaint little artsy community. The show will offer up a stage filled with eclectic musicians, bands, and songwriters. Saturday there will be a community Farmers Market where locals can sell their organic and/or locally sourced products. Vendor and artist applications are available at theforgebenwheeler.com. The family-friendly festival, which is located in the tiny art enclave of Ben Wheeler,TX, highlights the work of artists, musicians, and artisans from the Lone Star state. Headquartered on the three-acre park-like property surrounding the FORGE (a local restaurant, bar, and music venue), the festival will give attendees an opportunity to witness the creative process through “live art” displays as well as the chance to actively join in the process. For more information email junebugsummerfair@gmail.com.

June 22nd (7-9pm) – Paperbark Studio Pop Up will be held at Strada Caffe, 302 E. Front St., Tyler. Come join us for a pop-up art show featuring Paperbark Studio as well as craft beer, wine, and small plates, espresso bar and pastry case. Come enjoy a wonderful summer evening of local art!

June 26th (6-8pm) – Kids Canvas Paint Party – Tyler Parks and Recreation is hosting a Kids Paint Party at the Glass Recreation Center for children ages 7-12 years old. For more information, please visit TylerParksandRec.com.

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