Lori Stewart Tannis: Where Life Meets Art!

by:  A Kelective Muse & We Rise and Shine

Lori moved to NYC 16 years ago to expand her knowledge of film-making at the school of visual arts. Lori has always enjoyed writing stories and has a knack for storytelling; however directing is her first love. Realizing that the film-making process requires a team, she began to take personal breaks away from the process. In 2009, painting became a personal outlet to de-stress. Her work quickly graduated from painting sneakers, shoes and purses, to more extensive abstract art.

Lori is an artist by nature, as she lives every day with art in her life. Her world revolves around creating sets and interior design, using Instagram in the morning and evening as inspirations to create her ever evolving story of life and art. 

What is the boldest thing you've ever done?

In 2011 my boyfriend (now husband) produced his first gallery show, for Black History Month. He asked me to be one of the twelve featured artists. At the time, I was in a weird artistic space had not been writing. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to showcase, I created an installation/performance art piece around a fictional character named Iya. The idea was to show a glimpse into her world through a mixture of memorabilia, trinkets, hand written notes, and photos that were found in her room. These items were personal keepsakes of her recently deceased grandmother. I wanted to give the audience an opportunity to witness the emotional highs and lows that Iya experienced while coming in contact with these objects. Having a live actress within the space would give the audience a first hand look into her pain, sadness, and everything that was evoked while being in her room. 

How do you find inspiration?

I am inspired by many things. Walking around New York City is the best! I’m from Chicago and love travelling to Paris and the islands, but this city has a powerful energy. The architecture is beautiful. You can make a turn and the tourists are admiring things that you never noticed. In my downtime, I enjoy searching Instagram for new artists, exploring galleries, watching old black and white movies, and talking with my husband who is multitalented.

What is the biggest lesson you learned to date?

Sharing my gift! There was a time when I didn't care who saw it, as long as I was enjoying myself.  I did not want my work to be judged. However, I learned that when you’re blessed to have talents, keeping them to yourself is not fair to the world. My husband taught me about marketing and branding. If you don’t market, someone who might need to be inspired by your work will not see it. And if you’re doing it right, you can still be true to yourself.  I began to create a platform to showcase, and in turn, it pushed me to create more. This lesson helped me realize, that you should never be afraid to find and share who you are and fulfill whatever dreams come along with that.

During my journey, I have also learned to use my talents simultaneously. You don’t have to be a master at one thing over here and then tap into the next talent at a different time. Accept all of your gifts and use them! 

What’s your favorite book?

“Women Who Run with the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés , she believes, what you put out is what you get back. 

What song do you listen to when you need inspiration?

I do not listen for inspiration. I use music to create a certain mood. Therefore the genres vary from hip hop to jazz, to Chicago house, to alternative artists and everything in between.


Follow Lori on Instagram:  @createdbylori