We had the good fortune of connecting with Lynette Charters and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lynette, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
Women from a young age are encouraged to succeed and at the same time, take on a supportive role. They juggle multiple responsibilities while being pressured to look picture-perfect. Women often do not get the compensation and recognition they deserve. Our accomplishments are frequently uncompensated, appropriated, unrecorded and rarely applauded outside the realm of domesticity. My art is dedicated to showing in a non-aggressive manner how women are presented but not represented in art, society, and history. I’m very excited that the series is creating so much interest and speaks to a broad spectrum of folk. I’m especially happy when parents bring their kids to my shows. If I can arm girls or women with the courage to speak up, or anyone at all with the will to look further than the accepted perspective, then I have succeeded. My series stands in support of any section of society who is underrepresented, less acknowledged or less compensated.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I was educated in Fine Art, earning my MFA at Chelsea in London before jumping into the animation business. I followed the work to various different countries before landing in Los Angeles working for Dreamworks and Warner Bros. The work dried up for me when the industry transferred over to digital and at the same time I had my son. We had no money for childcare and no family support. Financially I was back where I’d started. My advice would be to start small. I found that starting small spurred me on to the slightly bigger things until the collection became an installation with a performance. I found that I had to be creative about making time for my art but it hasn’t always been easy and I realize for many, it’s not always possible. Find a medium you enjoy working with and/or a subject you’re passionate about, these things will keep you going. Look at great art and learn why you like it and where it belongs in history. Surround yourself with supportive people who are willing to share with you their honest opinions. Criticism can be our best friend even if not delivered in a constructive manner. It’s important to figure out where they’re coming from and if they have a valid point. Most artworks take way longer than people think they do so be prepared to work hard. There is no way we can please everyone, so we show the labour of our love, and hope that people hear our message, whatever that might be. Being lost in focus with your art can be the best company….what have you got to lose? I started painting The Missing Women Series in recognition of my kids tackling the same gender issues that I grew up with. In childhood we’re bombarded with information about how we’re expected to exist in our assigned gender. In the history books taught in schools, the representations of women and their bodies are mostly seen from a caucasian, heterosexual male’s perspective. Both men and women are so accustomed to seeing women’s bodies as objects that it leaves women’s own experiences of themselves neglected or difficult to describe. Effectively this turns into a form of censorship. It is very difficult to use the image of a woman’s body and to have it speak from her own point of view. What sets The Missing Women Series apart, and what I am most proud of is that the series reproduces the attention-commanding image of the woman’s body, but uses it to speak for herself, speak to her own issues of how she is presented, and how her achievements are a void in history. This is true in the art world, just 11% of all acquisitions at 26 prominent U.S. museums over the past decade were of work by women artists. Data analysis of 18 major U.S. museums found their collections to be 87% male and 85% white. (From the Guerrilla Girls website.) Many women suffer the challenges of financial insecurity, which is exacerbated by the current pandemic as women disproportionately leave work to provide care for family members. Support is essential and I’m looking forward to the day when all women get the full recognition and support they deserve. Upcoming shows include: The Missing Women Series solo show in June 2021 at Gallery 839, 1105 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505 Collaboration in Sept 2021 with Leonie Castelino, Dustan Osborn, Irene Osborn and Esmeralda Lyn. Curated by Bibiana Huang Matheis, at The Hammond Museum, 28 Deveau Road, North Salem, NY 10560
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A great day out in Los Angeles can be had without a car. It begins with the Metro L Gold Line or other Metro train/bus route to the Chinatown station in downtown LA. near College and Spring St. Hop off and explore the interesting and unusual shops along Hill St and Broadway. Grab a morning snack at the Phoenix Bakery. Then, if you have your walking shoes on, head off down Spring St. toward Union Station (or hop back on the Metro L Gold Line and take it to the station). Once at Union Station admire the Spanish Colonial Revival and Art Deco styles of this historic landmark. Then head across the street and explore Olvera St., center of the old pueblo. Then head back to the station and take the Metro B Red line to Civic Center/Grand Park. Walk down Hill St. to Grand Central Market and have lunch there at one of the great vendors. From here, you can head back the same way you came, red line to Union Station, to Chinatown, etc. Or if you want to spend even more time in the area before you return, take the Angel’s Flight up to California Plaza and explore. Or visit the Museum of Contemporary Art next door. MOCA is the only artist founded gallery in Los Angeles. Always innovative and contemporary. Norton Simon Museum is a wonderful museum walking distance from the shopping district in Pasadena. It is a beautiful building in beautiful grounds and has a wide range of art from different cultures to explore. Not too big, not too small. Arroyo Seco mini-golf is one of my family’s favorite places. Tucked out of the way play a fun round of old school mini-golf and then eat at the Arroyo Seco Grill. Mission St. in South Pasadena has a fun range of mom and pop owned shops. The Dinosaur Farm, The Fairoaks Pharmacy, The Firefly Bar and Grill (with occasional live music.) Something for everyone.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to the Downtown Women’s Center. Homelessness bears especially hard on women. https://downtownwomenscenter.org/#
Both photos credited to: John Serembe