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William Kooienga, Woodworker

Posted: September 11th, 2011 | Filed under: artist, great face | Comments Off

Ended up in Woodbury, Tennessee, yesterday, at the White Oak Craft Fair. Met this fellow William Kooienga, who lives near Smithville, on 100 acres. I was struck by the veins in his arms. I shot some images of him, and left there with a cutting board. Great guy. He doesn’t eat sugar, and avoids most all processed foods. He did say he had been known to kill a deer though, and process it for the winter. See his work at Beech Hollow Studios.


Lisa Donovan: Pastry Chef, Artist, Mom

Posted: April 16th, 2011 | Filed under: artist, chef, feature, great face, restaurant | 5 Comments »

I think I first met Lisa Donovan and Maggie over at Allison Murasic’s house, last year, during one of Allison’s Red Barn Roundups. Maggie was playing with Jill Earl’s son, Ollie, and they made a striking young couple. Maybe it was combination of Ollie’s crazy-wild hair, and Maggie’s vivid blue eyes, but I had to stop to photograph them.

Lisa is married to John Donovan, who has a show up at Zeitgeist right now. They also have a son, Joseph, who attends the Waldorf School, on Hillsboro Road. Lisa went to art school, but soon followed another one of her passions, into food. She worked at City House, before coming over to Margot Cafe in East Nashville, to be Pastry Chef. See the photos below, for some of her creations.

Some people just have a radiance about them. Lisa just glows. Plus that trademark laugh. Stop in to Margot Cafe one night — have a light entree, and head right for the desserts and that famous french-press coffee.

(Above image): Lisa, with her daughter Maggie, at their school in East Nashville.

(Above image): Focaccia bread, at Margot’s.

(Above image): Lisa’s rhubarb pie.

(Above image): Chocolate praline pie, in the window, at Margot’s.

(Above image): From Margot Cafe, Lisa’s lemon cornmeal cake with strawberries and cream.

(Above image): Pralines, right out of the oven.

(Video): Lisa, in the kitchen at Margot Cafe, and with her daughter at school.

All photographs and content © 2011 Mark Tucker. All rights reserved.


Alicia Henry: Fine Art and Teaching

Posted: April 13th, 2011 | Filed under: artist, dog, painter | 4 Comments »

I was nervous driving to Alicia Henry’s home this past week. She was the first real art celebrity that I’d be photographing for this project. I’d seen her show at Zeitgeist Gallery a few months ago and was really moved by it. One piece in particular literally brought me to tears.

My friend Lain York had put me in contact with her, but was concerned that she might not get back to me — said she was very committed to her work and kept a low profile, when she wasn’t teaching at Fisk University. (That scored points with me. Respect points). So when my phone rang a couple of weeks ago, and it was Alicia on the line, (sounding hesitant and reluctant to be photographed), I got very excited that she’d even called me back.

When I arrived at her home, near the Fisk campus, she greeted me at the door with a warm smile, and even helped me drag my gear into the house. In the kitchen, she was making homemade granola. It was a beautiful old southern home — the residence downstairs, and a studio on the second floor. The feeling in her home was like turning back to the clock to 1945 or so. She asked if I had dogs, and I told her my long story about losing Dottie and Clyde. She went to the basement door and let her three sweet dogs into the house to meet me. Madden, a large German shepherd was ten years old, which seemed very old for a large dog. Her hips were going, but she was still full of spunk. Tango was a little Chihuahua mix, and Missy appeared to be a beagle mix.

We shot some portraits downstairs, and then she took me upstairs to the studio where she did her work. Every room upstairs was filled with works in progress. Faces; full length figures that were life size; all painted on fabric. Either starting with felt, or burlap. Some were stitched. All of them with multiple layers of depth. I wanted to shoot some video of her, explaining the work, but she declined and smiled. Shown below are some of the pieces that were on her walls.

Here is the description of her work from the Zeitgeist site. I’m not much on art talk; I’d just advise seeing the work in person. Walk up very close and really feel it.

Isolation and interaction is a common recurring idea in my work. I am interested in the complexities and the contradictions surrounding familial relationships as well as societal differences and how these variations affect individual and group responses to themes of Beauty, the Body, and Identity. My current work explores these ideas, addressing the process through which groups (specifically female) navigate these issues. This installation will investigate this in five parts. Through a depiction of the roles that age, class, gender, nationality, and race, have in the idea of Households.

I know I’m posting a lot of similar portraits of Alicia, but I just loved her face and her spirit. She’s an Old Soul, but also funny and warm and sweet. I kept asking her about herself, and her history and her work, but she always deflected it back toward me — asking about my work and my motivation. It was like a fun game of Mental Chess. Very enjoyable.

(Above image): Beautiful light pouring into the front foyer area of Alicia’s home. With Madden and Tango.

(Above image): Second-floor workroom/studio area, with works in progress.

(Above image): Front porch, with Tango, Madden, and Missy.

(Above image): Second-floor workroom/studio area.

(Above image): Second-floor workroom/studio area.

(Above image): Second-floor workroom/studio area.

(Above image): Two classic Beware Of Dog signs that she used to keep in her back yard area. But they began to wear with weather, and she liked them well enough to bring them inside to preserve them. I agree.

(Above image): Classic southern front porch.


Dave Cloud: Lounge Singer, Performance Artist

Posted: March 4th, 2011 | Filed under: artist, feature, great face, musician, singer | 3 Comments »

The first words I heard about Dave Cloud were “Budweiser” and “Springwater”. So that’s got to add up to trouble. Angela Messina had worked with him, with Harmony Korine, on a Bud commercial in Angela’s basement. Then I heard that he’d done over 300 performances at The Springwater, which must count for something. Just to survive that. So I meet Dave over there one afternoon about 3 o’clock, and we get to know each other, shoot some portraits, and hear his story. Fascinating character. Sitting in the background, in the video, is Gary Gray.


Lain York: Artist & Zeitgeist Gallery

Posted: March 4th, 2011 | Filed under: artist, feature, great face, painter | 1 Comment »

It seems to me that, most everything in the arts world in Nashville sooner or later goes through Lain York. He’s the center of the cog. All roads lead to Lain. He and Janice Zeitlin manage Zeitgeist Art, in Hillsboro Village.

I first came across Lain, years ago, when I began to participate in the Untitled Group. Untitled is a group of artists that come together to host one-night art shows in various venues around town. We’d generally meet around 3pm, begin to empty out a restaurant or an empty space, begin to assemble wall units, and then rig up some temporary lighting, hang a complete show, and then people would begin to flow into the space around 6pm. By 10pm, the show would close, and we’d completely tear down the space, and return it to its previous condition by about midnight.

Lain simply cares about the arts scene, and he cares about people. Pure and simple. Great guy. He wants the best for Nashville, and does the hard work to make it happen. Selfishly, I also always thought he had a great face, and I always was looking for an excuse to photograph him. He reminds me of some football player, or rugby player, from the 1930′s, back when football helmets didn’t have face guards.


Tom Mason: Performance Artist

Posted: March 3rd, 2011 | Filed under: artist, feature, great face, musician | 4 Comments »

I met Tom Mason many years ago. We chose him as talent for a PacifiCare campaign. Not sure what we cast him as, but all I remember was that he had a nice spirit, and a great face.

When we photographed him last week, we met near his home, in Shelby Park. It was pouring rain, and we hid out in a picnic area in the park. He brought his Shakespearean books, his trumpet, his mandolin, his scarves, and his monologue! The rainy weather was just perfect for his Irish brogue and his speech. We’d wait for a break in the rain, and make a run for it, out to the riverfront, shoot our take, and then make a run for it, back to the picnic cover.

Tom Mason is part magician; part pirate; part Irish; but 100% imagination and spirit. (Watch the video below).


Sarah Souther: The Girl with the Infectious Laugh

Posted: March 3rd, 2011 | Filed under: artist, feature, food, great face, retail, yoga | 8 Comments »

I kept hearing about this Sarah Souther girl. Everyone saying, “You’ve got to include her in your project!”. But I didn’t get it about the marshmallow thing; what’s so interesting about that? But then I got to know her, and she’s just a joy to be with. She spent her first 24 years in Ireland, then followed a man here to Nashville. Now she’s here, teaching yoga, and running a designer marshmallow company in East Nashville. She’s also an artist that works with silk. I think the plan is for her to soon move to the Marathon Building, and expand her business. Watch the video, below, and tell me you can’t be with her without smiling.

(Added later: Sarah's sweet daughter, Anja).


Buddy Jackson: Sculptor, Musician

Posted: February 16th, 2011 | Filed under: artist, good friend, musician | Comments Off


Angela Messina: Textiles, Music, Art

Posted: February 15th, 2011 | Filed under: artist, designer, musician | 1 Comment »

I bought a house in 12South neighborhood in 2005. When I’d leave my house on Gilmore, and drive toward 8th Avenue, I’d always drive by this one particular house that caught my eye. Imagine a small house, and the front porch would be covered with giant handmade cobwebs made of fabric. I think maybe, at one point, there were also baby dolls out there too, hanging and suspended from the gutters. It was definitely not your run of the mill 12 South yuppie presentation. So I made a mental note to one day meet this person who lived there. When this MyDayWith project came along, it seemed the perfect excuse. As it turns out, the producer that’s helping me with this knew her previously — a commercial had been shot in her basement, and Lisa had met her at that time.

So the resident of this wonderful home is Angela Messina. She went to college in Memphis, and majored in textiles. Now, she’s a musician, and works in art department for film, here in Nashville. She worked on that incredible photo session for Jack White and the Raconteurs, that Steven Berkman shot on collodion. She showed me the vinyl version of the record while I was at her home; it’s quite the accomplishment.

What drives her are patterns. Patterns and graphics. And even better if the sun is shining thru a window, casting a patterned shadow on an existing pattern. Angela’s home is packed with her obsessive creations: fabric mazes on the ceilings; a sewing room in one bedroom, packed to the gills; a bookmobile in her driveway, that’ll one day be a traveling art gallery; the back yard is painted, with fabric hanging from the bushes. She is simply a pure, pure artist — she lives to create. Her back porch is a meditative, calming area, with a bench seat and a table, and a screened in area, to let the breeze pass through on a summer night.