By Sheena Barnett
TUPELO – Hurricane Katrina took everything from artists Kat Fitzpatrick and Lori Gordon – except their art.
The pair are exhibiting the art they’ve created since the storm at the Caron Gallery, and it’s the first time they’ve had a dual exhibit with each other.
“When you’re first confronted with a hurricane, or a tornado, it’s so hard to see your future, that your future can still be bright and happy,” Gordon said. “We’ve been through it, and we came out on the other side.”
Both artists find it fitting that they’re exhibiting in Tupelo so soon after the April 28 tornado. They’re donating 10 percent of their sales to the CREATE Foundation’s disaster relief fund, and anyone directly affected by the tornado can attend their workshops for free.
A mixed media artist, Gordon took pieces of debris from Hurricane Katrina to create her artwork.
“The way I healed after the storm was to create,” she said, “and in times like this, people turn to religion, to faith.”
Many of her designs include a religious theme, whether it’s the image of Jesus or a saint.
“I have no degree in art, but a masters in religious studies,” she said. Her pieces mix battered pieces of debris and rich colors.
She’s still working with debris, which she finds inspirational, as well as inspirations she picks up on her travels around the world.
She’s created a nonprofit in Morocco that helps provide a living wage for Moroccan craftspeople.
Fitzpatrick’s work is created with and inspired by nature.
Her medium is encaustic, a style that combines melting beeswax and damar crystals. It’s an ancient style dating back 1,800 years.
The pieces on display at the Caron Gallery were inspired by her sister’s battle with emphysema and heart failure.
“It started creeping into the art, and I started creating cellular forms,” she said.
The collection also includes bigger pieces of nature, such as butterflies and bees.
“It was like I was seeing her healthy and whole. These are like her get well cards,” she said.
Her pieces are colorful and shiny, giving them a sense of energy.
Fitzpatrick kept bees for a while, which helped her artwork. She used to create with other supplies, such as oils, and she still works with those occasionally.
“I’ve been working with beeswax for 10 years now,” she said, “and I’ve never found any reason to go back.”
HAVE A LOOK
• What: Dual exhibit by Lori Gordon and Kat Fitzpatrick
• Where: Caron Gallery, Tupelo
• When: Thru June 21. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday (until 7 p.m. Thursdays), 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays.
• Cost: Free
• Info: (662) 205-0351
Both artists will host two-day workshops at the GumTree Museum of Art. Kat Fitzpatrick’s encaustic workshop is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 20-21. It’s $300, and that includes all of the supplies.
Lori Gordon’s accordion artbook workshop is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. May 30-31. It’s $200, which includes supplies.
The workshops are open to artists of all levels. Anyone directly affected by the tornado can attend the workshops for free. Register for workshops by calling (662) 205-0351.