LaDara McKinnon is an abstract artist based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scroll down to get to know LaDara more and see some of her bright and colorful original abstract artwork.
LaDara McKinnon Charlotte, NC Abstract Artist
How would you describe your artistic style?
My artistic style is expressive and free-flowing. It is driven by cross-cultural experiences growing up in Okinawa, Japan and Oahu, Hawaii. I choose to use abstraction with well-balanced bold and contrasting colors, layers, and mark-making to convey deeper meanings.
What’s the main inspiration for your art?
The main inspiration for my art is nature. Nature gives us so many rich colors, formations, and compositions to draw from. I create original abstract paintings by pairing my love for nature with self expression and classical techniques.
What is the biggest goal you try to achieve with your art?
The biggest goal with my art is to create cultural syncretism. My work combines aspects of multiple cultures into pieces that either invite constant discovery or capture attention to create lasting moments of introspection and outward conversation.
What’s your favorite thing about being an abstract artist?
My favorite thing about being an abstract artist is the freedom to create and express myself. As someone who deals with dyslexia, I am able to discuss complex emotions and topics through abstraction. The colors, movements, and layers reveal or conceal my thoughts, but my paintings are usually named according to the emotion or topic that I want the viewer to engage with.
Why abstract art and not other styles? Have you always created abstract art or did you start out creating other styles?
Abstract art is my preferred medium, although I am classically trained, highly-skilled, and have taught others in other mediums. I choose abstract because during the experimentation phase of my training, it garnered the most emotion and personal connection. It provided me with a whole-body experience that I hadn’t had with other mediums. As a child, I started out drawing anime and then I was recognized in my Japanese elementary school for a cityscape. When I rediscovered art as an adult, I started with still lifes and experimented with metal-smithing, ceramics, and installation. Abstract is where I feel most at home.
If you could describe your art in three words, what would they be?
Joyful, Freeing, and Vivid
What’s one thing people might not know about you and/or your art journey so far?
When I first started college, I was an accounting major. I was often doodling in the margins of my homework. This was the beginning of my art journey though, because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I felt accounting was a sure bet to having a stable life. One day my partner saw my doodles on my accounting homework then suggested that I switch my major to art and the rest is history.
Did you always know you’d be an artist or how has your art journey progressed?
I think I always wanted to be an artist, but I never knew that I would be an artist. For a while, I gave up on artistry as being a valid career path because I didn’t want to be a “starving artist.” I thought that being an accountant was a more suitable career path and would allow me to have a comfortable lifestyle. However, once I re-discovered my passion for art, my art journey has progressed quite a bit. I have obtained a degree as a Fine Artist, had some really incredible experiences, opportunities, and collaborations.
In your opinion, what’s the most important personal characteristic needed to embark on a career as an artist?
Authenticity is the most important personal characteristic needed to have a career as an artist. Staying true to yourself, your practice, and your mission is essential because there are so many other artists and so much that you will learn. When you are honest about who you are and where you are on your journey people when you accomplish your goals you will truly be proud of yourself.
What advice would you give up and coming abstract artists?
My best advice for up and coming abstract artists is to experiment with your process and different mediums to figure out what most aligns with what you want for yourself and your brand. Be authentic with your process and enjoy the journey! Also, learn the fundamentals of art to help you with your work.
Do you have any favorite podcasts or books that you love and that have contributed to your journey as an artist?
There has been many things that have contributed to my journey such as You Are A Badass book series by Jen Sincero, Side Hustle Pro podcast by Nicaila Okome, and so many others.
What’s your most fulfilling and enjoyable experience as an artist so far?
My most fulfilling experience so far has to be when I am teaching and I get to see the “lightbulb” turn on in my students minds. The most enjoyable thing is seeing how many different type of people can relate to my work and have real emotional engagement with it.
Where do you see yourself and your art in 5 years?
I see myself traveling internationally with my art, participating in residencies, hosting retreats, and owning my own community art studio for artists at all levels.
What do you love most about abstract art?
Do you have any favorite quotes?