creates works to combat prejudice
By KENNETH A. HARRIS
Tracey Stevens believes all men are created equal. When Stevens tries to express
her beliefs, she creates either positive or negative reactions --nothing In between.
The reactions to her work "Created Equal" run similarly from one extreme
to the other.
"Oh, that's gross," a teen-age girl screamed Sunday
after a quick look at the piece.
Stevens was one of more than 100 artists who displayed works Sunday afternoon
at the city's Central Park Art Festival. The event, sponsored by Sun Bank, featured
magic and live music as well as works of art.
Outdoor vendors lined the downtown sidewalks to provide festival-goers with a
variety of festive foods. Artists from around the country--skilled In watercolor,
kinetic sculpture and pottery --displayed and sold their crafts.
Appearing In her first exhibit, Stevens was featured as a mixed media artist,
combining sculpture, painting and other art forms to create a three-dimensional
One such work Is titled "Created Equal." Stevens turns plaster, cloth
and watercolor Into a call for racial and cultural harmony. Pictured are two Infants,
one black and the other white. The babies are Inverted, reaching out to each other
while floating in space. Each infant is tied to Its umbilical cord. Stars, a mother
planet and the Earth fill the background.
"The umbilical cord turns Into light, and, to me, that's a symbol of The
Creator," Stevens explained. "They have an aura around them; that's
the energy In all of us."
Stevens works as a graphic design manager for a local college. She said viewers
had strong reactions to the "Created Equal" artwork, the title of which
Is mentioned In works by America's forefathers, speeches by Dr. Martin Luther
King and In the Bible.
She calls the work a litmus test for viewers' racial attitudes.
"The ones that are real prejudiced, you can tell. They'll look at It and
leave," Stevens said. "They either love It or leave It."
Two other works--"The Earth Mother" and "World Bridge" --also
express Stevens' hope for racial and cultural equality. None of the three works
was for sale.
"I can't sell these paintings because of their message," Stevens said.
"I don't care If I don't make money on these works, as long as other people
Stevens combines spirituality,
environmentalism in artwork
Staff writer Winter Haven News Chief
At a time when showing concern about the environment is in fashion, artist and
graphics technician Tracey Stevens is way ahead of the game.
A woman who began drawing murals on the hallway walls of her home as a child,
Stevens creates three-dimensional paintings that deal with our home base of earth,
at the same time incorporating themes promoting the idea of equality between men.
"I'd like people to realize we need to get by all this garbage of racism
and sexism. Things are really happening with the earth that we need to pay attention
to or we won't have a place to live," said Stevens from her home recently.
A graphics designer at a local college, Stevens' work has been displayed at art
shows around the county. Three of her most notable pieces --"Earth Mother,"
"Created Equal" and "World Bridge"--are large 3-D works that
attract much attention from viewers. Reactions to her work don't fall into a gray
Some people relate to it in a positive way, and she's even received fan mail.
At times, others will let their negative feelings about her images be known. However,
she said that those who aren't into her messages will most often not question
her about her work but simply walk away. Stevens said a few have misinterpreted
her work as sacrilegious. But just when she gets negative comments, someone will
arrive to praise her efforts.
'It's most incredible," she noted. "Every time something negative comes
along, The Creator sends a positive person." She recalled an elderly woman
at an art show in Bartow who didn't like "Earth Mother." Moments later,
a class of young students stopped to view her work. They were drawn to "Created
Equal," a work showing a white infant and a black infant floating in space
connected by one umbilical cord.
"The teacher asked them what they thought it meant and the kids got it. 'It
means we're the same,' they said. I feel they walked away with a visual memory
of this concept," Stevens said, with obvious delight.
If one were to sum up Stevens' philosophy demonstrated in her work, it would be
this quote "There's one Creator, no matter what you call her or him;
one Earth, no matter what you term it; and we're one people," she said.
More than four years ago, Stevens attended a meeting in Orlando to learn meditation.
It was while meditating that she received her first 3-D "vision" that
would later become the basis for her art.
"Now I can't stop the images," she added. Sometimes coming to her in
meditation and sometimes in dreams, Stevens said she can usually remember the
visions well enough to sit down and sketch them. Just in case, she keeps a pad
and pencil by her bed.
While it's been a good deal of time since the ideas were in place, it took Stevens
much longer to learn how to construct her images concretely. Made mostly of cloth,
the 3-D structures are hardened with plaster and a plastic-like wax and then painted.
Her larger 3-D works were all constructed in the past year and a half with Stevens
drawing greatly upon her education in engineering.
Stevens has received invitations from galleries in Miami, Texas and California
but hasn't been able to afford the costs involved in transportation.
Stevens is working on a piece titled "True Nature." It will portray
three 3-D faces, each covered with paintings of elements of nature such as clouds
and the sky.
"The message is that we are all related on a larger scale, so we need to
take care of the earth. Our bodies are part of the earth and the basis of each
cell is energy," the artist said.
She is also planning a work that will demonstrate the universality of time. A
timeline beginning with white light, a symbol of The Creator, will follow man's
evolution and return to white light. This will be covered with a screen that will
represent "the web of time," Stevens said. Saying she's always been
very "spiritual" Stevens said spirituality doesn't have to conflict
"Everybody is at their own level, and they reflect where they're at. I've
always thought whatever anybody believes holds true for them," she said.