Tell us who you are and what you do!
My name is Terrance Vann and I am an artist from Wilmington Delaware. I am mainly a visual artist and painter right now but I like to dibble and dabble in all things creative. I’ve been making art pretty much my whole life, but I first got my start with music when I started playing trombone in 4th grade. As I got better at trombone I eventually got accepted into Cab Calloway School for the Arts, which is an arts middle and high school here in Delaware. The school really changed my life because I have been surrounded by artists ever since. I graduated and I got accepted into the School of Visual Arts in NYC, which is one of the top art colleges in the nation, so I thought my dream came true, but it was way too expensive and I had to drop out after my freshman year.
I went back to school for interactive media to get a job because I didn’t think I could make it as an artist and I was working a corporate job for about two years after that, but I slowly felt a burning passion to get back to my art. So after three years of not painting I decided I wanted to put my first show together and force myself to make something happen with my craft. After months of work I had my first show, “Life Through Color” which ended up with a few hundred people attending and completely changed my life forever almost overnight. Since then I have been blessed to do shows, live paint at concerts and now I am currently working on my biggest project to date which is a 60 square foot mural in my home town of Wilmington. Art is my life at this point so everyday I am just thinking of ways to do different things and push myself creatively.
What is the inspiration for your work?
My main inspiration is honestly just life and the experiences that it brings. I’ve seen a lot of interesting things in my life and bits and pieces of my experiences flow in and out of my work in different ways. Whether it was someone’s face or something someone said in a conversation to spark an idea. I kind of sponge everything life throws at me.
Painting is such therapy so it helps me to express myself and get my ideas out in a creative way, but I first got my love for painting and color from writing graffiti. Graffiti and its culture is one of the biggest influences on me and how I go about my paintings, so that has lead to the development of my style alot. Plus, after you have hung off the side of a 100 foot ledge to spray your name you kind of lose fear about putting your work out there on a canvas. That mentality helped me get my work out there as well.
What would you say to prevent an upcoming artist from making the same mistakes you have made?
I would tell them to stay the course especially when things get difficult if they really want to make it happen. It takes time to get your style and ideas together and stay consistent at the same time. The thing is, if you keep going and focus on improving, nothing bad can come from that so it’s just good to stay positive and keep moving forward, but you have to always be aware of yourself and your surroundings. In the beginning things will seem unimaginable but anything is possible out here and it took me a long time to fully understand that.
What obstacles have you faced as a Black Artist/Business Owner?
I honestly haven’t faced too many obstacles because of my Blackness. I’ve had corny things happen where my art wasn’t necessarily people’s taste, but even then folks tend to still appreciate the aesthetic and are genuinely interested in learning more. I think visual art is one of the main connectors of human beings on this planet, so usually if you have good technique people tend to rock with you. I try not to view things as obstacles though because situations are just learning experiences. You have to just do you and not compromise and if you stand tall most of the time people have no choice but to respect it.