Great State: Painting Me Softly

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — The artist’s muse strikes unpredictably. Sitting in his studio, Trent Lawson can think about the gallery that called and asked him to paint a little something on velvet for a show, and how he enjoyed it more than he thought he would. “I just discovered I had a knack for it,” he said, “So I kind of filed that information away for when I was ready for a change or a break from what I was doing.”

For most of a decade Lawson produced more traditional types of paintings. They were modern in style but still rendered on stretched canvas. Then he discovered he needed that change. The first velvet painting, of dogs playing mah jongĀ sold quickly.

Trent stayed true to the velvet classics but with even more of a pop culture twist. He did an Elvis painting but had the ‘King’ in a Han Solo outfit and pose from a Star Wars movie poster.

Trent painted a portrait of Henry VIII but Henry is holding a gun and looks a lot like the Walter Sobchak character from the movie, ‘The Big Lebowski’. “I’m just having fun,” he said. “I don’t know for sure but I think velvet is making a comeback.” “There’s just nothing else like it as a medium.”

As we watched Lawson worked on a painting he mixed the Golden Arches of MacDonald’s with Batman arch villain the Joker. A caption reads, ‘Why So Delicious?’

Lawson’s classics are all from the late 20th and early 21st Centuries. “It just seems like it’s all perfectly suited for velvet.”

Barney Fife as James Bond. OKC Thunder mascot Rumble as King Kong, you get the idea. Velvet is hard to paint on. It’s unforgiving. It stretches too much, but if you want to make a commentary on the stuff we know and love in today’s culture then Trent argues velvet really is king.