Lex Lumiere is an Artist and Fashion Photographer based out of NYC, but was raised in Texas. She curates, hosts and promotes Art Events for Non-profits. Her specialty is in visual branding, fashion editorials, creating advertising concepts and promotions for clients, models and luxury fashion apparel. With a degree in Business Management and over ten years’ experience in luxury apparel, Lex specializes in luxury Fashion & Editorial photography, creative concepts, television production and curating custom art exhibits. Themes of environmentalism, activism and spirituality flood Lex Lumiere’s collections. Her art is politically and energetically charged because, as she says, “it has to be, there is no point in creating artwork that does not strike a nerve or touch a soul.” Lex is also the founder of Healing HeARTS, focused on therapeutic arts & holistic services for stress reduction.
- You’re an award winning artist; oil painter, photographer, therapeutic arts educator, singer-songwriter, television producer, writer, charity promoter and radio host. Which is the most fulfilling? And if by some mischievous destiny you were forced to only pursue one of the above crafts, which would it be?
Lex Lumiere: Art is like a diamond, it has many facets regarding self-expression. When I was young, I had a martial arts Sensai that would touch you in the middle of your forehead (3rd Eye Chakra) with his finger during practice and say “No Mind.” It was his way of encouraging you to let go of your daily concerns and be fully present to step into the flow of the movements and moment. Art, in every form from painting to music, is the emptying of all the things you internalize in your daily life and letting it go into a creative form. The most fulfilling part for me is the actual process of creating something beautiful, it is a meditative experience to de-stress from the grind. If I had to only pursue one craft; it would be film or television production for therapeutic arts and holistic services because you can marry art, charity, music, photography, writing and storytelling into an educational platform and impact a wider audience. When you expose people to positive information focused on solutions rather than just negative fear based news, you never know who will be inspired or encouraged by your work to think differently or to raise the bar of their own performance.
- When did you first discover your creative talents and love of charity? And have you had any formal training in any of the above skills?
Lex Lumiere: My grandparents were professional artists that owned Cricchio Studios, a photography studio and bridal shop in the small town of Port Arthur and later Beaumont, Texas. My playground was a traditional photography studio, dark room and bridal shop full of glamorous gowns. My grandmother would host bridal fashion shows and take me to Dallas to the fashion market with her from a young age. So I was blessed to be trained in Black & White film and lighting by a family of two experts in their craft; my grandfather was a Master photographer who was a Kodak Camera Craftsman, one of the top 50 photographers in the world. While my grandmother Bea was also an award winning painter and the first minority women to be inducted into the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) for her oil painting skills. If she could not hand correct you’re negative, she would just paint your entire portrait, and she won tons of awards. In high school, I loved writing and was placed in advanced English, art & photography classes and joined the choir. However, I am more of a shy singer in the closet who prefers the studio over performing live. In college, I continued taking advanced art, oil painting and writing classes, guitar and entered the competitive world of fine art. I explored myself as a musician in our former band Vanity Inc and have written or sung backing vocals on about a hundred songs for different artists.
- Do you play any acoustic instruments or is your music electronically based? What secret talent would people be suprised to know you have?
Lex Lumiere: I took piano as a child but my teacher quit, so chopsticks is my go to piano song…lol…unless it is a jemba. I have great rhythm. Luckily, my high school choir teacher Mrs. Parsons was a stickler for reading sheet music and the metronome so it helped me tremendously when I started writing my own music in college. I hear melodies ‘out of the blue’ all the time, so I just hum them and my pianist would play them out on the spot and we hammer out the sheet music together. When we have a project that requires music, I hire real musicians with instruments to record in the studio, because it has a different dimension of sound than digital. When we send it off to a professional music producer and engineer to work their magic that is when the digital art and sound comes into play. My secret talent people would be surprised to know is I am a bad ass rap lyricist but cannot rap in real life worth a damn. I’ve got some songs for Drake, Iggy, DJ Khaled and Lecrae.
- What types of music and which artists do you currently prefer listening to?
Lex Lumiere: In the last few years, when my grandparents fell ill with cancer. I began to pay close attention to lyrics and what I was feeding my mind, body and spirit. Tuning in to see how all the music I was listening to was effecting me daily in my outlook on life, whether the music was influencing me to be more negative or positive minded. I started eliminating the negativity, minimalizing my life and letting go of materialistic excess and listening to music that was uplifting, inspiring or positive to counter act all the sadness or negativity I would deal with in life or see in the evening news. When I create art or write, I only listen to instrumental or classical music so I can hear my own thoughts; not the worlds noise and download my mental data. You can check out my Spotify list, but the music I listen to embodies many different genres and eras:
- Are your works predominantly based on real events and personal experiences, or are they drawn from your creative storytelling skills?
Lex Lumiere: All of my work; from my photography projects, music, artwork, television to paintings is drawn from personal experiences and spiritual lessons that I have encountered in my lifetime. Art is a medium I use to make people think differently on their life journey, to question ‘the system’ we were born into, and to create more beauty in the world.
- What inspired you to become involved in the Swan Lake, Houston Ballet Ball charity project?
Lex Lumiere: Houston is my hometown, and Hurricane Harvey’s flood water caused significant damage to my studio and the arts community in general. The flooding effected Houston Ballet’s 2018-2019 performance schedule significantly because the ballets home venue The Wortham Theater Center will be under reconstruction through September 1, 2018. Out of respect for the Houston Ballet’s contribution to the arts community, as well as orchestra conductor Ermanno Florio and the guest conductor Geneviève Leclair, we donated an original wooden art sculpture piece on a platter with wine and gourmet foods from Spain for their silent auction.
- Do you work totally on your own in all of your endeavors, or do also collaborate with other creatives?
Lex Lumiere: In terms of artwork or creative projects; I usually create the concepts, put the storyboards together with project phases and deadline dates then let my team members run with it. I’m not a micro manager, because I only work with people I trust and hire for their expertise, input and reliability. Not people I have to babysit to finish a project because they are too high to get any work done. Regarding music; I have collaborated with Kirke Jan from Academy Curve for beats and sound engineering, he is incredibly professional and has worked with artists like Crasher Tunes, Stashbox Music, Madonna, Music Blender. I’ve also worked with Paul Cox of 226 Recordings in Houston, he recorded ‘Bella’ for a charity project with me and my childhood friend Ryan Wink on guitar. His credits include recording with Macy Gray, Stanley Clarke, and the White Stripes. I was also blessed to work with Grammy Award Winning Don Grossinger who mastered all of our bands singles and has also done a charity project for me. He has RIAA Gold record awards and has worked with everyone from Pink Floyd, Sade, Tony Bennett, to Mariah Carey and has an amazing ear for sound. I love that he is a perfectionist regarding the quality of his work and the creative projects he is trusted to complete. If he thinks something is off in terms of a note, pitch, chord, he sends you back into the studio to correct it. I love working with people who are honest and direct in their communications, because they get the job done without a lot of headaches.
- Are your art or charity projects limited to any particular location? Which key ingredients do you always try and infuse into your art or charity projects, like the ‘ Flashback Dance Party ‘ in Austin?
Lex Lumiere: We work both nationwide and internationally on art and charity projects. The only requirement is the non-profit must be a registered 501 (c)(3) and rated on Charity Navigator. Specifically, the Flashback Project is a fun retro dance party playing 80’s and 90’s music benefiting Explore Austin, a nonprofit committed to change the lives of underserved youth through leadership, mentoring and adventure activities. They are auctioning off a Spa Gift Set which includes a Gift Certificate for a 8×10 Custom Psychic Painting with me done at the Dessert Gallery, while the winning bidder gets to eat something sweet. Our goal is to always create a win win.
- What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your art career so far?
Lex Lumiere: Enduring a lot of discrimination and racism in the art world in terms of support because it is very cliquish and controlled by elitists. Ever see The Monuments Men? There have been times I have walked into art openings where I am the only minority in the room representing the State of Texas as a voluntary Arts Ambassador. Being the grandchild of immigrants, galleries and art dealers are most likely to support you if you are a man, rather than a minority, much less a female. Finding a reputable art agent that is fiscally responsible to sale your art and manage your career without stealing from you is honestly like finding a needle in the haystack. Compound that with Hurricane Harvey, and people have decent intentions but when the insurance company is waging war with FEMA in terms of “was it the 40 feet of flood water that caused the damage or the electrical fires to your property,” none of it helps me rebuild my life or art business any faster. Every grant available, all the resources for help in the arts require that you jump through 1001 loopholes of red tape and fill out a ton of paperwork just to get the funding you need. I want to re-build a sustainable art studio but it honestly would be faster to be in a turtle race and just barter or trade an oil painting or original photograph for $12 million to a private collector.
- What would you consider a high point or proud moment in your career so far?
Lex Lumiere: Being part of the Exposure Award showcase at the Louvre Museum in Paris and having my art become a part of Stonewall National Museum & Archives was a milestone for me professionally. I carry the artistic legacy of my grandparents; my grandfather is the only photographer in Texas to have the Fuji Lifetime Achievement award and United Nations Award for Photographic Excellence, so when I accomplish something it’s like they are both right there with me and I am living up to the level of their expertise. It’s always a personal challenge for me to do the next creative project even bigger or better.
- How would you define ‘success’ regarding your craft? Do you feel you have already reached it in some way? If not what do you feel you would still have to achieve to consider yourself ‘successful’?
Lex Lumiere: Success in regards to the arts for me personally is summed up by John Wesley, “Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can,” and by that definition my family and I are very successful. We remain in a consistent space of generosity because divinity, our source is an endless ocean of love. All artists dream of selling enough art to maintain financial stability for themselves and their family in order to continue doing what we love. Hurricane Harvey hit us quite hard; I lost my home, and my business partner died. In spite of circumstances, I am still able to maintain a positive attitude and enough faith to believe it is possible to sell 1 piece of artwork at auction for $67 million and break the sales record in order to re-build; because it has never been done historically by a women. The only person who has come close was Georgia O’keefe at $44 million, it has always been men with the highest sales records at auction. I need a docent or a banker that wants to make history and help charity at the same time. Ultimately, it is about establishing my grandparents and my art in a permanent museum collection together in one large room so you can see three perspectives of art from one family.
- More than anything else, what is the one thing you desire that people get out of your music or other creative work?
Lex Lumiere: Never accept being bombarded by the world’s negativity or tragic events as the absolute standard of truth for your quality of life; when joy, peace, beauty and abundance are your birthright because life is the masterpiece and you are an original work of art. Protect your peace of mind.
- Have you always wanted to be an artist? (And was there a particular moment you thought, ‘I can do this!’?)
Lex Lumiere: Yes. My high school art teacher started entering me in competitions, and I won. At 17, I was chosen to represent my high school district and co-host my first art show at Hermes with Parisian Photographer Daniel Aron, a photography legend responsible for branding the Hermes company. I knew then a lot of my blessings would manifest around art.
- If someone has never heard your art projects infused with music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?
Lex Lumiere: I like to play with sound like a blank canvas; so it will go from intense dance music with deep lyrics to instrumental funk to these very soulful ballads like the old torch singers with a pinch of jazz.
- Talk to us about your creative routine; what’s a typical day for you?
Lex Lumiere: I have very intense dreams, and usually wake up hearing music, even if no music is playing in the room. I joke and say the angels like to sing to me and wake me from my slumber. I make some coffee, sketch out my dreams from the night before into a black book, date them. Read my daily devotional and write out whatever flows to mind or whatever signs manifest throughout the day. The universe always validates what the next steps are, the creative process is like the unfolding of a flower. Then I go work out; hit the gym, yoga, tai chi or go walking. Shower, eat a protein shake for breakfast while getting dressed and look at my ‘to-do list’ for the day. Get any projects or art ready for delivery or shipping for the current weeks art or charity events. Then I spend the afternoon going between working on my top five creative projects deadlines for the week, giving each about 2 hours and studying for my classes at Harvard. I often skip lunch to do intermittent fasting 2-3 days a week depending on if I am asking Divinity for some particular type of breakthrough in my life. Spend an hour making calls and rap up my work by 6 for dinner. Go walking for 30 minutes to an hour afterward, come back, read, sketch in my book, add to my ‘Honey Do’ list and do a Guided Meditation to go to sleep. My creativity comes in cycles; so I allow myself down time between the projects to have fun, take in a new art show, try a different creative medium, play pool, race go carts, challenge strangers to a game of Pac Man to see if they can beat my score for a prize.
- Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites as fundamental in building a career in art today, and what is your personal relationship with the new technology at hand?
Lex Lumiere: I think the Internet, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook they allow you to keep track of people and share your art form at the touch of a button. The convenience is a good thing on one hand but on the other it also makes us lazy in terms of the quality of how much energy we actually invest of ourselves in spending time with real people. People need affection, they need to see you face to face, to hear your voice to have an intimate relationship, it’s part of the human experience. Art openings are fun and I enjoy them because instead of a cold computer screen, I actually get to be with people. Building a following is great to a certain extent for fans, but maintaining and nurturing quality friendships and relationships in real time is even better.
- Are your family and loved ones supportive of your creative endeavors, or are you pretty much one of those misunderstood creatives like so many others? Who is your circle of influence?
Lex Lumiere: I come from a creative family, so they are very supportive and understanding. We are book nerds who love to read and I have become more introverted as I get older. I’m a strange mix of friendly, but shy if I don’t trust you or know you well. One of my baby sisters is a nurse, the other is a blues singer and yoga teacher, so we all have a similar creative vibe and healthy holistic lifestyle. My circle of influence includes; my mom, she does Hypnosis and is a Reiki master, I am good friends with a Sheriff in Houston who is also a veteran, Motivational Speaker Matt Morris who is a world traveler and author of the book, ‘The Unemployed Millionaire’, my bff is a retired Diamond Broker living in Florida, the other is a Social Worker I adore and have known since we were ten. Honestly, I spend a lot of time in the Holistic community, at church, doing charity or art projects and openings. I keep a joyful and loving inner circle, I don’t have time for drama or hot messes.
- Describe your route to being published? Do you have an agent, or do you take care of thing’s yourself?
Lex Lumiere: My music is copyrighted with the U.S. Copyright Office and published through ASCAP. I do have an arts agency, The Creative Group who manages bookings for my creative career; commercial photography, film / television production, public speaking, charity events, creative director, etc.
- As an artist, do you feel it is sufficient that your art or works entertain audiences, or do you think it should always educate and enlighten people in some way too?
Lex Lumiere: If you watch the evening news, in light of all the lovely and dark world events; as artists I think we have a responsibility to entertain, educate and enlighten people so we can balance out all the tragedy and pain with joy and love. People who are hurting and living in suffering need us to show up with our creative gifts in an empowering way that gives them hope and shines our love light into the darkness to help people overcome and heal.
- What’s next on your upcoming agenda? What can fans expect in 2018 from Lex Lumiere?
Lex Lumiere: I am working on collaborative partnerships this year with the Koha Collective, which is a group of artists, yoga lovers, healers wanting to give back and empower their community through SEVA (volunteering,) a upcoming art exhibit, more art projects, helping promote a new jazz singer (tba,) then Charity Network News is going through a huge metamorphosis and is stepping up on the public speakers circuit for empowering charities, women and other creatives. I’m excited, this year is going to be spectacular.