WLIW Arts Beat


WLIW Arts Beat - December 7, 2020

In this edition of WLIW Arts Beat, a photography studio located in a 23-foot Airstream Travel Trailer; the sacred sand mandala tradition; an artist who draws upon the ancient practice of beading; an artist's long and significant career in the art world.

AIRED: December 07, 2020 | 0:26:46



>> In this edition of

"WLIW Arts Beat"...

a creative mobile photography


>> They're constantly making


Every single time that they're

together, they're taking

pictures and making photography.

>> ...the sand mandala


>> The Tibetan monks of the

Drepung Loseling Monastery

prepare the sand that will

become an intricately crafted

mandala of ancient spiritual

symbols and geometric patterns.

>> ...drawing upon the ancient

practice of beading...

>> Ceremony and traditions and

the culture of indigenous


Those things are just really,

really near and dear to my


>> ...and artists through

the years.

>> In retiring, I always said I

want to go back to being

an artist.

I started with acrylics, and I

like doing acrylics.

And I started doing collages.

>> It's all ahead on this

edition of "WLIW Arts Beat."

Funding for "WLIW Arts Beat" was

made possible by viewers like

you -- thank you.

Welcome to "WLIW Arts Beat."

I'm Diane Masciale.

In Tampa, Florida, photographers

Matt Larson

and Rebecca Sexton Larson don't

operate your typical gallery


Rather, they offer workshops,

create art, and inspire others

in a 23-foot Airstream travel


Here's the story.



[ Indistinct conversation ]

>> Becky and Matt are an amazing

team, they complement one

another so well.

They go together like

peanut butter and jelly.

I can't imagine one without the


They clearly appreciate each

other's gifts and strengths.

They fill out the picture more.

It would be a black-and-white

experience with one of them.

It's full of color, technicolor

with both of them.

>> Matt and Becky were offering

a workshop on pinhole

photography, and Becky being a

conceptual photographer, I was

very excited to take

a class from her.

The pinhole photography class

was phenomenal.

I learned a lot about how to do

it -- I've never done it before.

And to see their darkroom and to

work in that was really fun, and

to work outside with their

Airstream and the different

props they had was also a lot of


The whole experience was really

amazing to take that class with

them, and it really helped me to

carve out some time to be able

to make art, which I really


And to make art and learn, not

just how to, from a pinhole

perspective, but to do it from

working artists.

>> And then, again, prop it.

Matt and I, for a long time,

knew that we wanted to kind of

set up a gallery or someplace

where we could hold classes and

share our work, but we never

could figure out where we wanted

to do that.

We had looked at buildings in

Tampa, and we couldn't find one

we really liked in Tampa.

And we had traveled to

surrounding other Southern

states, and we couldn't really

find one that really, you know,

struck us.

So, all of a sudden, we're like,

"Well, what if we were mobile?

What if we were able to make a

gallery that was on wheels, and

then we could just take it to

wherever we wanted to be?"

>> And then, we kind of thought

about it, and about a couple

days later, Rebecca starts

chirping, "And, well, what if it

was an Airstream?"

And I'm like, "Well, we can't

afford an Airstream."

And then the idea just grew.

So the first thing we did was we

built a web site.

We called it Boxfotos out of

pinhole cameras being a box,

and photography, so, hence,


And every time we went hiking,

we just posted under Boxfotos.

We started another Facebook

account, another Instagram


It kind of caught on.

Everyone kind of thought we had

an Airstream.

And it's one of those things

where social media made

something bigger than what it

really was.

But we built our business out of

being Boxfotos Airstream before

we had the Airstream, and then

we finally got it.

The classes really started out

of, you know, again, trying to

sell your own work, trying to

now make Airstream payments.

>> When we first got the

Airstream, we knew we wanted to

do some sort of classes.

And we have the TV in here, and

we have the nice bench seat.

We can host about six people.

So we started looking at

different things that we'd be

able to do in a fairly easy


And the nice thing about

historic processes is you don't

need complete darkrooms all the

time to do them, like cyanotypes

and the salt printing and stuff.

So they afforded us the ability

to make it mobile with those

kind of classes.

>> And the easiest thing, I

thought, would be an iPhone

class because everybody uses it.

But in reality, it's probably

one of the harder classes to


Because first thing I did before

I started teaching the iPhone

class, I went to the Apple

store and kind of hovered around

the table as they taught the

iPhone class.

Then, I realized people don't

know they even have contacts in

their phone.

Some people only use their

iPhone as a phone.

Some people only use their

iPhone as a camera.

So no one really used the tool

as it was really meant to be in

everything, and we do -- both of

us do it really well.

>> Matt and Becky offer a

program that's available to

people of any skill level, of

any fitness level.

We have hiked -- Sorry, I won't

even call it hike.

We have strolled or casually

walked through the woods

together at a pace that is very


They're constantly coaching,

constantly teaching, giving you

the information that you need to

enhance your shots.

They observe how you're doing

it, they offer feedback right


It's wonderful.

>> What I love, working with

Matt and Rebecca, is that

they're constantly making art.

Every single time that they are

together, they're taking

pictures, they're making


So to be here again on another

class where we're out of the

field, out in nature, to take

pictures together and to be

mobile is really exciting.

Matt and Becky are some of my

most favorite people, especially

as artists.

To have a couple who make art

together is something that I


My husband is also an artist.

>> Well, my joke was it's the

only thing I really got out of

college, was I met my wife.

>> Matt and I met at USF, at

school, and we met in


And we actually met with him

insulting my work during the


Matt stood up and said, "Just go

easy on her, she's an art


So he insulted me, it was the

very first thing he did.

>> And I went home and told my

sister I met my wife to be.

Way before I even asked her out

on a date.

>> I think an important part of

us being able to work together

is we're able to take criticism.

Our work is very different, and

we literally can be standing

back to back, and we will shoot

it in a different eye.

So even though we work together,

we still have a different


I think mine tends to be more


His tend to be more documentary.

>> Between Rebecca's work and my

work, she approaches it strictly

from a creative standpoint.

I still approach everything from

a commercial standpoint.

I look at everything very


I think it's incredible, because

we're two people with two

different strong suits, and I

think the students just get two

instructors for the price of

one, which you don't get

anywhere else.

>> There's so much more to it.

And while Matt is masterful and

Becky is masterful at creating

an emotion, I'm still trying to,

like, understand how to do the

technical piece as well as the

emotional piece and bring it all

together, and their voices are

in my head.

When I take a good picture,

sometimes I'll e-mail it to 'em

and say, "Look at this.

What do you think?"

And they're very encouraging,

and they continue to provide

support beyond the class.

>> The future, what I want to do

is I want to go travel across

country, going from art center

to museums and just tying into

their exhibitions, whether it's

historic process, iPhoneography,

digital, street photography.

>> The idea of being able to

travel with them on the trips

that they go is something that

I'm looking forward to joining.


>> To find out more, visit


And now the Artist's Quote of

the Week.



In this segment, we traveled to

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to witness

a sacred artistic tradition.

For a week, Tibetan monks

ceremoniously constructed and

dismantled a sand mandala in

city hall.

Take a look.

[ Monks chanting ]



>> With ceremony and reverence,

the Tibetan monks of

the Drepung Loseling Monastery

prepare the sand that will

become an intricately crafted

mandala of ancient spiritual

symbols and geometric patterns.



Created over three days, the

mandala's design promotes peace

and healing.











Just as important as its

creation, the ritual of

destroying the sand mandala is a

reminder of the impermanence of

life and the blessings to those

that have experienced its





>> To learn more about mandala

sand painting, head to



Now here's a look at this

month's fun fact.



Embracing her culture and

heritage, artist Chela Lujan

practices the art of beadwork.

We head to Colorado to see how

she makes meaningful pieces of

jewelry with beads.


>> Southern Colorado and

northern New Mexico, it all has

the same air of just that high

desert, high plains, which I

think my beadwork really draws

from that energy.

We grew up on the Diné Nation,

the Navajo reservation in

Ganado, Arizona.

All of those traditions and

cultural backgrounds really had

an effect on me.

Ceremony and traditions and the

culture of indigenous people.

Those things are just really,

really near and dear to my


They really kind of shaped who I

was growing up in that way.

My mother, Charlotte, her

grandmother was

Jicarilla Apache.

Her name was Delavina Chipoon.

I don't know much about that

lineage, unfortunately.

I really wish I did.

But back in those times, she

didn't tell anybody that she

was Apache.

So, there isn't a lot of those

traditions that she might have

had in her life passed on to my


My mother, Charlotte, was

actually the one who taught me

beadwork, and she was taught

by a famous Diné Navajo artist.

I remember her teaching me the

loom, the beaded loom,

which, when I was about 6 years

old, I was just a baby.

And I remember taking to it

really easily, but I didn't pick

it up again until I was 23.

I remember seeing a hatband that

somebody was wearing, and I knew

that that's what I wanted to do.

And I knew that I had to teach

myself how to do it, and so I


The name of my business is

Roadside Remedies.

You know, you go to these places

and there's always vendors on

the side of the road who are

selling jewelry.

It started off on, like, Etsy.

We found the name, and I started

getting the supplies, and my

supplies at that time were

cheap, for lack of a better

word, you know.

'Cause I didn't know the

difference between this bead or

this bead and quality versus

quantity, that sort of thing.

Finally opened up my own online

store, which looks a lot better.

Thank God for Instagram and

things like that.

And then, I have gotten on board

with really talented women,

other women makers, people like

Cate Havstad, who is making her

own hats.

Suzy Cotcher, who, her hatband

was the first hatband I saw that

I wanted to do, and she was

really supportive of my work.

This is a porcupine quill


So, you string up the porcupine

quills first, and those are all

hand dyed.

This is a Diné Tree of Life,

the Navajo Tree of Life.

It's a cornstalk and birdies

and the basket and feathers,

and it's all sacred symbols.

This is the Cheyenne

brick stitch.

This one in particular was

inspired by ceremony, by

the four rounds of a ceremony.

So, this is what I call

Midnight Water, and the line of

blue represents the water.

And the shape, of course,

is the tepee, the womb,

the ribs, the mother,

and the gray is the smoke coming

out of the fireplace.

I use a lot of hearts and a lot

of triangles that I think

represent fire and, like,

this tepee shape to represent

the womb and Mother Earth,


Yeah, and the colors just --

It's kind of like a painter

would pick out his palette

or her palette, and I do

the same thing with my beads.

To develop the relationship

with threads and beads

and patterns and colors,

and they talk to me.

That's kind of how I feel.

There's times when I think that

I don't want to teach somebody,

but I know that people have

helped me so much learn that --

and it isn't mine, it's not mine

to hold.

It's not mine to own.

So it has to be passed on

or it'll be lost.

My own lineage, my being a woman

of color and trying to find out

my roots and what those are,

I think really is what inspired

me to continue the beadwork as

my mother started it

and passed it on to me.

And hopefully my daughter will

do it, too.

I'm all for it.

I can only imagine wanting to

sit next to her and teach her

how to do this and pass it down

like my mother passed it down

to me.

But I definitely --

I'm a little slower now.

[ Laughs ]


>> To see more of Lujan's beaded

creations, check out her web

site, roadsideremedies.com.

And here's a look at this week's

art history



From a very young age,

Yvette Walker Dalton,

from Dayton, Ohio, has been

an artist.

Up next, we hear about her time

in the art world,

her long and significant career,

and how her art continues to

thrive in her retirement.

>> In retiring, I always said I

want to go back to being

an artist.

I started with acrylics, and I

like doing acrylics,

and I started doing collages.

I have a piece that I'm working

on right now.

I can't decide whether I'm gonna

do it in acrylics

or if I'm going to do a collage,

but that's where I am right now.

I am Yvette Walker Dalton.

I'm a Daytonaian and I'm also

an artist.

I have always been an artist.

Even when I was a little child,

I was an artist.

My parents didn't know that, not

until I was six years old.

And I had to have a visiting


Her name was Mattie Lyle.

She was the first

African-American visiting nurse

here in Dayton, Ohio.

And she told my mother

and father that, "I think this

child has some art skills."

And so, ever since then, mother,

dad made sure I had paper,

pencils, crayons.

I started out being an art


I turned out to be a graphic

designer when my youngest

daughter was born as a premie.

She weighed 2 pounds, 12 ounces.

That meant that, when she came

home at 5 pounds, somebody had

to be there to take care of her,

and I could not go back

teaching, so I started designing

cards for friends.

There weren't any black greeting

cards that we could go into

stores and buy.

So I started designing cards,

and that just took off.

It absolutely took off.

We started with Christmas cards,

and then we got into the long

cards, the funny cards.

We use, like, slogans from

Flip Wilson, things that were

sort of out there in the '60s

and in the early '70s.

Then, we start designing black

greeting cards for

Gibson Greeting Cards.

We used all the people that we

knew, took pictures --

our family, our friends.

Those went over very well.

Then, pretty soon, a recession

came along, and some of our

distributors went bankrupt,

and we had to go bankrupt.

So that ended the card business.

We also did work for

Procter & Gamble,

things like salesman ads,

tear packets, shelf signs.

In '76, my husband and I got

a divorce.

I moved to Lancaster, Ohio,

and I was able to work for

Anchor Hocking Incorporation

and designing glassware for


One Christmas, Christmas 1979,

the director came in and says,

"Okay, who in this art

department's not doing anything

for Christmas?"

And I raised my hand, I said,

"What is it that you want me

to do?"

And he said, "Well, Star Wars

wants you, basically, to do

a line of glassware for them.

And so, can you go home and make

up some type of a sketches for

at least four glasses?"

And so they gave me photographs

of what they wanted

on these particular glasses.

They also had me sign a paper

saying that I would not, not,

not tell about Yoda at that

particular time, that was coming

out for

"The Empire Strikes Back."

And so I went home, and that's

what I did, and I just loved

making those glasses.

That was really a fun job.

In the meantime, I had been

going back and forth

from Cincinnati to Lancaster,

Ohio, because my church was in


The pastor there had been

talking to me -- "How about

going into the ministry,


And I thought he was absolutely

crazy 'cause I had never seen

a woman pastor in my entire


And I said, "Well, if I'm going

into the ministry, I'm not

becoming a minister.

I'm going to combine my art

experience with a theological


That was my whole reason for

going in to seminary.

My first church was in


Shawnee Presbyterian Church.

They called me to be pastor.

It was a great experience being

a pastor.

I enjoyed working with

the people.

I enjoyed seeing people grow.

I enjoyed working with

the children.

They became my family

and, hopefully, I became one of

theirs, as well.

I'm very excited about

exhibiting at

Grace Methodist Church

here in Dayton.


>> Yes, yeah.

Yes, yeah.


>> These pieces are all pieces

I have worked on since


What's next for me?

I'm not quite sure.

I'm just living in the moment

right now.

Someone said, "Oh, you're just

like Grandma Moses."

Well, I know that I'm close to

her age.

I'm 75, and she basically

started at 76, and she --

Oh, she painted up until she

died at 101.

So I don't want to think ahead

too far.

I still want to deal with where

I am right now.

It's just an absolutely great to

think about my next project,

and I don't want to get too far

ahead of that.


>> That wraps it up for this

edition of "WLIW Arts Beat."

We'd like to hear what you

think, so like us on Facebook,

join the conversation on

Twitter, and visit our web page

for features and to watch

episodes of the show.

We hope to see you next time.

I'm Diane Masciale.

Thank you for watching

"WLIW Arts Beat."

Funding for "WLIW Arts Beat" was

made possible by viewers like


Thank you.






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