New Orleans boasts a number of artists, but Tanya Kinnett is a unique find. Born and raised in Lakeview, she has explored her artistic bent ever since she was old enough to grip a crayon. She currently works in oil paints and heavy-bodied acrylics on canvases of all sizes.
"I have great pride in my city," Kinnett says. "To wake up every day and know you're going to be inspired — what a gift. Your muse is just waiting for you."
Employed for 10 years as a graphic designer and retail associate at Betty Hunley Designs, Kinnett says her artwork is an outlet for the same creativity she uses when designing stationery, invitations and other personalized goods sold by the Uptown company.
The almost sculptural paintings are infused with tangible and intangible hints of Kinnett's New Orleans: sun-drenched magnolia trees in bloom and tiny, energetic 3- to 5-year-old dancers at Lelia Haller Ballet Classique, where Kinette performed and taught for many years. However, these motifs are not always present because of a conscious choice.
"I usually have an idea and a color palette in mind and a general goal," Kinnett says. "But you're not totally in control. Sometimes the piece dictates where it should go and what it should look like. ... It takes you on a little journey."