I have always felt that art is subjective. Being a visual artist myself, the things that I sketch, paint or stencil, all have a specific meaning to me, but it may translate differently to another set of eyes. Each piece of art takes time, and even more effort depending on the project’s complexity. Ever since I was a child, my favorite painting was always The Banjo Lesson, by Henry Ossawa Tanner. Ironically, The Banjo Lesson followed me throughout my entire life, from the good, the bad, the ups, the downs; and through catastrophes and triumphs.

From the time I can remember, Henry O. Tanner’s classic painting sat above the fireplace at my home in New Orleans, Louisiana. Our den held plenty of holiday gatherings, arguments, sports debates and family get-togethers; The Banjo Lesson witnessed it all, serving as the centerpiece in a room full of life. When you see something every day, one day you cease to notice it all. From time to time, I would marvel at it’s beauty, but little did I know the type of impact it would have on my life, both directly and indirectly.

Be sure to check out more from Okla and E.J. on Thanks For Listening Podcast on Fridays at noon. 


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