We had the good fortune of connecting with Kenneth & Corella Pierson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kenneth & Corella, how does your business help the community or world?
Kenneth Pierson and Corella Fairchild Pierson, collectively known by our business name KP & Corie Art, help the community and the world when we volunteer to support causes with our time and talent. Organizations that we have had a long history of supporting are Houston Via Colori (where we first met), the long running street painting festival which raised funds for the children’s Center for Hearing and Speech. Also, we have been chalk artists for the Kerrville Chalk Festival since its inception in 2015. This yearly event raises money for local civic and art initiatives in the Texas Hill Country. Also, we have volunteered our time, resources, and chalking skills for the Woodlands’ Out of the Darkness walk for the past 3 years. This is a community event which raises awareness about suicide prevention. The list of community support that we have been involved in goes on and on but those are our big three! The most recent event that we are very proud of is our involvement as artist and event planners for a tribute to George Floyd in collaboration with the Woodlands’ Coalition for Equality immediately preceding our support of Black Towns Matter as street artists in cooperation with the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance. Our social media showcases a long history of volunteering to help others by means of our time and talent. Its something that brings us individual joy and meaning and brings us togetherness in our marriage let alone as a small business. That being said, the best way that KP & Corie Art may be helping the community is by living our lives the best we can. We believe that most of the time, the only thing we can do to help our community and the world, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil and social unrest related to race relations, is to love ourselves and to love each other. KP & Corie Art doesn’t exist solely in the public eye. Even in private we seek to align our actions and words with our values as best we can. We strive to practice a love-first approach within ourselves and then with each other. This builds the mental and emotional health foundation that we need for loving and inspiring our family and friends, our community, and all human beings. Love is also fundamental in accomplishing our goals in this life we live of making a living at creating meaningful and accessible art for all. We dare to say that we are a brave example of never giving up on doing what we love and loving what we do, weather that is to make a comfortable living or to simply be good citizens of the world.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
We have both been through many traumas and tragedies in our lives. We both grew up in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods and homes. KP suffered a knee injury in college around 1996 which shattered his plans to play professional basketball in Puerto Rico. He continues to deal with knee and back pain and needs a knee replacement surgery. In 2008, Corie was dispelled from the high control religion she grew up in and continues to be shunned by her immediate family and lifelong friends for speaking out about her experience and the dangers of belonging to the group. We both had dear loved ones go to prison for long periods of time. We both started college on scholarships as teens and because of hardships had to quite. We each returned to college later in life to graduate despite many obstacles. We both have had cousins who were murdered, which haunts us always. All of these events and more have made life more than challenging. For a time, we coped with these events in unhealthy ways. Yet, something inside of us has always shown through in our art. A familiar sadness sprinkled with hope maybe? We aren’t sure. Through God’s grace and the unconditional love and support of our friends and family though, we have come to develop healthy strategies for coping and establish a strong foundation of mental and emotional health. The love and grace we have been shown and strive to show ourselves speaks to many through our art. We think that is what sets the creative work of KP & Corie Art apart from others while not making us any better than them. Just different.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When our best friends come to visit us in Houston, we love to take them on mural tours of the East End, Downtown, and the Westheimer area. We love to eat at Empire Cafe and have tea at Agora Cafe before taking a walk to check out all the thrift stores. Our dream would be to go on another tour of Greenwich Village in New York City like we did on our honeymoon. This time we would like to have our friends and family come along and show them Basquiat’s old studio and the cafe where he met Andy Warhol. We would spend days roaming the Met, the Guggenheim, the Whitney and other art museums and galleries.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First of all, we want to thank God for grace. The contrast between our individual and collective past and present is a striking example of God’s grace and unconditional love. We have both come a long way personally in aligning our actions and words with our spiritual beliefs which has formed a strong foundation for KP & Corie Art to thrive on. We will always thank God for continued patience, love, and grace. We would also love to thank many members of our family of origin. KP’s family has not only supported and loved him, but has adopted Corie so readily and really been the first people to teach her what unconditional love is. This includes KP’s parents Kenny and Shirley Pierson, his brother James Pierson and his wife Shannon, and his sister Kim and her husband Tae. We would also like to thank Corie’s 2nd cousin “aunt” Dede and her “uncle’ Rich along with all of her other 2nd cousin’s and their children in the Seattle area for their continued love and support. Also, Corie’s 2nd cousin or “niece” Jaloria continues to be an inspiration to her without ceasing. Likewise, we would like to thank our family of choice. This includes “Nana” Yolanda Shanks, Dan Muller, Blake Bloodworth, Aaron Sego, Patrick Clark, the Ayalas, Becky Kane, Amber Fontenot, all our fellow artists, especially Rachel Delarosa, Maggie Colton, and Anat Ronen, and all of KP’s teammates and the staff at Illinois State University. We want to thank all of our patrons for supporting local artists like us. Many of you have become family to us. All of you have helped shape and inspire the artists we have become and are striving to be. Along with them are all the people who have come to our shows and events and supported us with encouragement along the way, especially Davette Daggett, Annie Tan, Steve & Linda Grove, and Nattalie Waggenspack. Also, we want to be sure to thank people like Natalie Vukavic, Katharine Boyette, and Kimberlee Smyth Moayed who spearhead(ed) Houston Via Colori, the Kerrville Chalk Festival, and the Woodlands Out of the Darkness Walk respectively. Natalie especially has helped make chalk art what it is in Houston, to the point that now entities like Midtown HOU pay artists to chalk for their community every month. Huge shoutout to Amaris Salinas of Midtown HOU for her support of local artists. Likewise, the Hardy and Nance Studios have been a huge player in supporting local artist and providing the community affordable and accessible local art. Their annual 10×10 show is the first show we had work in together in 2016. Claire Richards and Stacy McDonald started that show from which many other shows and successes have sprung up. We also want to thank Tanya DeBose of the Historic Black Settlements and Townships Alliance and Jennifer Majors Baca of the Woodlands Coalition for Equality for the opportunities they have beseeched us to embrace. Your work in this world is priceless. Thank you for allowing us to support you and the causes you represent.
Youtube: KP & Corie Art
Other: Art Education materials made by us: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kp-And-Corie-Art
Britain Paulk Maggie Colton Kelly Wheeler Marion Rhodes Natalie Waggenspack