We had the good fortune of connecting with Sheridan Bradshaw Tonche and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sheridan, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I have always known I would work in an industry that is a little outside the norm. Everyone desires to do a job they love but for me it was something I have been fortunate to do from day one. Before I pursued a more serious path to being a visual artist, I dedicated the bulk of my life to horses. I have worked outside, teaching horseback riding lessons since I was in high school. I was already so fortunate to have a career I loved and was passionate about. After my twins were born, I decided to get back to creating. Creating art has been a lifelong hobby that not only I enjoy but is really necessary. I think all creatives create art because they have something to say or something to express. Sometimes that is a message with an audience in mind, other times it’s just a means to get a much needed release of feelings, ideas or expression. A second career that I genuinely loved was something I never thought possible but I am incredibly grateful that is exactly what I have. The unique thing about being a visual artist is that it provides this outlet where I am able to have this ability to express things I can’t say but also the opportunity to grow, learn and evolve. Being a visual artist has been an endeavor that allows me to set goals, push myself outside my comfort zone and above all else, share things I create with others.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My work has gone through quite an evolution over the last three years. It has always represented a contrast between right and left brain which is very much a personal struggle. I am incredibly analytical and logical and simultaneously a creative empath. In school I was in both a digital art class and anatomy and physiology in the same semester. I found myself incorporating the structures and systems I was studying into my art projects. The structures and how perfectly they functioned was fascinating and beautiful. Anatomical subjects have been a part of my work since that semester. As I have worked to get out of my comfort zone, I have found new ways to represent this contrast. As of late, subjects in geometric patterns with color and movement and gemstones have moved to the forefront of my work. I want my art to speak to both sides of the brain. I work primarily in acrylic but also do charcoal portraiture, mixed media and have recently started experimenting with beadwork. Seeing the growth in my work has been very rewarding. My gemstones are something I am incredibly proud of. I am able to incorporate all the things I love into a painting that speaks for itself. It encompasses realism, color theory, geometry and is beautiful. I have more growing to do but I am happy to be where I am currently. It was not easy but I’ve loved every step of the way. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to step outside my comfort zone, push myself to dabble in different mediums, styles and really work hard at each thing I try. I have taken classes, utilized the direction and support of a mentor and made the choice to not limit myself to what I was comfortable doing. If I were to give fellow creatives advice it would be not to choose your style and medium based on comfort but to try it all on and see where you land. I never wanted to be limited. Do it all, take classes, challenge yourself and if you still end up where you started you will be better for it. I hope when people see my work, they come away with a little better idea of who I am as an artist and as an individual.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Hardy and Nance would be top of the list! Artist owned and operated in Houston’s warehouse district and is home to so many creatives. For Brunch, Lucille’s is a must. The lobster Benedict is out of this world. Empire cafe is my favorite spot to grab lunch or coffee. Grab drinks at Poison Girl, La carafe or Warren’s Inn. Can’t go wrong with any of those options. For dessert we would absolutely have to go see Ella at Crumbville. I’m a crumb-head (If you have ever tasted her key lime cookies or stuffed cups you know exactly what I mean!). Another stop would be the Menil Collection and Rothko chapel. You can’t spend time in Houston and miss the opportunity to visit.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I jumped into the Houston art scene by participating in juried group shows at Hardy and Nance Studios. I credit most if not all my growth to the community at Hardy and Nance. I was selected to be part of the artist in residency program and after my three month stay in studio 6, I became a permanent resident. The A.I.R. Program was phenomenal and I would never have had the confidence to apply without the support and encouragement of Claire Richards and Stäcy Smith. Stäcy has been my mentor for over a year and I currently studio with her and my friend Chris Minamyer. Hardy and Nance is truly a family and one I am proud to be part of. My mother, MaryJane Bradshaw for convincing me to step outside my comfort zone and submit to my first group show. My husband, Manny has been my rock and supports my busy weekends, late nights and is the person who makes it possible.