5 Questions with Local Fashion Illustrator Tucker Lenora

At this year's Wine, Women & Shoes luncheon, local artist Tucker Lenora was on hand to illustrate the event's well-heeled attendees.

By Megan McDonald January 22, 2016

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Illustrations by Tucker Lenora

The Wine, Women & Shoes Signature Luncheon at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota is always a fun and fashionable event--at this year's, more than 600 women (and a few brave men) wined and dined to support Forty Carrots Family Center's many parenting education programs.

And this year's event offered a fun new option for fashion-minded ladies: Local artist Tucker Lenora, a Ringling College of Art and Design grad, was on hand to create fashion sketches of Wine, Women & Shoes' well-heeled attendees. Proceeds from the purchase of a piece of Lenora's art benefited Forty Carrots; we sat down with her to talk about her craft.

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Have you always loved art?

I'm an eighth-generation Floridian and grew up in north Manatee County. I was raised in a religious and rural environment, and followed that path all the way to a seminary in Pennsylvania, which led to me moving to South Africa at the age of 21 with a volunteer visa to work as a missionary at a local church. Fast-forward seven months, and I realized I had a lot of questions about the religion I had invested so much of myself in. I'd always been an artist, but I believed that following that path was too indulgent--however, when I came home after my experience in South Africa, I realized that to make others happy, you have to have an internal well of happiness yourself. That, for me, is making art. Six months after returning to the states, I enrolled at Ringling College of Art and Design.

How did you choose illustration?

Well, I always liked to draw--especially during long church services, when I'd doodle all over the bulletins and tithe envelopes. As a kid, I didn't need supplies or much of a service, so because the practice was convenient I spent a lot of time developing it, and just never stopped.

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What's your process like?

My creative process has also gotten better with practice--it's more focused. My husband and I are both artists and we just had a little girl in October, so studio time now has to be a planned activity, and it's one we both respect and appreciate. I work best at night, and love having a list of podcasts to listen to while I'm working. Storytelling inspires me, and listening to stories makes my brain work better while I'm making my own art.

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How did you get the idea to do fashion sketch illustrations?

Honestly, all the credit goes to Liebe Smith Gamble of June Simmons Jewelry, who was looking for an illustrator to transform the guests at her baby shower into fashion sketches. Photographer John Revisky, a mutual friend, connected us, and the rest is history. It's been such a fun thing to do. I love fashion and I love art; it's been a great project that I intend to continue.

You did the fashion sketches for this year's Wine, Women & Shoes, too. What was that like?

What a group of ladies! I loved that a huge portion of Sarasota's philanthropic community comes out to do a really good thing while having a really good time. When I customized the sketches, I looked carefully at the photos that were taken to see what each woman's personal style is like--but from their accessories to their envy-inducing shoes, it's not a huge leap to transform these creative, charismatic ladies into fashion sketches. It's a collaboration between each participant and myself.

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P.S. Save the date! This year's Wine, Women & Shoes Signature Luncheon will be held at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota on November 18. For more information, click here.

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