Artist Debra Hand Transitions From Technology to Art

Honing and cultivating one’s art  takes years to perfect. And when an expert or at least someone who is knowledgeable about the field, sees that spark, takes you under the proverbial wing and nurtures your creative growth you are truly blessed.

Consider Debra Hand. The late Dr. Margaret Burroughs arranged for Hand’s first public exhibition because she saw an “emerging artist with great potential.” And in looking at this phenomenal artist’s work, she has obviously done her mentor proud. Hand was recently honored by the Chicago Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta for her highly acclaimed masterpieces. Hand’s work is featured in a number of prestigious and historic collections such as the DuSable Museum, the Smithsonian Institution Anacostia Museum and the United Negro College Fund Collection. –tony binns

How were you introduced to the art world?
I was dabbling in art when I was discovered by the legendary Dr. Margaret Burroughs, who was the founder of the DuSable Museum, and she brought me to the professional world of fine art. At the time, I had a very well-paying job in the technology field and was just sort of creating art as a hobby, but Dr. Burroughs thought she really saw potential in me. She introduced me to the art world on the stage of the DuSable Museum during a historic retrospective of her work there. After that, I began to take my art very, very seriously because when you have a legend like this telling you that you have something of value to contribute to your culture, you just have to take responsibility for trying to develop it and see how you can use it to that end.

What is your artistic goal?
My goal with creating art is to showcase the beauty and creativity of my cultural group, and to use art as a bridge to giving back.

What inspires you?
I take a lot of inspiration from classical ballet and contemporary dance. The reason is because dancers have such beautiful forms. But if you ever look at a professional dancer’s feet they are often calloused and misshapen from the brutal routines they must regularly undergo in order to acquire the physical strength it takes to bring us that beauty we get to experience through them. In the process of a dancer’s hard work,
their body becomes a living sculpture; carved and hewn out of sheer determination. In the beauty of a dancer, I see every important metaphor for life. To me, the dancer illustrates the power of art at its best — and not only art, but of life at its best. We are all born with the potential to become extraordinary, but it is up to each of us to choose, or not, to explore the possibilities.

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