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Artistry is an ability that comes naturally to many, but some artists often study with those who are more experienced as a way to teach others or enhance their personal skills.

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Debra Lott began taking art lessons at age 12. It was her dream, her calling, and she knew the moment she walked into an art gallery that she wanted to be a painter. Years later, Debra took art lessons from Graham Ingels, best known for his work in EC Comics in the 1950s. Graham called upon Debra to take on some of his students, and she began teaching adults in her early 20s. She eventually earned her bachelor’s degree in art and her Master of Arts in Teaching Art.

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Debra’s earlier creations centered on landscapes and seascapes, but she says Graham pushed her to learn portraiture. “I didn’t want to do that at all,” she says. “Interesting, because all I do now is figurative work. I’m so glad he pushed me into that because it has so much more meaning. It satisfies me and my passion.”

The majority of Debra’s work centers on the female form and figure and expresses women adjusting to and coping with contemporary challenges. She recently held a show titled #MeToo — From Silent to Resilient at the PYRO Art Gallery. “The inspiration for this was women breaking the silence of sexual abuse who are a community of survivors. I wanted to show a process of healing,” she explains.

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Debra’s artistic vision has received significant recognition from the community. She was awarded three grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women; her #MeToo piece called ‘Breaking Point’ won first place in a juried exhibition at the Kore Gallery; and she received a commission from the Norton Cancer Institute’s east-end campus to do an installation of paintings of hands, which expresses the process of caring for the body for people of all races, gender, and age.   

Extra tidbit: College football games became the impetus behind these cool leather accessories. 

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