November 19, 2015

Meet Sonya Lawyer – 2015 Fall SOLOS Artist

Each year we seek out the brightest emerging artists of the region, and bring them to Arlington for a series of SOLOS exhibitions. This year we asked Melissa Ho of the Hirshhorn and artist Jefferson Pinder to help us make our selections.

Among those selected is artist Sonya Lawyer, who was generous enough to answer a few questions about her work and what and who inspires her. Read her answers below, then stop by to see her work in the Smith Gallery.

Sonya Lawyer, Tia, pigmented inkjet print, 24” x 34”, 2014
Sonya Lawyer, Tia, pigmented inkjet print, 24” x 34”, 2014

What do you want the audience to take away from this work?

I hope the audience will see the common threads which bind “us” all together. I hope they can see the beauty that is created when we acknowledge that everyone is important—no one should be made to feel that their life, their truth, their body is unimportant and insignificant.

In your studio, in life, in your head, in your practice, anywhere: what is your most important/valuable source of inspiration?

My family.

What inspired this body of work?/What motivated you to create this body of work?

Life—trying to live in this chaotic, troubling, but amazing and beautiful world.

In three sentences or less, tell us about your process.

Water. Fabric Dye. Vintage Image. Life.

What artist (or person), living or deceased, has influenced you the most?

My paternal grandmother.  She was an oil painter, seamstress, and an amazing cook. I never met my maternal grandmother, she passed before my parent’s married, but her spirit lives on in my mom.

If you could have lunch with any artist (living or deceased) who would it be? Why?

Ansel Adams.  He was the reason I fell in love with photography.

Sonya Lawyer, MS 026 (Bubble Gum Lavender), inkjet transfer on fabric, 24” x 18”, 2014
Sonya Lawyer, MS 026 (Bubble Gum Lavender), inkjet transfer on fabric, 24” x 18”, 2014

Why and how did this body of work begin to form in your mind?

I started the blog in 2011.  At the time, I was teaching other artists, and I was a little frustrated that I was not creating my own work.  So, I challenged myself to create a piece of art everyday for an entire year.

If you were an animal, which would you be? Why?

A dolphin.  I want to be able to explore the ocean.  I find water very soothing.

How did you decide when this body of work was finished?

It’s not really finished.  I have 365 “digital sketches” that are in the series.  As of now, I have about 40 of them made.  I hope to one day have a space where I can exhibit the entire series, or maybe over the course of an exhibition switch out pieces so that the final show is not the show that viewers saw at the opening.

What is your favorite late-night studio snack?

Salty – Ledo Pizza

Sweet – Chocolate chip cookies with a cup of Harney’s Raspberry Tea.

When you’re stuck, what do you do to get un-stuck?

Talk to my mom.

Sonya Lawyer's Community Quilt in AAC's Atrium. Photo by Greg Staley
Sonya Lawyer’s Community Quilt in AAC’s Atrium. Photo by Greg Staley
Stop by to see Sonya’s work at AAC during our regular gallery hours: Wed-Sun, noon to 5 pm at 3550 Wilson Blvd, Arlington VA.
You’re also invited to participate in her Community Quilt by bringing in vintage photos this Saturday, Nov 21, and two Saturdays next month: Dec 5 and Dec 19. She will scan them onsite and return them to you immediately.
If you can’t make it, you’re welcome to email scans of your pictures to her at, and she’ll add them to her Community Quilt located in AAC’s atrium. Finally, Sonya will be here, along with her fellow SOLOS artists on Dec 12 for a gallery talk. Don’t miss this opportunity to talk with Sonya about her work!

In Conversation: Nekisha Durrett + Zaq Landsberg

Saturday / April 27 / 1pm-3pm

Innovation Studio + Store

Join artists Zaq Landsberg and Nekisha Durrett for a conversation about the rewards and challenges of public art and the complex nature of monuments and memorials.

2024 Art Classes for Kids, Teens, and Adults!

Register now! Classes begin April 7!

Less than 2 weeks left to register! Sign up today to secure your spot in one of MoCA Arlington’s award-winning programs! From drawing and painting to ceramics and mixed media, you are sure to find an inspiring art class. Enrich your creative journey with our talented instructors and explore the world of art in a fun and supportive environment.

Solace and Sisterhood

February 22 - May 26, 2024

Meyer & Smith Galleries
Solace and Sisterhood brings together the work of Lavett Ballard, Amber Robles-Gordon, and Evita Tezeno.