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Anderson gets special invitation to show

Kendull Anderson has lived in Lawton his whole life.

Growing up, he was aware of the annual Arts for All Festival, and even attended it a few times. Anderson, whose mother was an artist, had taken up drawing as a kid. It was a hobby that stuck with him as he grew up, evolving into a passion. Now, as an adult, Anderson finds himself ecstatic to be a featured "emerging artist" for Arts for All's 44th festival.

"I've always been encouraged to do it, but I've never set the plans in motion. I started to do that this year in February. But I was looking up the info and I realized that I was too late. The deadline was two weeks out and you had to have your pieces ready and stuff like that. I hadn't prepared in time," Anderson said.

Not dissuaded by that initial disappointment, Anderson began preparing, instead, to submit his work to the International Festival, which is held every fall in Elmer Thomas Park. But then an opportunity arose.

"A few weeks ago, Robert Peterson had a print show and he asked me to put a few prints in. This was to raise money for the Lawton Fort Sill Art Council's children's program. It was an awesome experience. And that's where I met Kris Gill," he said.

Gill, a longtime member of the Lawton art's community and one of the organizers of the Arts for All Festival, informed Anderson of the "emerging artists" area of the festival. Believing him to be a perfect fit, she put him in touch with the right people and three weeks later he found himself preparing pieces to bring to the festival.

Anderson's sole medium for many years was pencil. He credits his Cameron University professor, Katherine Liontas-Warren, with helping him grow as an artist.

"Under her leadership, I expanded my horizon with charcoal so that became a new favorite medium," Anderson said. "But recently I've started painting. And I've never had any formal training in painting, so it is very much a challenge for me. But I'm learning that people like color, people like excitement as far as the eyes go. I'm just now getting into color and I'm excited to experiment with it and continue to play with it. It's uncharted territory for me."

As he moves in this new artistic direction, Anderson has found himself experimenting with different, media from charcoal to oils.

"I wanted to do oils for this show, but since it is such a quick deadline I wanted to stick with what I know, or at least what I kind of know," Anderson said. "Acrylics dry quick. You can get it done and printed quickly. I wanted to play it safe. So acrylics are the main media I will be using for the show, but I will have a little bit of mixed media with pastels, I don't know yet. I might use some gold leaf as well. It just depends on my creative process, but so far I've just been using acrylics."

One of the most exciting prospects for Anderson is the chance to create a collection of work, a cohesive body of paintings that are all created during the same period of time, something he said he has never had before.

"I'm looking at seven pieces. I want to do 10. But I think realistically, I can knock out seven. I have a few commissions to get out of the way first. I feel like I might just have to stay up all night a few times to get it finished. But I don't mind. It's a passion, you know? It's like you are feeding a fire when you are staying up all night working on art. It gets tiring, but it is exciting," he said.

When he was finding his feet as an artist, Anderson focused mainly on portraits, on being able to replicate a scene on paper. But now he feels as though he is creating his own artistic vision.

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