4MP Bobby: Waddup though, how are you?
Irene: I’m doing well!
4MP Bobby: I was obsessed with your work when I first saw it and had to see if you’d like to be featured on here. Are you doing any exhibits in the future?
Irene: I’m planning my solo art exhibit. I haven’t set out a date yet because I want to make sure my show is right. I don’t like half-ass things.
4MP Bobby: How many pieces do you want to put out there?
Irene: I’m going to do 15-20 pieces.
4MP Bobby: Word, you got yourself a show going on. How long have you been painting?
Irene: I started painting in 2005. I painted on clothes for 13-plus years and moved over to canvas in 2016.
4MP Bobby: On clothes? That’s dope as hell.
Irene: I started painting on clothes in high school. I was bored with the uniform clothes I had to wear, so I would paint my name on them. My teachers would always be on my case about it not being school policy, but I didn’t care. It was against my religion at the time and I wanted to leave my mark as a senior. The girl who painted clothes….
4MP Bobby: You’re from Louisiana right, which part?
Irene: I’m from Natchitoches, it’s country. My mother was Pentecostal, growing up Pentecostal women have to wear skirts and dresses.
4MP Bobby: I already know you’re country. I’m not about to lie though, I don’t rock with Cajun food, but I do like gator.
Irene: You don’t like Cajun food? What???
4MP Bobby: Not at all. None of it.
Irene: Lawd this interview is over. Where did you try Cajun food?
4MP Bobby: A couple places around here lol, one in Deep Ellum, I forgot the name.
Irene: Well duh, you aren’t going to like it. The food out here is trash.
4MP Bobby: ….You tripping. So, when’d you realize, art was truly something you wanted to pursuit?
Irene: In 2010, a guy from my hometown asked me to make clothes and present them at his fashion show. I was like hell nawl, but he saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself and now we’re best friends. Then in 2014, I decided I wanted to build a line from scratch. So my aunt, who went to school for fashion took my ideas and made them reality. Everyday, I would write words on my paint board and try come up with an acronym that described me, and finally it came to me. I called my sister and told her B.E.A.R. (Bless Every American Reject). She started crying and screaming, yes dramatic, haha.
4MP Bobby: That’s inspiring. How has your upbringing played a role in your work?
Irene: I was a reject growing up. My junior year in high school was one of my worst years, and the feeling of not being accepted was taunting. My brand is for those who uplift people for being exactly who God intended them to be -- dope as hell. Also, my mother didn’t have cable growing up, so I only got to watch Tv at my granny’s house. I have four siblings, who are all very talented and my dad was an artist. My sister and I would starch our blue jean skirts and draw pictures when we were younger. It’s in my blood to be creative. I never went to school for it, I’m self taught.
4MP Bobby: You’ve got to share that somewhere, like on a website, your Insta or something. What are you working on now?
Irene: The series I’m working on now will show things that are happening in the black community. Even things we really don’t talk about. Depression, gun violence, letting go of your past, greed, etc.
4MP Bobby: I think a painting says a million words. We’re about uplifting the community and displaying excellence within it. I definitely appreciate the fact there's a message in your work and it's evident in what you create.
Irene: Aww, thanks love. My goal is to have my own art gallery in my hometown. There’s nothing there for black kids other than sports. No arts school or afterschool programs. I want to show kids, there’s other things they can do and painting is a stress reliever for me. Being creative gives me a voice without having to say a word. My work speaks for itself.
4MP Bobby: Where can people find your work?
Irene: My Instagram: IreneGallionArt or My etsy shop: Etsy.com/shop/ShopBear14