Thursday, February 2, 2012
Lisa and Ben Horlander
"It was our creative and artistic personalities that drew us together."
TYLER When Lisa Horlander, 28, met her husband Ben, 30, in 2004, she was already an experienced artist.
Growing up as a child, she dove into creative outlets.
“My parents are both creative and artistic,” she said. “My mom is brilliant with a piano and can draw, but she never took it further than doodles. My daddy went to college for fine art and jumped into it. They were my inspiration, more so for their praise, until Ben came into my life. I played piano and flute and took dance, but drawing was always my great enjoyment. I started painting when I was in high school and find this is what I hold as my main medium in art.”
When the two met at a coffee shop, they had something in common. Ben had been raised with an appreciation for art, something that appealed to his future wife.
“My grandma was very good at landscapes; however, she painted a masterpiece and just put it in the closet to start the next,” said Ben. “I haven’t really tried my hand at art much until quite recently. I have always had a flair for the written word despite not being able to spell. Growing up, my father and I poured and painted our own toy soldiers.”
“Me being an artist was a major encouragement in our relationship becoming more than just friends,” added Lisa. “He loved art and I made it. I liked that he wasn’t an ‘artist,’ since it let me get all the credit. But, it was our creative and artistic personalities that drew us together.”
Eventually, the couple married and a year later had a son, Asher. Ben spent three years overseas serving with the U.S. Marine Corp. While he was gone, Lisa used the time to expand her artistic horizons.
She finished her associate’s degree at Tyler Junior College and pursued art full time.
“Ben was in the Marines for the first four years of our relationship, and so I was home a lot,” she said. “He encouraged me to not stop (with art) and said that if he came home and the apartment was filled with canvases and paint, he would be fine with it. I painted away, and drew and sewed as much as I could.”
“If it’s an art form, craft or creative venue, I try it. I love to draw the most, and sew. I have been doing both since my earliest memories and find that is what I go to when I am bored, stressed or in a rut.”
After his return, Lisa began introducing Ben to art in a bigger way. Admiring the small figurines he had painted with his father, she realized he could likely apply his skills on canvas – and a new journey was underway.
“Lisa inspired me to try my hand at drawing and painting,” he recalled. “This started as something fun and rewarding. Also, I was good at photography and wanted to learn pottery.”
“I think I inspire him more than intimidate him to keep absorbing and practicing art,” Lisa added. “Our two personalities force us to look at things differently.
“It inspires us both to do our own things, but it also encourages us both to try new things… While, being able to give each other different points of view, we draw on each other’s experiences for our art, but also to keep our relationship close. Any idea we have, we can bounce off each other without fear of being critically judged by the other, only having a like-minded person analyzing our idea. So, neither one of us is put in a disadvantage within our creativity. We find the same kind of fun and we can understand the same kind of frustrations.”
Lisa works as a self-employed artist: drawing, painting, sewing, teaching and painting shoes (she has an internet store). Ben has been exploring different artistic mediums (painting, photography and pottery) while finishing his computer communications degree at Tyler Junior College. Realizing that art is becoming a growing interest, he is considering getting an Associate’s in Arts degree.
As a pair, the Horlanders have grown over time. Their mutual appreciation for art, and the ideas of their partner, has encouraged their relationship to mature.
“We might not have started our relationship with an artistic viewpoint, but we have always had similar ideals and enjoyments,” said Lisa. “It’s so fantastic to have someone who inspires me, and yet, who is inspired by me…”
“I appreciate Ben’s whit and humor in his art and personality. I tend to be serious in my art, and he will give me ideas that are out of my comfort zone but end up being exactly what the painting, shoe design or even doodles needed to be better. His humor can be seen in all of his art, even his photography. Humor adds such a great spice to life.”
Featuring their art (and Ben’s photography) in shows has been exciting for the couple. But, even more thrilling was realizing the love of art they were raised with had survived another generation.
“Recently, we have been amazed that our son has mastered the creative ability too,” said Lisa. “Our son has grown up surrounded by art, creative thinking and going to shows, and it’s rubbed off. Having another creative person in our world, a little someone who is self-assured and excited about drawing, has inspired us to teach each other, and him, more than we would have.”
What began with a mutual appreciation of art grew into true love for Lisa and Ben, and today they have built a creative family from those roots.
“Art is part of our family life, just like enjoying a meal together or watching television,” Lisa explained. “It’s just part of everyday fun.”