Juanita Baldwin is no stranger to getting recognition for all her artistic abilities. This isn’t even her first time being featured on the cover of City Pulse.
Baldwin, originally from Chile, was on the cover of City Pulse for her photography skills last year, and now she is on it again with a new photograph, but she’s not just being recognized for that work.
One of Baldwin’s paintings will be featured by the Lansing Art Gallery for the Pop Up Art: Special Edition that is taking place on Washington Square throughout the summer. Baldwin is also on a billboard advertising for the Arts Council of Greater Lansing to attract people to the city that appreciated art. The image on the billboard is the exact same that was featured on City Pulse last summer, “Universal Fog,” and will be on that billboard for a whole year.
Baldwin started small and then really found her passion in the art she created. “I started taking photographs when I was a teenager,” Baldwin said. “Just of typical things, like birthday parties, beaches and family.”
Baldwin found another passion when she took a water painting class with her friends in 1995. She said she didn’t take the class seriously at first, only going to drink coffee and chat with her friends while they painted. After she took it up, her life changed forever. Baldwin found she both excelled at, and enjoyed immensely, painting and photography.
Baldwin found her calling. She became an artist.
“Being an artist doesn’t mean you make a living out of it,” Baldwin said. “My husband worked and I raised our children. He is retired now and I am an artist. That is my life.”
The subject matter in Baldwin’s photographs has drastically changed from her teenage years. Baldwin said she enjoys capturing natural landscapes, still lifes and playing with light and darkness.
“My favorite subject matter was this past winter’s ice,” Baldwin said. “Ice is a white canvas. I love how there are so many possibilities with ice, like with the air bubbles. I had never seen the ice like that before. The photograph on the cover, I captured that image with a micro lens. I saw a small surface with ice and air bubbles and was amazed.”
Besides painting and taking photographs, Baldwin stays busy with two different art groups in the area that she helped create. She co-founded the Lansing Area Artist Connection or LAAC. Baldwin also started the En Plein Air group — a French word meaning to paint outside, and that is exactly what they do. The group meets every Thursday to paint outside at parks in the area.
Baldwin said art is very important and should be a part of everyone’s life. Whether it’s art that hangs at home, or your own, hand-crafted creations.
“Children and teenagers should have access to art so they can express themselves through creating art,” Baldwin said. “For older people, adults, it is never too late to try some type of art related activity.”
Now when looking upon the photograph on the cover of the issue, readers amy want to look slightly off from the center. Baldwin gleefully explained that within the image she found what looks to be a cartoonish, funny looking profile of a man sitting with an air bubble in his mouth.
“My daughter was telling me the other day, ‘Did you ever imagine in your life having a billboard?’ Of course not. I never thought this would happen,” Baldwin said. “When Eve (Arts & Culture Editor at City Pulse) called me to let me know I got the cover again, it made my whole year. I am really happy.”