Hit the Gas

Artists: Leah Lawless-Smith & Her.Manos Photography
Dates: June 3rd – 26th, 2023
Artist Reception: June 17, 6-8pm

“Hit the Gas” unites the talents of Leah Lawless‐Smith and Her.Manos photography in a showcase of photography and acrylic on canvas. Explore the allure of auto culture through the lens of two distinct personal experiences and backgrounds, and witness firsthand art’s power to transcend boundaries and fuel passions.

An artist reception will be held June 17th from 6-8pm. See you there!

Show will be available for purchase in the Umbrella Gallery store.

Artists' Interview


Leah Lawless‐Smith

From the Artist
My series of acrylic paintings reflect on the love of scooters and vehicles. There is a culture that is distinctly auto in which my life has been part of since childhood. I grew up watching and helping my father fix cars and
trucks and have always enjoyed the beauty of the ride.

On Sundays, my father and I would hit the road in search of car shows. It was like our church, praising the almighty vehicle. We bonded over these experiences. My paintings are generally cropped views of the machine that focus on the curved beauty of metal and reflection of chrome. I take photos of vehicles and use the photos as a jumping-off point to my work.

By viewing a cropped section of a scooter or such, the viewer is forced to see my viewpoint rather than the whole vehicle and miss the splendor of detail. I glorify the vehicle by putting it on a pedestal to admire the beauty of the design. The backgrounds of the paintings are patterns and colors used in the decade of the auto’s birth to give a further clue of the age and memory of times past. I typically stick to the vehicle colors from the photos or I change it to a popular color from the vintage era. The background colors I choose are complementary colors of the vehicle. I want to make the colors pop. I love to use patterns in my work and am researching vintage patterns to use. The pattern creates an order in the chaos of our

The collector’s see their objects as precious. I want to expand on the enthusiast’s thoughts and the visual love we all have experienced from time to time of material objects. Hopefully, my efforts will further preserve the beauty of automobiles, motorcycles, and scooters for all. I want to present the viewer with a memory of childhood and a simpler time. Some of the subjects I paint are rotting away, thru painting them I am preserving the image for the future generations to help them better understand the ancient culture of their ancestors.

In my vehicle series, I express the commercial aspects of a global culture obsessed with withe vehicles. Through the chrome reflection, I capture snippets of the scenery of admires and even portraits of myself.

In a new series I have just begun, my visual language is based on old iconography used in religion blended with imagery of products from gas and oil companies. Consumerism at its height and love for guilty pleasures.

This series started with a half heart half piston motor. True love of the machine. The second painting has the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe with my sacred piston heart. She has symbols of Texas: cotton, bluebonnets, the seal of Texas. She mixes the diverse cultures of Texas and combines the consumer aspect of this generation. Rays of oil and gas company logos go to the golden glow of the Virgin.

In my artwork, I paint portraits or objects in a close-up manner. I focus on an object that explores details, surface quality, and a play on pattern. Radial lines lead the eye to the focused area of the paintings. Complementary colors are used to make items pop in my work. I like to use vivid colors to represent our fast world.

As a painter in the media of acrylic, I enjoy playing with imagery that sparks imagination using color as a key component. I either use symbolism in my work to provoke the viewer or toy with my audience’s sense of reason. In the world we live in with photography being so accessible to us and the numerous photo apps, it is a note in the history of life to create selfies and images unreal of ourselves and loved ones. I have fallen into the temptation of self-indulgence as an art form.


Her.Manos Photography (Adrian Garcia Mendez)

Artist bio

Born and raised in Oak Cliff Dallas, TX. Self-taught photographer specializing in film/analog photography. Started taking shots in the streets but slowing transitioning to studio work. Most of my work is heavily influence by Chicano culture. Creating images to represent different angles of La Raza.

Artist Statement

My goal with photography is to interrupt the world around me. I tend to photograph that evoke a sense of wonder and mystery. I want to make a difference, not with my photography, but how they interact with it.

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