Pamela Council was born in Southampton, New York in 1986. Her sculptures, prints, and performances have been featured at Williams College Museum of Art, African American Museum of Philadelphia, Fort Gansevoort Gallery, Southampton Historical Museum, VOLTA and MoCADA. She has created commissions for and is in the collections of Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Studio Museum in Harlem. She earned a B.A. from Williams College, an M.F.A. from Columbia University, and was a participant in Adidas Group’s global Footwear Creation Trainee program. She has been an Artist-in-Residence at Mana Contemporary, Catwalk Artist Project, eWassaic Project and will be Artist-in-Residence at Galveston Artist Residency.
THE YEAR WAS 1972. I arrived in New York City in October. My goal was primarily to continue my art education. I came to the land of opportunity which I had heard so much about. It was purely a self-seeking venture. It is possible to achieve anything in America if you are ambitious and industrious.
My two initial degrees, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Communications Design, were achieved while I worked as a security guard, a messenger, and a dishwasher in New York City. While completing my master’s degree I won a scholarship to further my education. Eventually I earned a doctorate from Columbia University. In July of 2012, I retired after 27 years of teaching in the New York City Public School system. I am spending my days on my art now.
— Jide Ojo, 2013
Postcolonial images merge with children’s pop culture to produce eerily alluring abstract scenes on Mylar and paper. Clusters of lines are stockpiled and dominate space creating a dense hybrid landscape. David Rios Ferreira populates these landscapes with figures of reinterpreted comic book and cartoon characters like Astro Boy and Peter Pan to play out imagined histories. In the vein of the “disneyfied” fairytale, he too is appropriating existing narratives.
In his work the act of drawing serves a dual purpose. Rios Ferreira both composes an image and participates in the act of “drawing together.” The imagery of coloring books and animation, 18th century newspaper etchings, as well as paintings such as those of Puerto Rican Impressionist Francisco Oller come together in order to reimagine notions of identity formation that traverse the emotional, sexual, and psychological complexities inherent in the historical narrative.
David Rios Ferreira holds a BFA from The Cooper Union. His recent artist residencies include The Center for Book Arts, the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts and Lower East Side Printshop. In 2017 he will be featured in the Artist In the Marketplace (AIM 37) Biennial at The Bronx Museum of the Arts. He has exhibited in galleries and museums in the US and abroad, including BAM, CoCA Seattle, Nemeth Art Center, Minnesota and Kunstraum Richard Sorge Gallery, Berlin.
Jessica Strahan is a visual artist with an incessant passion for portraiture. The New Orleans native is inspired by the vibrancy of the Crescent City’s jazz and music scene and has displayed at the Jazz & Heritage Festival and the French Quarter Festival. Jessica has created portraits of major record label musicians, like Frankie Beverly and Erykah Badu. With works already on the walls of homes in London,England and Athens, Greece, Jessica is set on sharing her art throughout the world. For Jessica, painting is therapeutic. She has accomplished large pieces, like murals, and small pieces alike – in acrylic or oil. Jessica has her own line of earrings that are all painted individually by the artist and functions as an original
piece of wearable art.
I am an interdisciplinary artist whose practice employs Fresco (buon and secco) with the addition of digital fresco (monotype) and sgrafitto (scratch) to create paintings, objects, installations and discourse around issues of gender, sexuality, race, class and power. These works represent my interest in beautiful, historical, mythical, ornamental and patterned human histories. My approach to painting reemerges the art of fresco, honors the zeal of figurative painting and explores new adaptations to old traditions. With these bodies of work I’m compelled to push boundaries and comingle materials and techniques used to express the copious layers of powerful women of color inclusive of anonymous, invisible and rarely celebrated history makers.
These works are at times autobiographical a blend of self explorations and visual observations. What I experience, desire and witness is communicated through a catalog of figures, signifiers, symbols, and materials. By employing the ageless process of fresco and sgraffitto, paper cutting, and found objects, I fulfill my aesthetic appetite.
LaToya M. Hobbs is a native of North Little Rock, AR. She received her undergraduate degree in Studio Art with an emphasis in Painting from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and her MFA in printmaking from Purdue University.
LaToya’s work deals with figurative imagery that addresses the ideas of beauty and cultural identity. Her exhibition record includes several national and international exhibitions such as the National Wet Paint Exhibition in Chicago, IL, the East/ West Portfolio Print Exchange Traveling Exhibition, the Black Creativity Exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL, the Promising Artists of the 21st Century Art Exhibition at the Sophia Wananmaker Galleries in San Jose, Costa Rica and Fresh Beginnings: LaToya M. Hobbs at the African American Museum, Dallas, TX among others. LaToya’s work has also been featured in Transition: An International Review, a publication of the W.E.B. Dubois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
Currently LaToya continues her art practice in Baltimore, MD where she also works as a Professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Tiff Massey is an interdisciplinary artist from Detroit, Michigan. She holds an MFA in metalsmithing from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her work, inspired by African standards of economic vitality, includes both large-scale and wearable sculptures. Massey counts the iconic material culture of 1980’s hip-hop as a major influence in her jewelry. She uses contemporary observances of class and race through the lens of an African diaspora, combined with inspiration drawn from her experience in Detroit.
Tiff Massey is a 2015 Kresge Arts in Detroit Fellowship awardee, as well as a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge winner and a Michigan Chronicle 40 Under 40 award recipient. Massey has participated in several international residencies including Ideas City (in Detroit and Athens, Greece) hosted by The New Museum of New York and with the Volterra-Detroit Foundation in Volterra, Italy. Tiff Massey’s work has been widely exhibited in both national and international museums and galleries.
A classically trained illustrator, Sydney James’ career began in 2001, after earning her BFA from the College of Creative Studies, as an Art Director for Global Hue Advertising Agency in Detroit. She then moved to Los Angeles in 2004 to expand her career.
While in Los Angeles, Sydney became the resident artist for the ABC Network Family show, Lincoln Heights, in which she created all of the artwork for the lead character, Cassie, a prodigal artist utilizing various styles to define each personality her works represented. She has worked as an artist for several other network television shows as well as films.
Sydney returned to her hometown Detroit, MI in 2011 to join the vast creative movement occurring in hopes to revitalize a great city. Since her return, she has created and participated in various community arts projects such as the Grand River Creative Corridor. She has been awarded a residency with Red Bull’s House of Art, and was selected as a muralist for the inaugural Murals in the Market festival and many other mural projects throughout the country.
Sydney’s work has been exhibited at the Charles H. Wright museum of African American History, Inner State Gallery, The Red Bull House of Art, Gentlemen Jack’s Art, Beats and Lyrics, and numerous venues throughout Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Washington D.C., New Orleans and New York, and in several private collections.
Sydney shares, “I never considered myself a fine artist. I was an illustrator. My job was to create images for stories. When I took control of the stories, I then became a fine artist. My work is always personal; I want my viewers to experience a personal connection as well.“
Tylonn J. Sawyer is an American figurative artist who lives and works in Detroit, Michigan.
His art has been included in solo and group exhibitions nationally & internationally and can be found in private and public collections. As an extension of his studio practice, Tylonn has been commissioned to paint murals for clients including Quicken Loans, Red Bull and the Whole Foods corporation.
Tylonn earned an MFA in painting from the New York Academy of Art and a BFA from Eastern Michigan University, and received the Peter T. Rippon Travel Award, for study at the Royal Academy of Art, London England.
In my current series of oil paintings and drawings, I primarily depict multi-figured compositions of individuals using masks to shield their identity. I present a fixed view of these figurative groups in static confrontational poses facing the viewer reminiscent of class portrait photography. Each composition changes in service to the subject matter of the individual work. When painting, most of my figures are dressed alike, exclusively in black & white, to contribute to my broader investigation of collective identity. I first create numerous thumbnail sketches until I decide on a composition that interest me. I photograph myself and other models wearing black & white, hiding our faces with the cut out masks of mostly African American cultural icons. The idea of the cross-race effect interest me; so, to create a stronger similarity amongst the subjects in each image, I use Photoshop to clone the models to make composite photographs. I then paint/draw from the photos, making intuitive edits or embellishments to the final composition as the images develop. My work can be viewed as contemplations on collective African American identity, as well as, the relationship of law enforcement to people of color in the United States. Is there a monolithic concept of blackness and if so, what Is it? What does it mean to be black? Through the rejection of individual identity and adoption of others, using masks, I am constantly examining why someone would do this? Is this kind of masquerade another form of Idol worship and will adopting another person’s persona bring me closer to this answer?
Rashaun Rucker is a product of North Carolina Central University. He makes photographs, prints and drawings and has won more than 40 national and state awards for his work. In 2008 Rucker became the first African American to win Michigan Press Photographer of the Year. He also won a national Emmy Award in 2008 for documentary photography on pit bull culture. Rucker was a Maynard Fellow at Harvard in 2009 and a Hearst visiting professional in the journalism department at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013. In 2014 Rucker was awarded an artist residency at the Red Bull House of Art. In 2016 Rucker was honored as a Modern Man by Black Enterprise magazine. His work is represented in numerous public and private collections.
Rucker Artist Statement
My art examines social and cultural issues in America, with a particular focus on human rights, mental illness, the black experience, and the impact of inequality. My work has always dealt with social ills. Partly, this is because of my training and experience as a journalist; it is my job to show people, as James Baldwin once put it, “…what they don’t see.” These issues are of special concern in the wake of the rebirth of Detroit after bankruptcy. Even as parts of the city see huge positive changes, Detroit still struggles with poverty, homelessness, the achievement gap, and under employment.
My latest work is a series of drawings titled “Fly Away.” It compares the life of something many of us see everyday — the rock pigeon — to the identity and, in many ways, the stereotype of black men in America.
Europeans introduced pigeons to North America in the 1600s. The rock pigeon is a bird that doesn’t migrate but is considered a strong flyer and is commonly found in American cities, populating the streets. National Geographic described the rock pigeon as being gregarious and forming large flocks; it feeds on handouts and grains during the day. The pigeon, when taken away from its environment, usually returns home.
These images I’ve created speak to black men and why we often don’t fly (achieve) even though we have the ability to go far beyond our circumstances. It paints a picture of how the somewhat negative environment becomes a comfortable condition and not simply a momentary station in life.
To assign to a particular category or class, especially in a manner that is too rigid or exclusive.
Synonyms: categorize, compartmentalize, classify, characterize, label, brand, tag, typecast, ghettoize,