About: Leon Kennedy, Visionary Folk Artist
Leon Kennedy is a distinguished self-taught artist. A native of Houston, Texas, Kennedy has lived and worked in Oakland, California for over 25 years. He captures and paints the people and scenes of Bay Area life. Kennedy paints on “everything” including bedsheets, wood, tables, chairs, glass, and metal. He creates his artworks with markers, paints, crayons, beads, glitter, cotton, yarn, and rope.
Leon Kennedy is inspired by the Spirit. His trademark is the hand. “Hands symbolize my personal testimony. Hands stand for the power of the imagination and for divine testimony. God is the door . . . Prayer is the key. God sees my heart. He has the master plan; I am his obedient servant. Faith leads. I follow Him.”
Kennedy’s art has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institute, the Collection de l’Art Brut, Lowell Revolving Museum, American Visionary Art Museum, African American Museum in Dallas, Redux Gallery, Asian Cultural Center, King’s Gallery of the San Francisco Unitarian Universalist Church, and the National Museum of American Art through the Rosenak Collection. Kennedy’s art is featured in the book Contemporary American Folk Art by Jan and Chuck Rosenak.
Kennedy has created art for 50 years to show hope, love and blessings in our lives. He believes that with God, all things are possible.
Street Spirit article about Leon’s life April 2014 edition:
“As a child, I knew that art was my vocation. My artwork is an affirmation of faith, love, and charity in my life. These virtues are what we need most in our community. I
My paintings are visions that are God-given. When I draw faces I emphasize the eyes. Through the eyes, you see and feel something—glimpse the soul.
I pray that people feel the spirit when viewing my art and connect to their hearts. Love is most important in life and the message I show is that God is Love.” – Leon Kennedy
More info: Private showings by appointment. Contact John Hildenbrand at Leonkennedyfolkart@nullgmail.com or 424-204-4483
Image 1: Joy and Love, 2021, Acrylic, marker, cotton, glue on canvas, 16″ x 20″
Image 2: Dreams, 2021, Acrylic, marker, cotton Q-tips, glue on canvas, 16″ x 20″
Image 3: Circle of Faith, 2021, Acrylic, marker, cotton, stones, glue on canvas, 46″ x 43″