Thomas Robert Simpson
About: Thomas Robert Simpson, actor, director, producer, and writer, is the founder and artistic director of AfroSolo Arts Festival. Since 1991 he has concentrated on presenting Black art and culture through solo performances and the visual and literary arts.
This current visual arts practice focus on honoring Black women. “Project Laura Etta Simpson: In Glory of Black Women” is a photographic expose affirming their humanity. HIs goal is to photograph one thousand women as part of this project.
For the past twenty-four years Simpson has produced the award winning AfroSolo Arts Festival. He has also showcased celebrity artists such as award-winning actor Ruby Dee, comedian and political activist Dick Gregory, beloved teacher, poet and social activist June Jordan, sensational black gospel singer Emmit Powell, along with hundreds of local theatre, dance and visual artist.
Mr. Simpson won a coveted Bay Area Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2006. In 2009 he was awarded a Certificate of Honor from the San Francisco Board of Supervisor. Over the years has received awards from San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s Black Brothers Esteem Program, The Reggie Williams Achievement Award, the Oakland Supper Club to name a few.Since 2006 Mr. Simpson has also used AfroSolo’s Community Engagement program to focus on important issues in the black community, such as: health, justice and education.
Artist Statement for ‘Project Laura Etta Simpson: In Glory of Black Women’: Although humanity sprang from the loin of Black women, seldom have they been revered, respected, or rewarded for this gift. Thomas Robert Simpson’s ‘‘Project Laura Etta Simpson: In Glory of Black Women’, named in honor of his mother, is a photographic expose affirming the beauty, grace, humanity, charm, etc. of Black women. Thomas will photograph 1000 Black women, showcasing their diversity, erasing the disrespectful history placed on them and help invigorate the glory and honor our Sisters justly deserve.
2. (Photo with Face) Title: Fely, By Thomas Robert Simpson
3. (Photo of Woman sitting) Title: Dr. Ndounou, By Thomas Robert Simpson
About: Winthrop STEVEn HURST grew up in the projects on Chicago’s South Side. After high school, he had a short-lived career as a musician, playing the tenor and soprano saxophones and singing. Tired of living on the road and making very little money, he moved to New York at twenty-one, where he studied painting, illustration, graphic design and photography. His career as a graphic designer took him to Boston, back to New York, Cleveland and eventually, the Bay Area. He now resides in Point Richmond, creating time-telling art from found and repurposed items.
Steve’s mother influenced his becoming an artist. She would bring things home from work and say “I thought you could make something with this, honey”, triggering his inventive and creative instincts which have culminated into his creations today. Celebrity owners of his time-telling art include Magic Johnson (gift from the city of Richmond), Oprah Winfrey and Oprah’s dad (gifts). One of his clocks hangs in city hall in Shimada, Japan (gift from city of Richmond). Other local owners include Richmond Chamber of Commerce, former Richmond Mayor Rosemary Corbin, and a commissioned design which hangs in Mechanics Bank in Pittsburgh, CA. Three pieces were commissioned and purchased to hang in the Marin Health and Wellness Center in San Rafael, California.
Steve began his career as a visual artist in 1976. He’s had one man shows of his paintings and illustrations in Illinois, New York City, Boston, Cleveland and East Bay, California. Designing clocks began when he made two for himself in 1990. During the recession in New York in 1991, he made and sold clocks to survive, as there was no graphic design work and no one was paying money owed. The art has taken on new forms since then, but his signature style is still there, as are his signature pistachio shell hour markers on most of the designs. His new designs consist of earthy and celestial-themed creations that take on a spiritual nature. Steve states that the new themes are influenced by maturing into his sixties.
“My concerns and interests are different now and I can see it reflected in my art. It’s not my call, it’s my calling. I’m just the tool that manifests the creations.” – Steven
About: I use photography as a means to document the world around me. I make pictures that call attention to things that other people overlook. This exploration of the overlooked helps me engage more deeply with where I am in space and time. My goal is to make photographs that draw viewers into the now. A focus on details keeps us in the present, it stops us from fretting on the future or regretting the past. My photographs are like a physical meditation.
About: Ashlei Reign is a proud Oakland native and well traveled artist. With nineteen countries and counting and a former job as an Oakland police officer, Ashlei has seen a wide range of cultures and communities. Her highly saturated images have the ability to draw your attention and her level of detail in the eyes of her portraits teach you to look beyond differences and simply connect. Ashlei has had no formal art training but she continues to surround herself with other artists and mentors that contribute to her artistic journey.
Alfred J. White
About: I love to paint.
More info: Open to commissions. Contact Artist: firstname.lastname@example.org
Medium: Oil, Acrylic, Swarovski Crystal
Accepting Commissions at Artbycelise.com
About: My name is Sienna Forde and I am a 27 year old American born, Caribbean bred black artist living in California. I was raised in Tampa, Florida, educated in Miami, Florida and self-actualized in San Jose, California. My medium of choice is variations of acrylic on canvas which I may choose to embellish with 3-dimensional objects like crystals and geodes, feathers and foliage. I started out doing mostly portraits, which have proved to be meticulous yet rewarding. I now focus mainly on acrylic pours which is concentrated more on feeling during the process and evolution thereof which is then, in turn, translated to the final product. Sometimes I go into my creative zone with a vision for the outcome while other times, the final product comes from adapting throughout the progression.
As I grow as an individual, my motivation has waned and wavered but the creative explosion that happens on a canvas always seems to find its way back to me. I have always been drawn to art, whether it be spoken word, doodles or calculated pieces. I grew up with a house full of men so talking about feelings wasn’t really a thing which is why I spoke through creation. I wanted to go to art school out of high school but my father wanted me to pursue a career that would provide more compensation than that of a “struggling artist”. For that reason I ended up in Miami where the urban and cultural art is rich. No matter how much I focused on building my career and my life outside of creating, the hunger would continue to build to the point of imbalance and a form of satiating artistry always reemerged. Everyone has their life to live and it is easy to get caught up in adulting but what people need to also remember to embrace are the aspects that ground us.
More info: The best method of contact will be through my Instagram page @sspilledmilk. On my page, I feature the pieces I am working on as well as finished commissioned piece. I am opened for commissions currently.
About: Bay area based self taught artist with little to no professional training. I began painting for art therapy purposes, a creative stress free outlet, it helped reduce anxiety that later turned into a profession. Being a self taught artist gave me the freedom to explore painting in an unconventional way. My art is a representation of the beautiful melanin culture of people that have inspired me on my journey.
Richmond Art Center
2540 Barrett Avenue
Richmond, CA 94804-1600
Contact and Visitor Info
Gallery Hours: Wed-Sat 10am-4pm