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.
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.
About: Anna grew up in New York City, and lived on Sugar Hill. The Sugar Hill Neighborhood is a small enclave, north of Harlem.
Sugar Hill in the 1950s and 1960s was an exciting place to grow up. Anna heard stories of all of the famous African American artists and Musicans and others who had lived in the neighborhood during the glamour of the Harlem Renaissance. That pride was pervasive.
Edwards says “These later works are from a series I continue to revisit, “The Light Bearers”, deliverers of Light and purveyors of inspiration, & wisdom, these gatherers of Light have planted seeds helping us tap into our true source of inspiration. Our enlightenment and illumination is from within. The Light from within speaks to us individually yet; there are those special souls around us, The Light Bearers, who inspire us through their writings, art, music, poetry, living, teaching and inventions. The paintings in this series are exploring the spiritual landscape of the individual. While many are my particular and personal stories, they are also universal. My intent is to pay homage to a few of those extraordinary individuals, public and private who have led the way for my spiritual and artistic growth and have been an inspiration to many. As an artist my work has been influenced by travel. Exploring the Urban Landscape through travel, walking city streets, visiting museums and local eateries connected me with the locals and as I began to see the landscape of cities and people, I felt that these manifestations reflected the consciousness of the communities.
As I spent time exploring and watching my own experiences unfold, I began to see how there was a direct correlation between what happened in the outer and my inner thought patterns. As this exploration continues, my artwork is focusing more on the Spiritual landscape of the individual. My aim is to produce paintings that are soothing and comforting to see and enjoy. In my Spiritual quest I have begun to see each person and event as a link in the chain for my continued growth.
Exploring the universal Spiritual Landscape and my own journey of Spiritual growth. I share this work, inviting you to look beyond the formal qualities of the work, and enjoy the surface, textures and the intricate subtleties up close to view and see what I appreciate as I am creating the works, the details one cannot realize from afar.
About: Paula Vaughan was born and raised in Chicago, then decided to build my life in California where I found my dreams as a firefighter and photography as my passion.Shooting is a big part of my life, capturing a moment that I can share, and express through pictures on how I see the world. making a moment last a lifetime.Thanks for your support in seeing the world through my eyes.
About: I am an Oakland artist who believes that art exists to bring forth one’s internal beliefs and concepts. Finding ways to interpret one’s beliefs, concepts and ideas should never be limited to one medium. Each art piece creates an extension of love, fearlessness and a little trepidation. Trepidation that one’s concept might not be actualized in the complete form from the artiste’s mind’s eye. When a viewer stops to reflects on the images created it is important that they see a window that is open and inviting. The desire is that the viewer looks inside and walks away with a sense of the emotions that brought forth the creation.
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: http://www.thestreetspirit.org/the-visionary-folk-art-of-leon-kennedy
“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
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″