The 2017 Fantastic Voyage is just around the corner. We have an amazing lineup of talented artists to be featured in our gallery and in our annual auction. This year, our auction will take place on April 7th at 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Check out our 2017 featured artists below:
Visions In Black Owner, Frank Frazier, began his work as a fine artist early, at the age of seven. He was creating paintings in his family’s Harlem, New York home. A husband and father of five, he recalls growing up, “we were not poor, but my family was a little different.” At the age of 15, his family moved to downtown New York, which precipitated his “getting into a lot of trouble” as a youngster. A move to Queens, New York, brought with it a stint at a boys’ institution in upstate New York, but it also marked the point where Frazier turned his life around. While at the school, he was responsible for creating art for the “different bunks.” Teachers noticed his talent and later as a sergeant in the Army during Vietnam, officers gave him the responsibility of painting art and shirts for the platoons. Frazier’s designs included a mixture of different scenes, which he completed for free. He and his fellow soldiers weren’t thinking about money when they did their work. Amazingly, after his service in the Army, Frazier says, “I recall my family throwing lots of my art away.” Ironically, today it is the love and support of his immediate and “great extended family” that inspires him.
This sculptor, painter and collagist cites the Creator as his biggest influence. “The Creator inspires me. He puts whatever I need in me,” says Frazier. He also admits that he “loves black women and likes to use them in his art.” Frazier also credits Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and Elizabeth Cattlett as his biggest artistic inspirations. Speaking on how the Diaspora influences his art, Frank muses, “I go to Senegal, West Africa a lot. Many of my collages are influenced from there.” As far as the media he works with, the sky is the limit. “I paint with oils, watercolors and charcoal; anything that’s available,” Frazier says.
“When I see young people look with respect and appreciation for the art of today, I think of Sankofa, and how we must go back to the past to understand the present,” he observes. “Take Grant Hill, the famous basketball player. Young people heard Hill is exhibiting his art collection around the United States, and they want to be a part of it because of him, although it’s really the art he has collected they are coming to see! He is holding our heritage for our children.”
Although the artistic creations of many blacks were not embraced by “mainstream” art dealers, always positive, Frank admits, “My experience as a black artist has always been good. I like working with black-owned galleries because they also expose us artists to other people’s creativity, old artists and new. Shows like this [BHAS] allow us to make a living off of our creativity, with our people supporting us. Charles Bibbs and Poncho [Brown] have come under criticism for mass-producing their work, but I think it’s great to bring an artist’s work into many homes.”
Now living in Texas, Frazier is working on a series of paintings on the Civil Rights Movement. He recently completed a road trip to various southern cities that were pivotal to the struggle for equal rights; Jackson, Mississippi to Birmingham, Alabama, to Selma, to Tuskegee. This statesmen of art was “never motivated by money” when producing his art; the love of black history and culture and creation are his driving force.
Frank Frazier serves up life’s wisdom as well as beautiful art; he offers this: “When life gets you down and you feel no one is helping you achieve your goals, remember this. Even when somebody has their foot up your behind, you are still in front; You can still make it!”
Ted Ellis is a passionate man. He is passionate about his family… passionate about his heritage and passionate about his art. Just ask him and he proudly declares, “I paint subjects that are representative of the many facets of American life as I know it. I like to think of myself as a creative historian. I was put here to record history…all aspects of American culture and heritage. My sole purpose has always been to educate through my art.”
Ellis grew up and was educated in New Orleans, a city known for its history, style and artistic exuberance. This backdrop inspired Ellis to capture the essence of the subjects of his childhood in the glory of their rich cultural heritage. Extremely dedicated to his craft, this artist draws on a style that was born in his childhood from impressions of his native city. Ellis is self-taught and boldly blends realism and impressionism in his work, evoking nostalgia and inspiration. The art of this man both reveres and celebrates the traditional values of his culture. Ted Ellis, the man, lives the life he paints about.
He generously contributes time and artwork to the following causes: United Way, ICLS, African American Visual Arts Association, Jack and Jill, Incorporated, United Negro College Fund, Heritage Christian Academy, and Public school districts around the globe.
Ellis’ involvement in the community as an art advocate and educator has earned him recognition from numerous organizations and city officials. Ellis’ latest exhibit entitled, “Capturing Our Culture And Heritage”, encompasses the diversity and cultural similarities of all Americans. This exhibit will travel across the country, visiting Chicago, New York, Mississippi and New Orleans, in the next few months. Some of Ellis’ previous national exhibits include: “The Civil Rights Movement”, “Buffalo Soldiers”, and “Born In The Spirit”.
Ellis, who currently resides in Friendswood, Texas, has been recognized as one of the most celebrated artists of the 21st century. In a mere ten years, T. Ellis Art, Inc. has sold over 1,500,000 prints and posters nationwide. Ellis’ private collectors are many and scattered throughout the globe. Major corporations have commissioned Ellis, a few of which include: Walt Disney Studios, The Minute Maid Company, Coca-Cola, Phillip Morris, and Avon, Incorporated.
He has also been featured on local and regional television programs, in magazines such as Upscale, Southern Living, and Newsweek, and is frequently featured in newspaper articles throughout the country. His artwork may also be found on CDs and books.
“Unite A Man With Conviction And Something Powerful Happens.”
In the case of Ted Ellis, that something is the gift of knowledge.
That, alone, is priceless.
Renarda Boddie Porter
Katherine Kisa was born in Nairobi, Kenya. Her family lived in various countries as her father’s United Nations diplomatic post moved him from country to country. The family eventually settled in the United States. Kisa graduated from the University of Toronto in Canada with a degree in Biology and Physical Anthropology. She also attended Emory University in Atlanta for graduate studies in Biology.
She is a self-taught artist who has devoted her art to exploring the patterns and rhythms of her cultural roots in deeply textured mixed media works. The artist has had a number of exhibitions since 1996. They include solo exhibits at the Metro Gallery, the National Academies of the Sciences, and the Dumbarton Gallery, all in Washington, D.C. She has also participated in several group shows, which include the High Museum of Art Invitational Exhibit, “Points of Entry: Conflicts, Acculturation, and Identity”. Her work has won numerous awards and prizes and was featured on the cover of the book “Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music” by David Katz.
Karen Powell is a native of New York, currently living in Chicago. She is a fine artist who has come full circle with her ‘visual’ voice. She was trained as a fine artist with a BA from Fisk University before going onto the University of Chicago for graduate study. After an extensive career as an award-winning graphic designer and art director in Boston, Massachusetts, she has returned to her passion…the fine arts. Her work has appeared on the BET television network, UpScale magazine and featured on the Black Art in America website. Powell has exhibited at diverse galleries throughout the country.
Powell’s work is a constant search to best interpret the ideas she has about things that motivate her to create. Growing up in an urban environment has inspired Powell to reflect on childhood experiences in her work. She creates mixed-media collage paintings using vintage photographs, in a very contemporary way. This work has a very personal and intimate appeal and is well received by diverse audiences.
Powell’s abstract series represents her creative ‘alter ego’. It is a departure from the traditional mixed media work but ironically, these abstracts have always existed in her work as a foundation for her mixed media images. Her abstracts now stand alone, vibrating and swirling in a very deliberate way. As an artist, Powell continues to challenge her edge. She enjoys exploring multiple genres. Nothing thrills her more than when one of her pieces speaks to someone in a very personal and profound way. This challenges and inspires her to continue this journey.
Leroy Campbell is a quintessential artist. His work, created in a variety of mixed media and reflective of the African-American experience, evokes an unexpected range of emotions. He becomes a griot, telling stories of hard work, dignity, love and caring: stories which are at times haunting and painful, yet hopeful and inspiring, and bring to life folks who are proud, God-fearing and self-reliant. He is best known for his silhouetted elongated figures with long necks. He paints them without eyes or noses; with mouths only, which he says leaves it up to the viewer’s interpretation.
His work embodies a universal message, yet remains an extension of his southern roots. Campbell, born in 1956 in Charleston, South Carolina, a city particularly rich in African-American history, culture and traditions, is a self-taught artist who began the serious pursuit of his craft in 1984 while living in New York. As he has grown, so has the intensity of his artistic expression. Artistically, he captures the spirit and flavor of African-American life in the south by employing his rich, multi-media collage techniques, including a mixed-media of vintage clothing, quilted fabrics, burlap, needles, thread, elements of southern terrain, newspaper and the skillful use of color.
His most recent series, “The Newspaper Series”, features news print as its most dominant feature. His use of newspaper signifies more than one denotation. On one hand, it represents the Gullah rituals of witchcraft, to who by papering the walls of their houses with news print, protected them against and rid of curses and dangerous spirits. On the other hand, the newspaper serves as a time capsule, since upon a closer glance the newspaper articles, triumphantly details the palpable, unwavering strength and perseverance of people of African ancestry from slavery to present day.