Artists Statements

Artists Statements

Exhibitions: RECOUNTABLE | PEOPLE, PLACES, THINGS: ART BY ESSIE GRAHAM

Chibuzo Amajor

Chibuzo Amajor is a visual artist hailing from Dallas, Texas. He has been an avid artist since childhood. His main medium is acrylic on canvas, though he plans on exploring other media. Chibuzo uses art as a creative outlet.

Chibuzo’s art is a representation of personal emotions and thoughts which are expressed in an abstract manner. His art tells a story of personal life experiences. It also encapsulates experiences throughout the global black diaspora.

Contact the Artist:    

Social Media – Instagram @Amajorarts

Reuben Cheatem

With the diptych of abstract figurative paintings, “She Is, She Will” and “She Can, She Must,” Cheatem aims to use the superhero aesthetic to connote women’s empowerment. Both women are looking upwards as an implication of taking charge and pressing forward.

Contact the Artist: reubenswitch@hotmail.com   (515) 269-8380

Website – www.reubencheatem.com

Social Media – Instagram @rcheatemartist

Ron Crouch

I was born in Fort Worth, and have been making art for as long as I can remember. One of my mother’s uncles was an accomplished amateur painter so when I showed an early interest in art, my family encouraged my efforts. 

Over the years I’ve used narrative elements to explore issues like the nature of relationships, community, and our personal environments —especially that psychological space we all construct for ourselves. While concerned with narrative, at its heart my work has always been about the joy of playing with the language of art— focusing on how the tale is told, not what the tale is about.  In the heat of the creative moment, it’s easy to lose track of that. 

At one level I see my work as loose pages out of a book where the viewer finishes the story. I don’t have a set way I want the story to be completed— in fact if it has only one ending it hardly seems worth looking at a second time. I may be the first viewer, but I’m not the only viewer. 

At its core, art is a spiritual journey. This journey is one of discovering what is most important to us. And so I find myself exploring the everyday and mundane parts of my life, painting the people I know and love, and the space we all share.

Contact the Artist: ralphart@ralphart.com   (817) 793-7660

Website – www.rontaylorcrouch.com

Social Media – www.facebook.com/rontaylorcrouch   www.instagram.com/rontaylorcrouch

Nick Glenn

After receiving a BA from Texas State in 2005, Nick moved to San Antonio with a love of printmaking and relief carving. Six years were spent in San Antonio participating in local gallery shows and fairs, slowing moving his medium away from printmaking and into his own style of wood art that incorporated a combination of relief carving and painting. This would lead him to get representation in North Texas at the Kettle Art Gallery in downtown Dallas. Kettle would provide the outlet he needed to evolve his art into what it is today; a union of woodcraft and fine art. 

Nick draws inspiration from his surrounding Southwest culture, local folklore, and his artistic medium to create images that symbolize a single moment in a much longer narrative. Since 2016, Nick has lived, created, and continued to develop artistically in North Texas.

Contact the Artist: nickgnn@gmail.com

Website – http://www.nickglenn.com

Social Media –Instagram: @nickglennart

Essie Graham

I use photography to document the world around me. I make pictures that call attention to things that other people often overlook. My work can be recognized by a timeless and ethereal quality where the imperfections of the subject, camera, or technique are often highlighted as an integral part of the image.  I use all types of cameras in my work, though most often, older film cameras and Polaroid materials, which can give surprising results at times. My goal is to take pictures that make people think outside the box, to look at things differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective.

Contact the Artist: epgphotography1@gmail.com

Website – www.epgphotography.com

Social Media – Facebook: epgphotography  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/epgphotography/

Lisa Huffaker

These assemblages are part of a group I made in 2020, during covid lockdowns. The relative quiet and stillness of that time made me aware of a gleaming and marvelous quality of being, usually drowned out by the manic speed and noise of modern life. These pieces meditate on the treasure-box of the inner life, and the resonance and revelation made possible by enclosure. 

BLAMELESS BELLEROPHON imagines the psyche as the mythical rider of Pegasus, embodying the sense that there is a winged possibility waiting to befriend and carry us. As if to ride the constellation as well as the horse, we gaze through a kaleidoscope-turned-telescope to be transported to inner and outer space at once.

THE YEAR BEFORE EVERYTHING CHANGED questions whether innocence is possible. Even if we are ignorant of the forces that shape reality, we are part of those equations. Light comes from dark places: we mine that gleam from the depths of the earth, we fish it up from the ocean floor.

Contact the Artist: lisahuffaker@yahoo.com   (972) 365-3483

Website – www.lisahuffaker.com

Social Media – Facebook: lishuffaker.35   Instagram: @lisa.huffaker

Assandre Jean-Baptiste

I am fine-arts painter currently based in Dallas, Texas using acrylic paint as my main tool. I try to make my subjects as rich in personality as in color. My artwork is heavily influenced by animation including both cartoons and anime, music, pop culture, books, things that encompass my everyday life. Since my childhood I’ve always dabbled in the arts, but it wasn’t until about five years ago that decided to take my passion seriously, and I honestly think it was the greatest decision of my life.

Contact the Artist: hueydynamite@gmail.com

Website: https://hueydynamite.com

Social Media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/assandre.jeanbaptiste

Romulo Martinez

As a person and artist, I have always had a strong interest in humanistic, social and introspective themes, which lead me to capture in my work, with documentary conceptions, both my own and others emotions with the intention that viewers can see themselves reflected in the work from the sensitivity and make them participants of the stories or dialogues represented, or, on the contrary let them nourish and give the work a new conceptual and narrative content.

I represent through bursts and auras, the emotions from a search for self-discovery in the various moods of emotionality and thoughts within picturesque, playful and surreal contexts, where human figures and natural or everyday elements in an allegorical and cartographic way seek to narrate a story. It is in this way that the series that defines my work Presences / essences was born, a work in which color plays a symbolic and conceptual role accompanying the representations to evoke feelings and sensations.

In my work I seek to express myself through experimentation with mixed media and various formalities between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional, using different techniques with their materials such as collage, assembly and construction, in the company of painting, drawing and the graphic arts such as serigraphy, stencils and photography, leading me to create modular proposals in dialogue with each other, interventions in space or installations.

Because it has autobiographical nuances, my work is an introspective, therapeutic journey, where I seek to heal and reconcile the thoughts and memories in the historicity of my personal life, looking at the past through meditation and reflection to think about the present and visualize the future with the hope of being able to give myself and others certain statements that awaken enthusiasm and courage in their beings no matter the changes that life presents us.

Contact the Artist: roarma@gmail.com   (469) 734-5856

Website – www.romulomartinez.com

Social Media – facebook.com/romulomartinezart   Instagram: @_romulomartinez

Eliana Miranda

My work explores the negative effects that human development has on the environment and how it is felt by all but mostly the disenfranchised. The research I have done focuses on human migrations from global ecological disasters that stem from climate change. I use my artwork as a way to highlight the connections between people, their communities, and nature. When addressing the complexity of this issue, drawing and painting become key. I use color and the sketched line as mechanisms for underlining the ramifications of our ecological footprint and the transitory nature of human life. Patterns underscore the risk of losing culture in the process.

Contact the Artist: emiranda4220@gmail.com   

Website – www.elianamiranda-art.com

Social Media –  Instagram:  @elianamiranda_art

Tippi Polo

Tippi Polo is a mixed media artist, known best for her deeply personal collage work. Polo uses ephemera and discarded materials to explore childhood memories and family narratives. Her work embraces the natural distortion inherent to storytelling, but always with the tangible evidence of a genuine experience lost to time. Thus, most pieces include actual personal items such as correspondence, cigar packaging and wallpaper encased in layers of wax or tissue. Polo’s research focuses heavily on the complexities of interpersonal communication and self-image, primarily in the context of Hispanic American culture. She admired artist Kara Walker’s ability to create dynamic, emotionally charged pieces using “simple” silhouettes. So, her personal practice evolved to include paper dolls and silhouettes as means of abstraction. This approach permits her to be both present and absent from the story, allowing the viewer to better absorb both the emotional environment and the implicated influence of gender and heritage. Polo, originally from Tampa, Florida, currently resides in Dallas Texas, acting as Coordinator of the Division of Art and Center for Creative Computation at Southern Methodist University.

Contact the Artist: tippi.polo@gmail.com   

Website – www.tippipolo.com

Amani Sodiq-Odunaiya

My work focuses on my battle with depression, my history with childhood sexual trauma, and my identity as a Nigerian-American woman. I see my photographs as visual journals that I use to share and discuss my life experiences with the aim of shedding light on the topics of mental health, childhood sexual abuse, and identity crises. These topics are typically not talked about in Black and Judeo-Christian communities, however, with my work, I hope to encourage discussions among members of these communities on these topics. Once we are able to speak freely about our experiences and struggles within Black and Judeo-Christian communities, our people in these communities can begin to heal from their trauma, and our children will be better equipped to handle adverse situations.

Contact the Artist: amanisodiq.odunaiya@gmail.com   

Website – https://www.incendiphotography.com

Social Media – Facebook: Amani Sodiq   www.instagram.com/queen_incendi

Robert Weiss

Robert Weiss was born in Galveston, Texas in 1983. He moved to Dallas to attend Booker T. Washington High School for Performing and Visual Arts. After Graduating high school, he moved to Baltimore to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art to study Painting and Printmaking. After receiving his BFA in printmaking, Robert relocated back to Texas where he taught painting, drawing, film and ceramics at Ball High School in Galveston. Robert, along with his students at Ball High School, created a film titled Ike: A Documentary The Story of A torn City Rebuilt by Everyday Heroes. The film reveals the devastating and catastrophic effects Hurricane Ike impacted Galveston with and the incredible resilience of the community following. During that time he was honored to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the Teacher of the Year Award from Galveston Independent School District for his notable work on the documentary and with the students. Following his 5-year teaching career in Galveston, Robert then went on to receive his MFA from Syracuse University in New York where he studied painting and drawing under Jerome Witkin. During that time he worked as an Associate Professor of drawing for 2 years. Today, Robert currently teaches film at the Episcopal School of Dallas while continuing to work on his own short narrative films, documentaries and paintings. During his summers he works on collaborative film projects in France and attends artist residency programs with an emphasis on painting and drawing. Robert is co-founder of Exposition Gallery, an independent gallery that presents works by contemporary artists in historic Exposition Park.

Contact the Artist: robertweissworks@gmail.com

Website: https://www.robertweissworks.com

Social Media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/expositiongallery/  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robertweissart/

Becky Wilkes

“Beach Bums” is one image from the project, “Ditched” which explores the implications of our throwaway society through the examination of debris meticulously collected from the shoreline of Eagle Mountain Lake, near Fort Worth, TX. For one year during the drought of 2014 to 2015, every item found along one mile of newly exposed lakefront was photographed in-situ and again in studio, collected and arranged into digital collages. These artifacts speak to me; I seek to understand and account for them in patterns that respond their messages, such as the two paths taken by the  Beach Bums  crowded head to toe in the sand. 

Eagle Mountain Lake, while only 14 square miles in size, is fed by a watershed of over 850 square miles. Unlike the trash entering our oceans, this debris is trapped inland, restrained by the dam, fed by drainage ditches and roadways. Individually, the collages reveal the variety, quantity and rate of disintegration of the materials contained in the lakefront. Collectively, they speak to our careless abandonment post gratification. Either by accident or intention, our waterways are being inundated on a massive scale.

Contact the Artist: wilkes.becky@gmail.com   (817) 797-7008

Website – www.beckywilkesphotography.com/ditched-debris/

Social Media – Facebook: @BeckyWilkesPhotography   Instagram: @BeckyWilkesPhotography

Becky Wilkes

Seldom are we privileged to witness the final journey of love between our parents in intimate detail. Till Death Do Us Part shares the tender and mature relationship between two 89 year olds reconnected following near death experiences. After 67 years of marriage, COVID created an untenable situation for my parents. Mom was recovering from a recent stroke and was discharged to live independently. Dad suffered  from congestive heart failure and was newly placed on hospice within the same facility. When lockdowns eliminated our participation in their care and illuminated systemic failures, we moved them to our home in Azle, TX. 

Although I had been in regular and increasingly significant contact with my parents throughout their lives, nothing could have prepared me for the transformation that I was to witness, not only in their health and mental state, but also their relationship with each other and my relationship with them. Almost immediately, I began photographing what we all knew were their final days together.

Upon arrival, dad weighed 106# at 6’1” and mom struggled to stand from a seated position. It was touch and go for a few weeks, but slowly they both saw recovery as a possibility. Newly reunited, I discovered my parents devotion to one another. Rarely were they separated more than a few feet. They moved as one unit canvassing the driveway, hallway, and property with their walkers, often spooning one another as they slept.

Dad sought the sunshine, and was observant to the wonders of his world. He was immensely at peace being in mom’s presence. Mom was more complicated. She struggled to accept the confines of COVID and the inevitability of their future. She often shared that she feared being a burden and dreamed of returning to their former lifestyle. 

The photograph of mom in “Take me with you” had been in daddy’s wallet for over 50 years. When mom found out that dad’s surgery to repair his hip had failed, she took the photo to him, placed it into his hand and asked him to take her with him. 

Following daddy’s sudden death, mom quickly faded in health and mental state. Simple tasks became impossible and lead to her death a brief two months later. They gifted me nearly a year to capture their story of love, fear, vulnerability, and intimacy with each other. Even in death, they chose to stay together.

Contact the Artist: wilkes.becky@gmail.com   (817) 797-7008

Website – www.beckywilkesphotography.com

Social Media – Facebook:@BeckyWilkesPhotography   Instagram: @BeckyWilkesPhotography

Ziesook You

She portrays her surroundings and daily life in a bold, unaffected video language. Her pieces include the video diary of her family using time-flowing methods, a documentary film has taken in various world travel sites depicting space and time, and 10 Years Self-Portrait using time compression techniques. She has exhibited in Korea, Australia, Iceland, Taiwan, Hungary, Japan, France, the Netherlands, the UK, and the United States. 

Since 2016, she has been working on the “Scent of Broq-pa” project, which expresses happiness through the coexistence of humans and nature, with people from various walks of life and has been exhibiting it in Korea, Hong Kong, the UK, and the United States.

Her work prefers continuous series in which layers accumulate over a long period of time, examining time, space, nature, and life.

 She earned a master’s degree in fine art and taught contemporary art and video art and techniques at universities and graduate schools from 2006 to 2014. 

 From 1999 to 2018, she participated in various studio activities including residency programs. She participated in a number of exhibitions and had 14 individual exhibitions in Korea and USA. She is currently working at her studio in Austin and is participating in exhibitions in several cities in Texas, South Carolina, California, and New York.

Contact the Artist: https://www.ziesookyou.com/contact  ziesookyou@gmail.com

Website: https://www.ziesookyou.com

Social Media: Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ziesook/  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ziesook/