About the Exhibit
In an effort to become an increasingly inclusive creative space and resource for artists, we experimented with Open Studio Sessions wherein artists could use our space to work amongst other artists. These pieces are to be displayed in our Newport News Community Gallery for a new exhibit concept titled “A Space of Our Own”. THIS EXHIBIT is thematically-inspired by our Free Hang Day and the previously popular, “A Space of Her Own”. The featured artists work in a variety of media including acrylic, oil, watercolor, photography, and multi-media installation work. Their styles vary from abstract, to portraiture, to landscape, and collages.
There will also be a fun competition in which patrons will be able to vote for an audience favorite at the reception and the winner will be guaranteed a solo exhibit in the Newport News Community Gallery for our 2019/2020 exhibit season!
The exhibit will run from March 18 - April 5, 2019 with the reception on March 23, 2019 from 5:30-7:30pm. Free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP is appreciated but not required.
Dinisha Ellis is a self-taught abstract artist from Newport News, Virginia. She uses color, dots, and lines to express thoughts and feelings from life experiences. She believes that art is emotional energy transferred into its physical form. Dinisha creates her work as a tool of healing. She also wants to inspire others to see, think, and believe outside of societal norms.
Christopher Green was born in Queens, NY. As a young child he began drawing. During high school, he realized art was his passion and wished to pursue it as a career. After earning his diploma, Chris attended the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore where his craft evolved and unique artistic skills developed. After graduating with a BS in Fine Arts, Chris relocated to Norfolk, Virginia where he currently resides today. Chris has been featured in a number of local art shows and has various paintings displayed in businesses throughout Hampton Roads.
Chris’s main focus is portraits of extraordinary people expressed with bright colors. To capture the raw emotion in a portrait, Chris's technique of combining contrasting colors and saturated colors using acrylic paint on canvas brings everything to life. This inspiration comes from life and emotions. It has been heavily influenced by artists such as Rembrandt, Ernie Barnes, Brionya James and Basquiat.
Art is an expression of me- creative, imaginative, historic, relevant, musical, poetic, artsy, and reflective of everyday issues and my love of life. Telling stories goes back to my Gullah upbringing. My father called me his “Renaissance child”. I do it all; I experiment with space and my surroundings by creating everything with natural materials, found objects, and a large range of mediums.
The eldest daughter of two artist parents, I learned to appreciate the arts from birth. Surrounded by canvas, turpentine, museums, known and evolving artist, writers, civil rights leaders, actors, and musicians helped form my view of the world. The world is an intricate colorful palette designed to fill a canvas with wonderful stories and experiences. Nineteen years ago, I moved to Newport News, VA from Brooklyn, NY, and made Virginia my home. Later pieces depict life in Virginia. Earlier pieces were influenced by travels and love of the environment. While in High school I earned a scholarship to the Brooklyn Museum Student Art League, and exchanged ideas and styles with my self-taught parents. We were all members of the Artist Leagues of Brooklyn (ALB) and co-owners of the Tu-Can Duffield Gallery of Art, Brooklyn, NY.
My collections are inspired by the books I read, the people I meet, the knowledge I have obtained, and the questions I seek. I use colors and symbols to convey abstract thoughts and emotions. I believe that through my Art I have the power to heal, inspire and enlighten. It feels like so much more than art to me, I feel like I have been painting meditations. I have a deep passion for landscape art. I teach primarily landscape painting in my “Painted Meditations” adult and youth classes. The sky, water, and flowers all remind me to be patient and enjoy the cycles of life. They remind me to be grateful for my senses and that life is worth admiration.
My name is Alana and I'm from Newport News, VA. I enjoy DIY projects and love to make crafts. I am a self-taught artist who began painting at the age of 7. In my mind, art is a way to express your individuality.
(Alana Johnson was mentored by her mother/artist Dinisha Ellis for this exhibit.)
Denise McKenna is a long-time resident of Newport News, Virginia. She is the co-founder of The Hampton Roads Urban Sketchers Group. With this group she hosts urban sketching events and workshops in the lower Peninsula region. The group is currently under consideration for an international charter, and is the only such group for urban sketching in the Southeastern Virginia area.
Watercolor media has been her main focus for the last 18 months, although she has been sketching and painting since 2000.
Her recent style and favorite technique (line and wash) originated from her passion for urban sketching. Her art has been selected by juried panels for display in local galleries and exhibits, and her works are presently on display in local galleries and exhibits.
McKenna’s works are presently on display and for sale in Art Central Gallery in Phoebus (Hampton, VA). She plans to teach watercolor classes and workshops beginning in April 2019.
Mills began to pursue his interest in art following graduation in Long Island, NY. This pursuit of art as a career began when his high school art teacher and guidance counselor encouraged him to pursue his interest following graduation.
Patrick engaged in coursework at several schools and colleges, including NY State University at Farmingdale and Empire State College at Old Westbury. At Old Westbury, he completed the associate’s degree in Visual Arts.
Patrick worked as an instructor in creative art programs such as the Hands Across Long Island Outreach Center (HALO). These programs provide therapeutic modality for people with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities.
Patrick Mills has exhibited and sold his art work in the metropolitan NY area, at African American art exhibits such as the museum in Baltimore, at the James Gallery in Washington, D.C., and at a juried African American art show at Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA (2005).
Contact artist at firstname.lastname@example.org
Miriam Moran is a New York born up-and-coming artist residing in Maryland. She is a devout Christian and is passionate about her artistry. Miriam says a prayer before starting every art piece. She has a personal connection to every piece of artwork she creates. Some more valuable than others she still conveys passion in every brushstroke. One of her strongest traits as a visual artist is her ability to transfer all of her emotions into every masterpiece. She has painted for well- known public figures as well as inspiring the youth to dream and to achieve through her story behind the artwork. Miriam hopes to continually be known for the passion and style in her art as well as stirring up soulful emotional connections through her pieces.
You can find Miriam's artistic material on IG, FB and Twitter.
For other inquiries contact email@example.com
Richard Press is a retired art instructor for the Norfolk Public School System. He obtained his BFA from Norfolk State University and continued taking courses at the University of Virginia and Cambridge College. He has also acted as the Visual Arts Coordinator for the Hampton Celebration of the Arts in Hampton, VA. He has had numerous public and private commissions, and has showed in major exhibitions throughout Virginia and Maryland. Richard volunteers regularly throughout the area, spreading his love and knowledge of art throughout the community.
Contact artist at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a self-taught artist who enjoys creating art that inspires and gives rise to emotions, increases self-awareness, and encourages critical thinking.
My art work includes pencil and charcoal drawings, watercolor, abstract and acrylic paintings, mixed-media, crafting, up cycling, portrait paintings/drawings, card making, clay modeling, as well as paper- maché. My practice would be best described as multifaceted as I create art in various styles and mediums, using a wide range of subject matters.
George Stanley Jr. is an artist from Newport News, Virginia. George has attended Thomas Nelson Community College for Illustration and Airbrushing. He has attended classes at MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design).
George has appeared on the CW27 television show called “Here and Now” with host Kafi Rouse, KFAI radio in Minneapolis, MN, and Langston Hughes 100 Years celebration. George has designed logos, flyers, and other things for local Comedian Coco Brown and others such as United Souls and more.
Thank you for taking the time to view my painting. Hope you enjoy. -GSJ
I believe the purpose of art is to inspire the imagination and connect us with our humanity. I want my work to fulfill those needs in my audience.
As a child I wanted to change the world. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to make a big splash. From the past to the present and in between I have learned of life’s limitations. And, that you must confront every limitation with innovation. I continue to apply this concept to my art.
My conceptual process comes from life experiences, and succeeds and fails within my ability to create physical and emotional substance. Art is the container for a compelling story, and it keeps the promise alive not by what I see but by what I know is there.
I love a challenge. Sometimes I try to imagine the impossible then create it. I use vivid colors symbolically rather than realistically. Lines and forms are simplified or even distorted for better expression. Images are alive and intuitive and only the colors of my pallet can render the emotions of that visual awareness.
“In the end my reward comes when the viewer gets something more than they expect. For me, no matter how perfect a painting is, it will not win a place in our heart unless it can appeal to our deeper emotions.”
ANTHONY LEON WARDRETT was born February 10, 1969 in Newport News, VA to Leroy & Eunice Wardrett. At the age of 7, Anthony discovered he had a talent for art. He loved drawing both comic book and Looney Tune characters so much, that he and his mother would draw pictures on Saturday mornings after watching cartoons. In 1976, Anthony drew his first picture of Tweety Bird and Sylvester the Cat, which his mother still has framed in her house today. From that moment on, Anthony knew art was his passion. Anthony’s passion for art continued from elementary school through high school. His talents, as well as his drawings, were recognized for various awards. After graduating from Hampton High School in 1987, Anthony went on to attend Virginia State University where he studied Commercial Arts. Anthony currently works for the Hampton City School system, where he enjoys working with students of all ages. He volunteers his time doing, “Paint Day” for various clubs and organizations throughout the surrounding middle schools. Anthony still resides locally in Newport News.
Alexandra Whiteside has been an adjunct instructor in the Interior Design Bachelor of Fine Arts program at the Art Institute of Virginia Beach since 2012. The subjects she teaches include architectural drafting, working drawings, digital 3D rendering, and design process, as well as Senior Studio and Portfolio capstone courses. Alexandra also holds art workshops through the Downing Gross Cultural Arts Center in Newport News, and teaches art and photography through Creative Music and Entertainment in Chesapeake. Alexandra and her husband Jimi regularly sponsor volunteer art sessions for senior citizens with cognitive impairment at The Memory Center in Virginia Beach. Alexandra and Jimi are also currently developing an art program for adults with special needs in association with the Knights of Columbus.
Alexandra has been professionally involved in the visual arts for over 30 years, including a 10-year career in theater as both an actress and set designer. Her formal education is an eclectic creative mix of photography, dramatic arts, fine art and interior design. Alexandra entered the interior design profession in 1985, working for Sandy Klein Interiors in New York City. She transitioned to the design-build industry, working in construction project management for Shearson-Lehman American-Express through the late 1980’s.
Alexandra holds a Virginia Class A contractor’s license with both the commercial and residential builder classifications, and in 2016 she earned the 132-hour Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Professional certification. Alexandra and Jimi own Chelsea Design Studio, a design-build firm, and Whiteside Art Studios, a fine arts studio in Norfolk, VA. Alexandra and Jimi together provide decorative painting, murals, and commissioned fine art paintings for corporate and residential clients.
I enjoy creating artwork in a range of mediums, with the majority of my pieces being paintings in oil and acrylic. My style frequently reflects a “freedom of expression” influence by modernists such as Hans Hoffman and Piet Mondrian, but I do not try to adhere to or mimic a specific art movement.
Typically, I prefer to use abstracted forms that explore story-telling through the manipulation of color and texture. Instead of dictating what message people should derive from my paintings, I construct art as a vehicle that elicits a unique story and emotional response from each viewer.
Jimi Whiteside studied fine arts at Old Dominion University and received an A.A. in graphic design and illustration from the Art Institute of Atlanta in 1984.
Originally working in the mid to late 1980’s as a civil engineering designer and draftsman for Langley McDonald, the largest engineering firm in Hampton Roads at the time, Jimi was the first artist in history to receive the Excellence Award from the Army Corps of Engineers (for his cartography work on the James River Flood Plane Maps). Jimi also received an award of merit from VDOT for his conceptual artwork for the Wicomico Bridge Actualization Project, and his drawings for the Phalanx Missile Defense System were framed and displayed at the Pentagon.
Jimi transitioned from civil design into a more lucrative commercial market, including set actualization for Paramount Pictures and Paramount Parks in the 1990’s. Jimi’s props can be seen in the films Addams Family Values and Wayne’s World II.
From 1993 through 2002, Jimi contracted with Vapp Studios and SOEDA Design Group, specializing in toy and cold-cast porcelain prototype design for Disney, Dreamworks, Warner Brothers Design Group, Lucasfilm, and Dragonball Z for Bandai (Japan). During his years at Vapp and SOEDA, Jimi had the honor of working in collaboration with Frank Frazetta, H.R. Giger (Morpheus Gallery, Munich, Germany), Simon Bisley, Boris Vallejo, and the estate of Vaughn Bode.
In 2002, Jimi retired from commercial art venues to concentrate on a full-time fine art career, and he currently owns Chelsea Design Studio and Whiteside Art Studios with his wife, Alexandra. Jimi has been featured in two international fine art magazines and has won two awards for his paintings and one award for sculpture. He is also an internationally award-winning fine-scale modeler.
Commercially, I do people and animal portraits in a style that is realistic with a nostalgic tone. My personal artwork, however, is typically inspired by memories and dreams, and my paintings are usually autobiographical with a surreal twist. I work in both oils and acrylics, with a style influenced by surrealist and fantasy artists, most notably Rene Magritte.
I create lighting, shadows, angles and proportion in an exaggerated and dysmorphic fashion to convey the distortion of memory and reality through the passage of time. The result is subject matter that is familiar to the viewer but may also be unsettling or perplexing.
I am on the autism spectrum, and although I am high functioning, verbal communication is difficult. With my more personal paintings, I am able to “describe” how I perceive the world around me through the lens of autism.