4 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday – Depicted/Connected: Paintings by Tim Okamura Coming to U Street in September”

Happy Creativity Thursday – Depicted/Connected: Paintings by Tim Okamura Coming to U Street in September

Photo Credit: Tim Okamura's painting, Sun Rise on U Street, 2013
Photo Credit: Tim Okamura’s painting, Sun Rise on U Street, 2013

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am excited to announce that Smith Center for Healing and the Arts is hosting an opening reception for the D.C. debut of Brooklyn-based painter Tim Okamura’s new portrait collection, Depicted/Connected on Friday, September 27, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, 1632 U Street, N.W. (three blocks from the U Street/Cardozo Metro Station on the Green Line).

Photo Credit: Tim Okamura
Photo Credit: Tim Okamura

Depicted/Connected features 11 culturally diverse women who were primarily born and raised in the D.C. area. They are depicted through Tim’s self-constructed lens which captures how they have experienced the evolution of D.C. as a city. Through the paintings, he says, “I have sought to celebrate these women as individuals, connected to their environment, but also to discover through them metaphors for greater aspects of the human condition – connected to all of us.” If you are in D.C. on September 27, please plan to attend this amazing event. See you in September!

SIDE NOTE: Just in case you couldn’t tell who is featured in the painting above, I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s me. Tim included a door from Republic Gardens, a club I used to hang out in during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Photo Credit: http://soulofamerica.com/interact/us-cities/washington-dc/washington-dc-restaurants/republic-gardens-restaurant/
Photo Credit: http://soulofamerica.com/interact/us-cities/washington-dc/washington-dc-restaurants/republic-gardens-restaurant/

The club has a rich history too. It first opened in the 1920s when owner W.G. Tindel converted a brick rowhouse (1355 U Street, N.W.) into a restaurant with a backyard summer garden on U Street, the heart of D.C.’s African American culture and life (the reason I moved to the neighborhood 23 years ago). During the next 30 years, it became a major destination for fans of live jazz. Two of my favorite jazz musicians Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker performed there.

When I look at the sun-like gold window on the red door in the painting, I am reminded of Amaterasu, the Japanese sun  goddess. She is associated with the colors red, gold, and yellow. She represents royal power and returning life and joy after dark times, as the sun becomes stronger and warmer after the winter solstice.

Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

BEHIND THE SCENES WITH TIM OKAMURA:

I met Tim on June 9, during his photo shoot for Depicted/Connected at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery. Smith Center invited me and five amazing women to participate in the photo shoot. The first thing I noticed about him was his easy-going spirit, positive energy, and kind smile. He was able to stay focused and have fun too.

Tim Okamura and Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

After the photo shoot, I went home and Googled Tim to learn more about his work. When I visited his Facebook page and saw his painting, “Les Nubians Combat Pour L’Amour” and “Courage 3.0,” I became an instant fan. I also listened to his 2011 interview on NPR’s Tell Me More with journalist Michel Martin. During the interview, he discussed his passion for hip hop, his hip hop radio show in Canada, and his ”Bronx Brooklyn Queens” series of paintings that feature African-American women of New York City. I Googled the series and fell in love with each painting. What a powerful body of work!

More About Tim (from his official bio):
He earned a B.F.A. with Distinction at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Canada before moving to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts in 1991.  After graduating with an M.F.A. in 1993, he relocated to Brooklyn, New York, where he continues to live and work. His artwork has been exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in London, England; galleries throughout the U.S. and Canada; and he was short-listed by the Royal Surveyor of the Queen’s Picture Collection for a commissioned portrait of the Queen of England.  His work is included in the permanent collection of the Toronto Congress Center, Standard Chartered Bank, and the Davis Museum in Massachusetts, as well as the private collections of  celebrity clients such as John Mellencamp, Uma Thurman, and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. He is represented by Lyons Wier Gallery in New York, and Douglas Udell Gallery in Canada. To learn more about Tim and his work, LIKE him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.
0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday: Support Ayoka Chenzira’s New Film Project – BABYLON SISTERS – VOTE ONLINE!”

Happy Creativity Thursday: Support Ayoka Chenzira’s New Film Project – BABYLON SISTERS – VOTE ONLINE!

babylon sisters

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today’s blog post pays special tribute to Ayoka “Ayo” Chenzira’s exciting new film project, BABYLON SISTERS which is based on author Pearl Cleage’s novel. Ayo is one of my favorite Creativista digital sisters and filmmakers in the world! I also love Ms. Cleage’s work (been a fan since I read her book, Mad at Miles in the 1990s).

Photo Credit: PearlCleage.net
Photo Credit: PearlCleage.net
Dr. Ayoka Chenzira - Photo Credit: Ayomentary.com
Dr. Ayoka Chenzira – Photo Credit: Ayomentary.com

Ayo has listed BABYLON SISTERS on the JuntoBox Films’ web site (a company that is co-chaired by producer/actor/director Forest Whitaker). Through its web site, JuntoBox Films allows film supporters to follow and rate film projects so that they can be noticed by the decision makers of the company.

Join me in giving BABYLON SISTERS support by rating it on the JuntoBox web site. All you have to do is click here, join the site (takes a few seconds because you can use Facebook to join), and give BABYLON SISTERS a high rating.

Your support will help Ayo and her team generate  positive feedback so that BABYLON SISTERS will become a greenlit and fully funded project by JuntoBox Films. Let’s make it happen!

Thanks everyone for your support!

0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday – Discovering CreativeMornings DC”

Happy Creativity Thursday – Discovering CreativeMornings DC

Photo Credit: CreativeMornings.com
Photo Credit: CreativeMornings.com

Happy Creativity Thursday!

A few weeks ago, I read an article about CreativeMornings DC, a free monthly breakfast monthly lecture series for creative folks that includes a 20 minute talk and coffee, in the July 19th edition of the Washington Post Express. I got really excited because I am always looking for ways to connect with creative folks in my city.

Photo Credit: Creative Mornings DC
Photo Credit: Creative Mornings DC

CreativeMornings DC is hosted by Joel Daly. Since January 2013, Daly has organized a great lineup of speakers over the past months. In July, Dr. Amber Straughn, an Astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, was the featured speaker. The event was held from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at 1776. Click here to watch speaker talks from previous events.

Photo Credit: CreativeMornings.com
Photo Credit: CreativeMornings.com

CreativeMornings DC is a chapter of CreativeMornings, the brainchild of Tina Roth Eisenberg, the founder of swissmiss, a design blog studio in New York City.

Photo Credit: www.swiss-miss.com/about/hi-i-am-tina
Photo Credit: http://www.swiss-miss.com/about/hi-i-am-tina

In 2009, Eisenberg launched CreativeMornings because she wanted to create an accessible, inspiring morning event for people to meet. Since then, CreativeMornings has grown to 51 chapters located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, India, Korea, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. Click here to read the latest news posted on the CreativeMornings blog.

Where do you go to have creative conversations in your local community?

0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday – Celebrating the Creativity of Alice Walker”

Happy Creativity Thursday – Celebrating the Creativity of Alice Walker

Photo Credit: www.alicewalkerfilm.com
Photo Credit: http://www.alicewalkerfilm.com

Happy Creativity Thursday!

When I need creative inspiration, I turn to the many creative women and men that I admire. Two weeks ago, I needed some creative inspiration so I visited author and activist Alice Walker’s web site. Walker has been one of my favorite authors since I started reading her work in the early 1990s. I adore her books. In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, Warrior MarksOvercoming Speechlessness, Anything We Love cCn Be Saved, Sent by EarthPossessing the Secret of Joy, and The Color Purple are some of my favorites.

Photo Credit: www.alicewalkerfilm.com
Photo Credit: http://www.alicewalkerfilm.com

While visiting her web site, I read her March blog post about Director Pratibha Parmar’s newest film, Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth My excitement led me to YouTube. Guess what I found? The entire film. I watched it and gained so much insight into her early life, deep connection to nature, marriage, life as a mother, literary achievements, meditation practice, and activist work. It was medicine for my creative heart and soul.

Who do you admire in the creative world?

0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday – Honoring The Creative Legacy of Lorraine Hansberry”

Happy Creativity Thursday – Honoring The Creative Legacy of Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry - Photo Credit: Associated Press -
Lorraine Hansberry – Photo Credit: Associated Press –

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am thinking about one of my creative sheroes, Lorraine Hansberry, a Chicago born and bred activist, writer, and playwright. Hansberry is best known for her 1959 Broadway play, “A Raisin in the Sun.”

be-young-gifted-black-lorraine-hansberry-paperback-cover-art

My first taste of her literary genius occurred while reading her play, “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black.” I adopted her as a creative shero and inspiration for my first novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One, after reading bell hooks’ Salvation: Black People and Love which contains many references to Hansberry’s work. Click here to read how she inspired my novel.

Tracy Heather Strain - Photo Credit: www.thefilmposse.com
Tracy Heather Strain – Photo Credit: http://www.thefilmposse.com
Photo Credit: www.vitaminw.co
Photo Credit: http://www.vitaminw.co

Over the years, her words have been medicine for my creative soul:

…life has within it that which is good, that which is beautiful and that which is love. Therefore, since I have known all of these things, I have found them to be reason enough and—I wish to live. Moreover, because this is so, I wish others to live for generations and generations and generations.”

Her wisdom on life has inspired me to live fully. That’s why I was excited to financially support the Lorraine Hansberry Documentary Project fundraiser (ends on July 19)sponsored by Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain and VITAMIN W. Since 2004, Strain has been working to make the Hansberry documentary a reality. Strain’s film will cover Hansberry’s life on the South Side of Chicago in the 1930s, her life in Greenwich Village in the 1950s, and her final days of living with pancreatic cancer in the 1960s. Click here to watch a short video about the project. Please consider supporting the Lorraine Hansberry Documentary Project fundraiser by July 19. Click here to make a donation. Any amount helps. I gave $10.

Photo Credit: www.fem2pt0.com
Photo Credit: http://www.fem2pt0.com

Many thanks to Fem 2.0 for sharing information about the fundraiser on its web site!

2 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday”

Happy Creativity Thursday

sc-june1

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Each month I go on artist dates. In June, I visited the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts to see From the Outside, an exhibition featuring the artwork of Areli & Manuel, Candy Cummings, Jim Doran, Bradford Elliott, Tina Lassiter, Glenn Richardson, Matt Sesow, Maria Simonsson & Kathy Beynette, and Dolly Vehlow.

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Anthony Palliparambil, Jr. (featured in photo above), the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery Assistant, did a great job curating the exhibition which features visionary, raw, outsider, and primitive artwork.

While attending the exhibition’s opening reception on June 21, I learned about  visionary and outsider art from a quote by artist and visionary art proponent Jean Dubuffet:

“By [Art Brut] we mean pieces of work executed by people untouched by artistic culture, in which therefore mimicry…plays little or no part, so that their authors draw everything from their own depths and not from clichés of classical art or art that is fashionable. Here we are witnessing an artistic operation that is completely pure, raw, reinvented in all its phases by its author, based solely on his own impulses.”

The definition resonated with my own work as a self-taught artist.

Tina Lassiter at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tina Lassiter at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

The artwork of Tina Lassiter, one of my favorite artists, was included in the exhibition. I love Tina’s goddess collages. Tonight, she is hosting An Evening in the Garden of Goddess Delight, a collage-making “joyshop” at Smith Center that I plan to attend.

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If you are in Washington, D.C. on July 25, join  the artists featured in the From the Outside exhibition for an artist talk from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery. Until then, check out some of the amazing art below.

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0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday!”

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Happy July 4th and Happy Creativity Thursday!

Guess what I am doing next week? I’m taking artist Tina Lassiter’s “An Evening in the Garden of Goddess Delight” workshop on July 11 at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. Tina describes the workshop as a collage-making “joyshop” that will evoke change, stimulate thinking, and transform the lives of those who accept an invitation for exploration. It’s just what I need to jumpstart my own collage-making painting process.

Tina Lassiter at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tina Lassiter at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

In June, I had a chance to chat with Tina at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery  opening of the “From the Outside” exhibition. Some of her work is featured in the exhibit. I love her goddess collages!

More About Tina: She is also a writer, photographer, and Director of Creative & Therapeutic Arts Services at Children’s National Medical Center. Last year, She became a Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist in addition to receiving certifications in Reiki and Acupressure. She is currently working to help Children’s National Medical Center establish an integrative medicine program.

What are you doing to celebrate creativity in July?

2 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday!”

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Photo Credit: www.aspire.tv/exhale
Photo Credit: http://www.aspire.tv/exhale

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am excited about Exhale, a provocative new talk series about African American women on ASPiRE TV that features five of my favorite creative women: Angela Burt-Murray, Comedian Erin Jackson, Issa Rae, Malinda Williams, and Rene Syler. Thank goodness these ladies have been blessed with the gift of gab. Their candid discussions will offer intergenerational commentary on a wide range of topics including family, relationships, money, faith and everything that African American women are talking about. I know the show will influence, inform, and inspire me and my sistalove friends! That’s one of the reasons I am so excited about it!!!! So watch it tonight at 8:00 p.m.

Photo Credit: www.aspire.tv/exhale
Photo Credit: http://www.aspire.tv/exhale

I AM EXCITED ABOUT EXHALE BECAUSE….. 

I AM EXCITED because I am hungry … no starving is a better word. I am starving for positive television programming that features women who look like me and share my interests and concerns.

I AM EXCITED about hearing from Angela Burt-Murray, founder of CocoaFab TV and former Essence editor-in-chief. I miss Angela’s voice. When she was at Essence, I enjoyed reading her letter to the reader each month. Her interviews and articles always informed and inspired me. I need Angela to inform and inspire me each week!

I AM EXCITED about Malinda Williams because she stole my heart when she played the character Bird on the wildly successful Soul Food television series on Showtime years ago. I also adore her down-to-earth personality, passion, and style! I need Malinda to remind me to stay grounded and focused on my passion as I live life with style!

I AM EXCITED about Rene Syler because she speaks her mind and writes with a soulful honesty that makes me say “AMEN.” The first time I learned about Rene was at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference in 2011. She was a luncheon keynote speaker who shared so passionately from her life. I left Blogalicious as a Rene Syler fan. I need to witness Rene’s passionate honesty and humor each week!

Ananda Leeke and Issa Rae at  2012 Minority Media & Telecom Council's 10th Annual Access to Capital and Telecommunications Policy Conference
Ananda Leeke and Issa Rae at 2012 Minority Media & Telecom Council’s 10th Annual Access to Capital and Telecommunications Policy Conference

I AM EXCITED about Issa Rae because she is incredibly gifted as a digital entrepreneur, writer, director, producer, and actress. I fell madly in love with Issa’s webisode series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl a few years ago. Since then, I have followed her online and watched all of the programs she has created and produced. Last year, I met and heard her speak at the Minority Media & Telecom Council’s 10th Annual Access to Capital and Telecommunications Policy Conference. I need to receive a weekly dose of Issa’s creative energy dipped in authentic and awkward humor.

I AM EXCITED about Erin Jackson because she is dangerously funny. I discovered her humor and wit when ASPiRE TV starting promoting Exhale several months ago. She reminds me to laugh and not take myself so seriously. I love her crazy sense of humor. I need to catch Erin’s laughter train on a weekly basis!

Photo Credit: www.aspire.tv/exhale Photo features Exhale hosts and actress Vanessa Bell Calloway
Photo Credit: http://www.aspire.tv/exhale
Photo features Exhale hosts and actress Vanessa Bell Calloway

Creativity Thursday Request

My excitement is so great that I want to see these ladies succeed beyond their wildest imaginations. So I am using my blog and social media platforms to encourage others to watch and support the show. With that said, please take some time to give these five Exhale ladies some social love! Encourage your social network of family, friends, and fans to do the same.

0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday – 6/20”

Happy Creativity Thursday – 6/20

Artwork by Lisa Schumaier
Artwork by Lisa Schumaier

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am celebrating the work of mixed media artist and sculptor Lisa Schumaier, an Alexandria, Virginia native. I met Lisa two weeks ago while visiting her studio at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia. She is a down-to-earth woman with a deep passion. She was happy to explain her art-making process and shared several stories about her artwork.

Artist Lisa Schumaier
Artist Lisa Schumaier
Lisa Schumaier 's artist studio
Lisa Schumaier ‘s artist studio

I was immediately drawn to her mixed media collage sculptures of women dancers.

Artwork by Lisa Schumaier
Artwork by Lisa Schumaier
Artwork by Lisa Schumaier - my favorite piece
Artwork by Lisa Schumaier – my favorite piece

I marveled at how she was able to blend her ceramic work with found objects and recycled materials. Click here to watch a video of Lisa talking about her passion for art and the Torpedo Factory. For more information about her work, visit www.keenthings.com.

0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday!”

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Photo Credit: Tim Okamura
Photo Credit: Tim Okamura

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am celebrating Tim Okamura, a fabulous painter from Edmonton, Canada (one of my favorite places to visit for art and creativity). Tim’s paintings explore identity, popular culture, and the urban environment. He uses collage, spray paint, and mixed media in his work (and I adore collage and mixed media!).

Tim Okamura and Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

I met Tim on June 9 during his photo shoot for his upcoming “Depicted/Connected” series at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts (the organization I work for as an Artist-in-Residence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center). Smith Center invited me and five amazing women to participate in Tim’s photo shoot. The first thing I noticed about him was his easy-going spirit, positive energy, and kind smile. He was able to stay focused and have fun too.

Many thanks to Anthony Palliparambil, Jr., Exhibitions Manager and artist, for organizing the photo shoot and taking photos!

Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

After the photo shoot, I went home and Googled Tim to learn more about his work. When I visited his Facebook page and saw his painting, “Les Nubians Combat Pour L’Amour” and “Courage 3.0,” I became an instant fan. By the way, Les Nubians are one of my favorite Afropean neosoul singing duos (they make several appearances in my Love’s Troubadours novel).

I also listened to his 2011 interview on NPR’s Tell Me More with journalist Michel Martin. During the interview, he discussed his passion for hip hop, his hip hop radio show in Canada, and his “Bronx Brooklyn Queens” series of paintings that feature African-American women of New York City. I Googled the series and fell in love with each painting. What a powerful body of work!

More About Tim (from his official bio)
He earned a B.F.A. with Distinction at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Canada before moving to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts in 1991.  After graduating with an M.F.A. in 1993, he relocated to Brooklyn, New York, where he continues to live and work. His artwork has been exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in London, England; galleries throughout the U.S. and Canada; and he was short-listed by the Royal Surveyor of the Queen’s Picture Collection for a commissioned portrait of the Queen of England.  His work is included in the permanent collection of the Toronto Congress Center, Standard Chartered Bank, and the Davis Museum in Massachusetts, as well as the private collections of  celebrity clients such as John Mellencamp, Uma Thurman, and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. He is represented by Lyons Wier Gallery in New York, and Douglas Udell Gallery in Canada.
To learn more about Tim and his work, LIKE him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.