It’s not everyday that we’re confronted with the idea of legacy. Sure, we’re taught that actions have consequences and that what we do matters, but when was the last time you thought long and hard about legacy? When was the last time you reflected on your role in the larger world? Have you taken the time to consider how the heritage of your ancestors determined so much of who you are today? These are the questions painter and artistic director Jarvares “J.Q.” Franklin encourages us to ask ourselves.

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As I sat on the bench alone, strangers waved and smiled as if we’d crossed paths a thousand times before. A little girl asked to pet my dog and told me all about the King of Pops popsicle her Mom finally let her have on a school night. I sat feeling as if I’d stepped off the city streets into a small town escape. Swirled around the busy city of Atlanta, Georgia the (soon-to-be) 22 mile pathway invites people to stroll along restaurants, parks, and an amazing display of community art. 

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Art is so interesting because of its subjectiveness and various forms. It is a medium that allows limitless creativity. In the hands of an artist, an illustration can tell a unique story or capture a moment in someone’s life. There are no rules just free flowing expression, for Cuban artist Yoel Díaz Gálvez his work is an extension of himself.

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Can you imagine walking into an art gallery expecting to see paintings, but only seeing large photographs of everyday people instead? Artwork as realistic as the paintings created by German artist David Uessem could trick anyone into thinking they’ve just looked at a photo. Uessem is known for taking snapshots of everyday life and painting realistic portraits of the pictures with his own authentic twist.

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Since the 18th century, the industrial revolution industry has created a way of life that harms nature, from deforestation to air pollution. Many political advocacy groups, like the Environmental Defense Fund, have taken action to reduce industrial growth, while others have decided to let their voice be heard in a different way.

North Carolina based contemporary artist Brian Mashburn uses his artwork to express his feelings about the matter. Mashburn is known for his hyperrealistic oil paintings, which typically depict a post-apocalyptic world, in which animals habitats are encroached upon by human activity, and human beings are few in numbers. At first glance, his pieces portray beautiful scenes of nature, but the meaning behind his work runs a little deeper. The artist showcases the beauty of the environment by including animals and outdoor scenery in his paintings. He then brings you back to reality by displaying the negative effects of urbanization, while maintaining the fact that nature and industrial urban areas coexist. Though they exist in the same space, they appear to be on different scales.

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Everyone’s path isn’t always a straight line to get their dream job. In order to get there, many people have to go through the process of narrowing down interests, some even take the crappy jobs to make ends meet. I’m sure you know somebody who  took one of the good old fashioned commission based, door-to-door salesman positions, just to try to stay afloat financially. I worked several and only for one day, needless to say I never sold a thing! Others have avoided such fortunes or misfortunes, depending on how you view it. And as for artist Dave Kinsey, he was one of the people that wasn’t obligated to do so.

For those who may not know, Dave Kinsey is a Los Angeles based artist who hails from Pittsburgh, PA. Kinsey always had a unique passion for art and design, and was determined not to deter from his interests. After graduating from high school in 1989, he enrolled at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He also attended the Art Institute of Atlanta before making the move to California in 1994 and pursuing his dreams of becoming a designer, while being afforded the time to continue his work as a painter.

Sure, moving to the other side of the country is a huge adjustment, but when your dream job is at your fingertips, it’s time to pack those bags! Besides, trading in those cold, Pennsylvania winters for Cali weather is never a bad look.

Kinsey was fortunate enough to have met a friend that taught him how to fully operate computer design programs. As prehistoric as it may sound to some of the younger readers, computer programs didn’t always come equipped with the software that allowed graphic design. His ability to adapt so quickly from manual, hand drawn design to digital changed his fortune and value to those he would design for. In fact, for that time, Kinsey was completely ahead of the game.

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Paul Gauguin, a French Post-Impressionist artist, once said “I am a great artist and I know it. The reason I am great is because of all the suffering I have done.”

There is no truer case than Nathaniel Mary Quinn, raised in the projects of Chicago, Quinn is no stranger to suffering. However, through the pain and loss, he managed to find inspiration and create moving pieces of artwork that eventually found  its way to famous galleries in London and New York.

Many nights Quinn would wake up to the sounds of gunshots ringing through the streets. Peace was  pleasantry not readily available to Quinn in his childhood. He started creating at a young age, with a little bit of help from his mother, “As a child, my mother allowed me to draw on the walls of our apartment. She would just clean the walls and let me draw again, repeatedly,” he told the Huffington Post. It was these walls that sparked the creative genius inside Quinn, starting from copying comic books to creating masterpieces on canvas.

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Her work is complex and has multiple meanings and even some contradictions that hold truth. Her means are peculiar. Rather than a paint brush and a canvas, she uses magazines, pornography and even animal skins to create elaborate collages. Wangechi Mutu’s style is nearly impossible to define. It resembles the work of Pablo Picasso with the way her designs play on abstraction while simultaneously referencing surrealism with her darker themes. Mutu is primarily known for her perspective of women’s bodies, especially African women. She critiques the manner in which society objectifies women by using the very tools that society utilizes to sexualize women in the first place such as magazines and pornography, which are two mediums that are known to objectify women and their bodies.

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Inspiration is found everywhere and differs from artist to artist. For some, staying confined within the walls of a studio helps with focus and the creative process, but for Robert Harris, the process is a bit different. it .

“I didn’t want to share my artwork with anyone,” Harris said on VIMBY. He said his art felt too personal to share with anyone. However, after talking with another artist, he changed his mind and now wants to share what he feels through his art. Harris paints LIVE. Sometimes he’s in a gallery painting with others, and at other times he’s on the sidewalk painting by himself. No matter where he is, he loves painting for the world to see.