CREATIVE QUARANTINE SPRINGFIELD
January 1, 2021 - July 2021
What would happen if you locked yourself in a pop-up studio with a ten other artists for a month and focused on creating your ART?
This was the idea for Creative Quarantine Springfield. But, as a result of all nationwide social distancing regulations, Creative Quarantine adapted to become a virtual online experience.
Art Life. Through this exhibit, enter the creative world of 12 artists including Carren Clarke, Louise Cutler, Frankie Borrero, Lorraine MacAlpine, LaShun Beal, Deborah Shedrick, Michelle Vigeant, Larry Poncho Brown, Sheeba Maya, Kathleen DeQuence Anderson, Ryan Murray, and Sheldon Smith. Creative Quarantine Springfield was a virtual experience sharing a day in the life of these artists as they created experimental works for the entire month of January 2021.
This exhibition utilized a combination of Zoom conferencing, Facebook live and other video integration to create a more globally accessed project. Participating artists each received a stipend, an iPad, a tripod, and an LED light so that they can capture their experience via digital diaries, time lapse video, and other video interviews. Other educational art talks and panel discussions were scheduled throughout the event by participating artists. All virtual experiences which were held online on Creative Quarantine and Art for the Soul Gallery Facebook pages.
Creative Quarantine and Creative Quarantine Springfield was brought to you by and through the generous donations and funding of Founders Charles Bibbs, Larry Poncho Brown, www.massculturalcouncil.org, massdevelopment.com, www.springfieldculture.org, and www.artforthesoulgallery.com, all rights reserved.
ABOUT THE PARTICIPATING ARTISTS
Frankie Borrero suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2015 that turned his life upside-down but resulted in rekindling a desire to create deeply personal and compelling artworks. Frankie grew up in a difficult household and as a child, used art as a means of escape. Although he was talented in art, he pursued dentistry and trained in his academic career. All this changed in 2015 when he was involved in an accident that resulted in a coma and being placed on life support. He's been told by numerous neurologists that his steady recovery and enhanced creativity since the accident are nothing short of miraculous, He still struggles with memory retention and coordination due to the damage to the right side of his brain, but works incredibly hard to move forward and is grateful for the second chance he's been given to produce artwork alongside his family and friends.
Lorraine MacAlpine received her Art training at The Art Institute of Boston. Upon graduation she secured a position as a fashion illustrator at Forbes & Wallace, a former department store in Springfield, MA. Being the first African American artist to hold a position in the Advertising Department represented a major career opportunity.
After working at Forbes & Wallace and S. Klein in New York City, her career moved to a management position as District Advertising Manager, designing and planning newspaper ads and circulars for 19 JCPenny stores in New England.
Working at Heublein, Inc. In Farmington, CT, as Director of Promotion Planning and Development was a key position for Lorraine; she directed outstanding promotional marketing programs for Smirnoff Vodka and Cuervo Tequila, along with many other spirit brands. (Heublein is now Diageo PLC) In 2009 she made a commitment to explore her Artistic roots and made the decision to devote the rest of her life to “Creating Art.” While experimenting with various paint mediums: acrylics, oils and watercolors, she has discovered that her greatest joy comes when she works with all three mediums.
"All of my work, original paintings, and original hand painted note cards are created with a spontaneous emotional expression that stimulates me as the artist. Utilizing my free spirited Chinese Brush technique with layered colors, a whimsical abstract image is created. This expression provides me with a deep feeling of wellness, happiness."
Sheldon Smith has been designing and producing art and clothing as a trade since 1994. Sheldon has experience with promotional T-shirts, graphics, murals and fashion. Mediums used include drawing materials, aerosol, airbrush, acrylic and watercolor paints.
Formerly, Sheldon was the Art coordinator at a local drop-in community support center overseen by the Northern Educational Services, providing art as an outlet for at-risk teens, disabled persons, and even those seeking ways to cope with substance recovery. Currently managing the same efforts at Make-It Springfield, his plan is to inspire, promote and encourage through a variety of arts initiatives.
Ryan Murray received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie MellonUniversity in 2014 and is currently located in Springfield, Massachusetts. His specialties include printmaking and spray paint stencils. His work starts out as collages of drawing, photography and Internet stock images, which are then edited in Photoshop, printed out and hand-cut in layers. His work centers around unearthing the under-representation of mental health in communities of color. He has exhibited in numerous galleries and shows in western Mass and has two permanent installations in the city of Springfield, one in Union Station and the other in the Central Library. He will be attending Saatchi Art’s The Other Art Fair in Dallas, TX this May.
Michelle Vigeant has been drawing animals since she was a child, and studied biology in college to learn more about their inner workings. She has worked as a convention artist, a fantasy illustrator and painted science illustrations of quasars. Michelle also enjoys portraying synesthesia, a sensory experience where sound is represented as color and texture. She tries to capture her passion for the natural world in acrylics and other media to invoke a sense of wonder and curiosity. Sometimes playful, sometimes dramatic, the subjects typically are engaged in creation or exploring their surreal world. Many of the paintings feature canines--animals whose stories most entwine with our own. They range from love of domestic dogs, to the survival of the urban coyote or fox, or the way mankind fears and hunts wolves. She lived in the rural Berkshires for many years but now resides in Sunderland Massachusetts with her husband, young child and dog plus many fish.
Louise Cutler’s work is known for its profound visual narrative and simplistic elegance that reveals the invisible within the visible. “Her stellar work reverberates with the wonderment of life!” Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York. Louise Cutler is a Fort Collins based Creationist, artist, vocalist, writer and sculptor. Her work is motivated by her desire to create beauty that cultivates truth, peace and tranquility.
She considers one’s art an extension of one’s life. Her work, whether painting, drawing, writing, gardening, or performing is a visual or written translation of her life, feelings, and people she have encountered, places she have been, and things she have seen.
Ms. Cutler’s paintings combine her love of gardening, people and the great outdoors.Drawing has always come naturally for her; as a child, she drew continually. In grade school, her desk was filled with pencil and crayon drawings. Her imagination was her way of escaping some of the harsh realities of life while growing up in urban America.
Ms. Cutler’s desire for peace and harmony is echoed throughout her work, something that was hard to achieve growing up in a family of nine. She States, “She believes the purpose of her paintings is to bring peace and serenity into a world where chaos has become the norm."
An award-winning artist whose work has exhibited on the national scene, my art and craft background spans across six decades. Throughout these years I have created wearable items by means of needle knitting and sewing. Garments made or designed and constructed have appeared on national television, in yarn shops, on stage in a production at the University of Massachusetts, and in my own wardrobe.
In the mid 1990's an acquaintance introduced me to polymer clay. Since that time I have been handcrafting limited edition and one-of-a-kind adornment pieces for women and men, eyeglass boxes, key fobs, kaleidoscopes and my original HeartBox™ collection incorporating the strongest, most durable translucent and opaque clay.
Influenced by Pueblo, Navajo, Asian and West African art traditions the process I use to create patterns in clay is borrowed from the glassmaking traditions of millefiori and murrini cane work. Over the last four years I have been developing what has become my signature style, what I call the "kdqCane".
One year a while back I went on a long walk with approximately sixty people. Walking across 14 countries over thirteen months at a rate of about 25 miles per day on the "Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage; Retracing the Journey of Slavery" I realized that art-craft is who I am. Until that journey I always thought that craft-art is what I did. Now I strive to bring clearly my artistic voice into form, to discern and describe "Black American" as wearable and functional art.
Kathleen DeQuence Anderson As an undergraduate I attended Concordia College, St. Paul, MN in the Elementary Education program. In 1998 I earned my Master of Education degree from Cambridge College, Springfield, MA. Over the years my artwork has been exhibited at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Art for the Soul Gallery, Springfield, MA, Worcester Center for Crafts, Worcester, Ma, Circa Now! Gallery, Amherst, MA, Paper City Art Studios, Holyoke, MA, Louisa Gould Gallery, Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard and Art Works Gallery, Ware, MA. Over the last several years, my artwork has been juried into prestigious national art shows including the American Craft Council Show, Paradise City Arts Festival, the Berkshires Arts Festival and two Smithsonian Institution Folklife Festivals. Polymer Clay Daily website, Preview Massachusetts magazine, MVTimes Martha’s Vineyard newspaper and American Artwork/Art Collector book, Oakland CA have featured my work in their publications.
Larry “Poncho” Brown, is a native of Baltimore, MD. He started his first business at the age of 17 as a signwriter and he has been a full time artist ever since. Poncho received his Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in graphic design and photography from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD. His art, both fine and commercial, has been published nationally in Upscale, Ebony, Ebony Man, Essence, and Jet magazines. His art is featured in the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History book entitled “Wrapped In Pride” and “Connecting People With Art”. His popular works have been prominently featured on several TV shows including “A Different World”, “In The House”, “The Wire”, “The Carmichael Show”, “Star”, and “Greenleaf”. Movies featuring his art include “Avalon”, “He Said, She Said”, and “Soulfood”.
His work adorns the walls of the likes of Bill Cosby, Dick Gregory, Anita Baker, Susan Taylor, Ed Gordon and Bernard Bronner just to name a few. His original works are in the corporate and institutional collections of Coppin State University, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the District of Columbia Superior Courts, the Children's Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University, Howard University Hospital, and Yale New
Haven Health Park Avenue Medical Center.
Poncho’s early published works in the mid 80’s like his “Black is Black” Series was the first to address the subject of colorism in the African American art realm. He was one of many artists often referenced as “The Popular Artists” who gained national recognition during “The Cosby Show” era, and found commercial success between 1985-2000 during a period known as “The Golden Age of African American Art”, by making their art accessible to the masses through direct participation in community art and cultural festivals, foregoing the traditional artist arrangement of artist representation, gallery representation, and art publisher distribution. At the height of this era his works were sold in 3000 galleries across the country, and on the walls of nearly 500,000 homes.
“My work attempts to capture "SOUL" while depicting positive representations of African American life. My creations are a reflection of my personal values and pay homage to ongoing themes of unity, family, and spirituality”.
Carren Clarke With southern roots and a global vision, Carren Clarke uses clay to celebrate culture and create community. By incorporating history and symbols from a myriad of cultures in Africa and the Diaspora, Carren puts a contemporary twist on the oldest craft in the world. Her faces, bodies, and vessels transcend form, texture, and emotion to take people on the journey of awakening, overcoming, and self-love. These stories are unearthed through the soil that is soft, yet strong, pliable, but also resilient. Carren uses her culinary skills along with her functional pottery to connect her ceramic enthusiasts with one another around a communal meal.
These gatherings not only foster community but also allow individuals not yet able to invest in fine art an opportunity to enjoy a handcrafted mug or bowl that tells a story on a smaller scale. While she loves creating a body of work using the four elements—earth, water, air, and fire, Carren stretches her creativity to new levels by incorporating other mediums, such as batiking cloth, woodworking, and metal. When asked why she is so passionate about playing in the dirt, Carren with joy said, “When people do archaeological digs, clay is the first thing they find. It tells so many stories of so many nations. When I’m no longer here, [my work] will still remain because it’s already gone through a fire. These pieces will still be able to tell stories. It’s an amazing journey.”
LaShun Beal, contemporary, figurative artist, born January 28, 1962, has dedicated his career to perfecting his art. He is a native of Detroit who now resides in the Houston area.
He challenges and expresses himself through many mediums. The ground surfaces and canvases that he uses have their own distinctive character and matchless capacity which gives voice to his work and complements his unique style. After mastering the technical subtleties of different mediums and subject matters, Beal is content with the spirit that drives him to create a particular work of art; and, the evolution of his progress which is exemplified in his creations. He has done extensive traveling throughout Europe, South America and the Far East which has afforded him the opportunity to witness other cultures which is reflected in his art.
Deborah Shedrick Timeless, Exquisite, Masterpieces….Deborah Shedrick’s work is vibrant, colorful and full of texture. Utilizing a palette knife, rollers and assorted objects, she shapes color and builds texture in rhythmic patterns and brilliant eruptions. Stylistically she combines realism and abstraction as she forges a unique and distinctive expression that has found tremendous resonance with her audience. She lets the vivid tints take over, leaving her figures elongated and suggested in her vertical canvases with some collaged materials.
Shedrick lives and loves art. Honing her artistic skills in 1986 through workshops with other prominent artist, has developed into a career of her artwork being used nation-wide in hotels, on book covers, television shows, film and for fundraisers. Articles have been written about her work in several newspapers and magazines.
She defines her paintings as free-style, uniquely her own. Her passion for art shines through her work. She captures the nuance of a moment, with the celebration of color and energy. Her artwork strikes a harmonious cord from a universal perspective and she is part of private and public collections throughout the United States and abroad.
Shedrick states, “As I create, I reflect on the Master, the Author of Creativity, God. I share with you the spirituality of which my art is born. Hear the art speak to you of love, inner peace, strength and joy.
Sheeba Maya (born in 1979) is a New York artist originally from Washington, D.C. Considered a Master of her craft and a prominent artist of the Afrofuturism movement, Sheeba has been working as a freelance illustrator, fine artist, graphic designer, curator, and educator in New York, since 2009. Her personal artwork is inspired by her own spiritual journey, her love of nature and culture, ancient wisdom, and all things mystical. There is magic that lives in her illustrations and her artwork is often described as “otherworldly.” When asked about her artwork, Sheeba shares: ”With my illustrative portraits, I aim to showcase the women of my culture in their most glorious light. The Black woman is often underrepresented/misrepresented, and it is my duty to address this. I want to draw and paint the divine thread that connects us all.”
Sheeba's artwork has been featured in galleries across the country, including: SOMArts Gallery, Rush Arts Gallery, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (permanent collection), and the Society of Illustrators Museum (NYC). She has been featured in the pages of Imagine FX magazine and appears in scholarly works on Afrofuturism including “Cosmic Underground: A Grimior of the Black Speculative Discontent” and “The Black Speculative Arts Movement Anthology”. Sheeba has also been featured on popular blogs including medium.com, wacom.com, and shondaland.com. As a freelance artist, she has created portraits for political officials and celebrities, as well as illustrations for children’s books, book covers, album covers, character design, and editorial artwork. As an educator, she has produced a streaming instructional course online on the art of digital painting and has developed and facilitated art programs for students of all ages and abilities across New York City. She has been invited to countless events and conventions including The Schomberg’s Black Comic Festival, BAM Black Comix Expo, New York Comic Con, and San Diego Comic Con to name a few. And as a Graphic Designer, she has created hundreds of images for the Nigerian film industry.
Other notable clients include Wacom, actress Erika Alexander (Living Single, The Cosby Show, Get Out) , Stranger Comics (Niobe), and actress Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek) for Sorghum & Spear.