I am grateful to be featured in Voyage ATL magazine Trailblazers Series for my passions and antique dealing business, Zanathia Jewelry. I not only wanted to spread more light on my business but also encourage others to never give up on their dreams, goals, and purpose in life as well. It was an honor to mention one of my inspirations, my lovely grandma Elizabeth, who passed away last July. I am constantly striving to be the best version of myself, put God first, and focus on my passions in life. Remember: If you’re still breathing, then you still have life purposes to discover and fulfill…never forget that! Keep going and striving on your quest. 🤗
One of the ‘little’ yet priceless and substantial gifts that inspires me is looking at how visually appealing the skies are . The colors really create a beautiful contrast in the sky and I am fascinated with how the aesthetic appears. Besides being outside staring at it, I love when I am on the train siting by a window and see the sun setting in the sky. To me, it is rather refreshing seeing the colors integrate within the sky to create a mesmerizing view after a long day. I really enjoy painting my own visualization of the many looks that the sky can form. I am thankful and grateful that I get to see such beauty and artwork, something I will never take for granted.
Numerous research studies show there are some inner city children that may experience post traumatic stress disorder symptoms at rates comparable to veterans of war. Some of these youth are being immensely affected by traumatic experiences, which can cause haunting flashbacks, paranoia, emotional detachment, unwanted thoughts, and violent outbursts. When an inner city African-American youth experiences traumatic/stressful situations, & commits an illegal or violent act, their mental health & experiences are rarely emphasized. Inner city youth like Michael ‘Little B’ Lewis, a 13 year old sentenced as an adult for the murder of a man in 1999, do not receive professional mental health support. Michael ‘Little B’ Lewis grew up in the drug-infested & neglected ‘Bluff’ area of Atlanta. His only guardian was addicted to drugs, he was homeless by age 11, not enrolled in school, and experienced a plethora of traumatic events while trying to take care of himself. Yet, he remained invisible to most until his first arrest…and when he finally got a ‘home’ it was in a Georgia state prison with adults at the age of 13. Michael ‘Little B’ Lewis is still incarcerated, and there are still questionable inaccuracies in the case that do not support true justice for the victim or the accused.
If a young inner city black boy rob’s someone, he is often quickly deemed a thug or menace to society, but if his white counterpart commits a crime like a school shooting, then he is labeled as a troubled mentally ill youth that did not receive adequate help. Both boys may have experienced traumatic events, but only one gets sympathy or a diagnosis. Racism isn’t the only reason because there are older African Americans from previous generations who also look at these children as thugs with no hope as well. Neglected inner city children like Michael ‘Little B’ Lewis never receive mental health resources, help, or immense sympathy after all of the traumatizing events they’ve experienced. Of course, we cannot always give a PTSD diagnosis to every person who commits a crime with their own free will. However, it is wrong and dangerous to just help certain groups of victims while neglecting others.
There is a substantial amount of youth/children that are mentally wounded, neglected, suffering from un-diagnosed PTSD, and by the time many people care to pay attention to what they are going through…the damage has been permanently embedded. These children have never fought in Iraq, the Vietnam, or Afghanistan…but they are experiencing PTSD like some war veterans. They’re often quietly traumatized and mentally affected by what they’ve experienced, but do not receive enough genuine support to help them. Instead they are often conditioned or forced to think it is enough to just ‘stay strong’, ‘keep their heads up’, try to rise above their situation, and ‘move on’ with life while still struggling mentally.
Here are a list of good organizations that support and focuses on the mental health of youth/children:
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Nature’s enthralling beauty includes the way the sky appears when the sun is rising or setting and how ethereal it looks outside after an afternoon rain shower , which are all examples of daily/common treasures that should not be taken for granted. The way the orange, blue and pink hues in the sky blends together as the sun rises or sets is a (thankfully) re-occurring unparalleled sight to see. Perhaps it is easy to become comfortable with natural scenic views like this as we go about our daily lives, but there is also a refreshing & uplifting inspirational feeling we can receive from nature’s beautiful art. If something is heavy on our minds or we’ve encountered a lot of negativity within a day, sometimes we can find inspiration in daily gifts that are not always in human form. It is even scientifically proven that taking a walk in nature is therapeutic and good for our well being. I encourage us all to continue to remain purely fascinated with life’s natural treasures because it is a healthy & positive perspective to have throughout life. We all find happiness and joy in different things depending on what speaks to our souls/and passions. Here are a few examples of nature’s art photographed by me throughout different years & changing seasons that makes me smile and thankful…I hope you find beauty in them too!
I encourage us all to never forget the so-called ‘simple’ yet amazing gifts that are a part of nature in this world…it is really all around us. Of course, humans value material things to a certain extent, but let’s not get so focused on just solely these things and forget the priceless treasures that are among us daily.
”To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles”- Mary Davis
I was repeatedly listening to a song called ”It Keeps Coming Back” by jazz musician Norman Brown from his album ”Let It Go” while in the process of creating this. I see abstract expressionism art as what comes and inspires the mind in a spontaneous way without a premeditated blueprint of a specific object…an emotional intensity that is currently happening and being felt while creating without a previous plan. All that I begin to feel while the song was playing was being released onto the canvas. For me to be able to create my artwork, my innermost impression and mental visualization of the song inspired me. ‘As Nature Entwines‘ is what I named my artwork after it was finished, which represents what I was visualizing while listening to the song. Nature is a multi-dimensional existence and while listening to the song, I let this perspective lead me while creating. Of course, my artwork cannot be interpreted from just one ”right” perspective because this contradicts the multi-faceted aspects of nature and who we are as individuals with our own mental views.
I am a self-taught artist and recently decided to put more focus on creating my own artworks. I am excited to create more artwork in the future and it is an amazing feeling to let the current process inspire me. The feeling that is evoked from a song or emotional state while trying my best to transfer what is in my mind into a physical form, at that very moment, is my inspiration to create.
Art Media Used: Acrylic Paint on stretched gallery wrapped canvas. ”As Nature Entwines”, 2018. 20×20
Thelma Johnson Streat was a distinctive and multi-talented artist that emphasized intercultural appreciation. One of her most recognized artworks, Rabbit Man, can be seen permanently at the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). Thelma Johnson-Streat also worked with other iconic artists such as Diego Rivera and she was the first African-American woman to have a painting exhibited at the MOMA in 1942 & her own television program in Paris. Streat was a mixed-media artist, who not only created paintings but also wanted to end stereotypes and prejudice through dance. She performed cultural dances and songs for many children in Europe, Canada, U.S, & Mexico to help them gain an insight & appreciation for cultural diversity. Although she was threatened by ignorant terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Streat did not let this prevent her from expressing herself and emphasizing much needed truthful messages within her creations such as ”Death of A Negro Sailor ” & ”The Negro’s Contribution to Medicine and Veterinary Science”. She also created an educational visual program called ”The Negro in History.” Thelma Johnson-Streat (1911-1959) is an artist and innovative story teller that should not be forgotten. Her artistic expressions and educational works are inspirational and interesting. Here are a few of her acclaimed artworks.
I was very excited to hear that Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Infinity Mirrored Room’ is coming to the High Museum of Art starting in November 2018. I am still thankful and grateful that I decided to become a High Museum of Art member back in 2014 (very cost effective & worth it compared to what you get with each membership type), and it is art collections like ‘Infinity Mirrored Room’ that makes me eager to return repeatedly for more than one viewing. Yayoi Kusama (1922- present) is known for her captivating and colorful creations that are concept contemporary artworks with different mediums used. Some of her art includes styles such as surrealism, abstract expressionism, and pop art. Here are some interesting artworks by Kusama, which also includes ‘Infinity Mirrored Room’ installation.
Lately I’ve been focusing more on what I am passionate about, which includes creating art. Among other meanings, I also see art as an emotion that manifests itself in physical form. Volcano Spring is what I imagine when the intensity of a suppressed valuable emotion erupts and spreads in the refreshing season of spring. While creating this artwork, I visualized how a feeling can relate to a volcano that is bound to come forth. Not necessarily in a volatile/destructive manner, but to help nurture in a new beginning and coexist with the starting season. The volcano of emotion integrates with vital spring, creating a mixture that is both intense and expressive while nurturing progression. I am currently working on a collection of artworks, and Volcano Spring reflects a natural inevitable occurrence and how it relates to the complex yet beautiful journey of the intense emotional human experience…something that I am going through right now. In our own distinct pathways, we all are.
Volcano Spring, 2018. (Acrylic Paint on canvas). 20×20
One of Ernie Barnes most famous paintings is The Sugar Shack, which has been used by Marvin Gaye for his legendary album cover I Want You and for the 1970’s syndicated classic show Good Times. The 90’s rap group Camp Lo also paid homage to the original painting with their album cover for the acclaimed Uptown Saturday Night (which included ”Luchini AKA This is It” song). Before Ernie Barnes was a painter, he was a professional football player that played from 1959-1965 for teams such as The Denver Broncos & The San Diego Chargers. Of course, Ernie Barnes (1938-2009) also created other memorable paintings that are just as noteworthy as The Sugar Shack. Here are some of my favorite Ernie Barnes paintings.