Black History Month first originated as part of an initiative by writer and educator Dr. Carter G. Woodson. He and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week” Woodson proclaimed that Negro History Week should always occur in the second week of February — between the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
Since 1976, America celebrates Black History Month. Therefore, we celebrate the history and give the platform to our own artists – local to Indiana: Deonna Craig, Shaina Bray, Milton Knight, Ezi Underwood, Damani Edmundson, and Robert Adams IV. To honor the important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.
My work is my attempt to come to terms with feeling; that remarkable gift we are given and have always known, and yet continues to be an entity of which we cannot explain. For feeling is strange and terrifying in the sense that every human will one day hear a different inner monologue that is foreign and yet irrefutably their own.
Our artist of the month is Diva Armas Luther, a digital artist that creates colorful prints of varied themes. Having a graphic design background, her work is inspired by typography and architecture magazine layouts. She grew up with influences such as, late 80’s to early 2000’s manga, international haute couture editorials, and contemporary political art from her home-country, Indonesia. After spending more than a decade being in different countries in Asia, she found comfort in Bloomington for the art scene and is excited to bring her own culture to the colorful B-Town.
She signs all the artworks with her name, but her handle is Komik Taksa.
I am an abstract expressionist painter who creates non-representational works on canvas. These works are alive with my organic and gestural movements
Charcoal and oil stick markings activate these canvases allowing my intuitive thoughts to develop and awaken. Working with acrylics, charcoal, spray paint, ink, collage and found objects are the mainstay of my toolbox. Drippy splats and dribbles of paint lend themselves to the rawness of my work, allowing areas of clarity, coupled with looseness of form and detail to shine through the layers of acrylic.
I know the rules … yet, I love to bend or break them.
My artwork is intriguing, sensual and edgy, creating a visual question of what is real and what is left to the viewer’s imagination. I describe myself as an artist who paints what I feel; and, my feelings, generally, take me to extraordinary places.
I am dissimilar from the crowd and believe my works create endless dialogues.
I used to be a university lecturer in China, teaching graphic design. My husband and I ran a photography studio for over 10 years since 2003. In 2014, my family came to the United States and settled in Bloomington, Indiana. Although the living environment and language environment have changed greatly, it has not changed my love for painting. At the same time, the local artists in Bloomington have given me a lot of encouragement and inspiration. I am honored to be a member of the local artists in Bloomington.
I love painting, and like to try different painting materials and styles, which makes my works show a strong diversity. In painting, I focus on the use of black and white painting, watercolor painting and acrylic painting materials, but I also do not refuse to try other new materials. In terms of painting subjects, I also try to create figures, animals, landscapes and abstract expressionistic paintings. Meanwhile, I also try to use new materials to create abstract paintings with Chinese and Tibetan culture as the theme. After settling in Bloomington, my interest in classical music inspired me to create some relevant abstract works. Therefore, I would like to say that my works are constantly changing with the change of living environment, and the diversity of my works is still growing.
As artists, we subject ourselves to criticism, both external and internal. There is that tier that we are always trying to reach, that next level that always seems out of our reach. Because of this constant chase, we often leave art behind, deemed ‘failures’ and ‘mistakes’ that should be hidden away from the world.
This show is to explore the idea that unfinished pieces, disappointments, and frustrations should be celebrated for what they are; beautiful works of expression and lessons learned. There is always someone that will appreciate what the artist creates in some shape or form, and as the creators, we must be proud of what our hands craft.
Bloomington photographer Grace Schafstall empowers women to love their bodies while exploring representations of feminine beauty. Through her boudoir photography, she examines the subtleties of the female form allowing the audience to experience intimate moments reserved for the camera.
“You are so used to your features, you don’t know how beautiful you look to a stranger.”
Self-taught photographer Grace Schafstall developed a love for photography 6 years ago when she was gifted a hand-me-down camera from an uncle. It had fallen off the roof of his car and he had upgraded. Scuffed and old as it was, Grace loved how it felt in her hand. She photographed as a hobbyist until January of 2018 when she discontinued her degree in Nonprofit Management at Indiana University to pursue her dream as a full-time photographer. Grace and her partner, Kevin, work together at GS Photos photographing weddings, families, and boudoir. They reside in Bloomington, IN with one roommate – Kevin’s 87 year-old grandmother. They spend much of their time improving their home, spoiling their 4 cats, and nurturing their dozens of plants.
Inner feelings made tangible via brushwork and extravagance. Representative and abstract works in acrylic by Milton Knight.
Milton Knight graduated from BOCES Cultural Arts Center (Syosset, N.Y.), then took a few college classes in art at Hofstra University while beginning a freelance art and writing career. He left home at seventeen, eyeing out what some would call a semi-living at through crafts while enjoying a lovely semi-homeless existence on Manhattan’s waterfront. He finally landed in a Brooklyn brownstone where he spent seven water buggy years.
Knight spent the 1980’s on the outskirts of the “radical art scene” of Greenwich Village. A challenging time, if not always a happy one. Labor on Ninja Turtles comics allowed him to get up a grubstake to move to the West Coast in 1991, lured by prospects of a more healthful existence. “There I followed a riot and a few earthquakes while working in animation as a designer, animator, and debuting as a director thanks to a good friend Felix the Cat and yes, I did a spot of work for Disney.
Today Knight works on a stream of independent projects, which have included a first novel, independent animation, and painting. He became a Bloomington resident in June of 2018.
Felicity (Young) Nahas is a 30-year old artist, living in Bloomington Indiana, who likes to work with a variety of media, but primarily focuses on using watercolor and ink throughout her pieces. She has a BFA with a focus in drawing, from Ball State University.
You will see her play with line weights heavily throughout her works, and her use of a watercolor process creates vibrant backdrops to her paintings. Many of the pieces feature a sense of buoyancy with hints of gravity to that keeps the pieces grounded. She enjoys working with a variety of colors that are warm and inviting.
“Through my pieces I hope to find that people enjoy the sense of “getting lost in the moment” and get a sense of beauty and calming.” -Felicity Young Nahas
Brandon Hamilton is a multi media artist who creates abstract textural pieces from a wide array of material. His art is deeply textured and uses physical processes such as air, heat and fire, water, velocity, and gravity among others to create works from recycled and found objects; commonly using organic materials, rocks, glass and metal in his paintings with a chaotic, yet purposeful layering approach that generally assumes forms reminiscent of ethereal landscapes of the universe and a hint of more earthbound geomorphic designs.
By using the forces of nature and physics to create these pieces he often likens his art as representations of the evolution of the universe and life itself. His interest in art began early in life, inspired by a very creative family environment, and his father, Walter Hamilton- who was not only a fine arts professor, but an accomplished impressionist artist.
It wasn’t until working his way through college as a house painter that he started noticing how certain mistakes created interesting patterns; taking mental notes on how, for example, paint splatters formed, the separation or bubbling of paint that dried in the sun too fast, or different stages of drying paint that was rained on. Taking what would normally be a negative in the professional painting world and creating a positive. Mr Hamilton now owns and operates a high end painting and decorating business in Bloomington Indiana that specializes in faux and decorative painting called Rogue Renovation.