A Snapshot: The Art of Viola Frey



Artist are prized for their versatility. You’d be hard-pressed to find an artist that does not at least dabble in several different media.  Viola Frey’s art, (1933-2004) seems to effortlessly cross media and bring the expressionist painting style into the third dimension. Her large-scale figurative sculpture is rich in color and texture.

viola fray2


The subjects are everyday people who seem to be taking pause in their daily routines.

viola fray3

She was also adept at working in miniatures, even incorporating figurines that she found at flea markets.


An example of her expressionistic style of rendering figures. This is a wall painting.


Photographs not mine.  All Rights Reserved

Artful Mondays:Create an amazing ballpoint pen portrait

Courtesy Samuel Silva, VianaArts on Diviantart

Courtesy Samuel Silva, VianaArts on Diviantart


Samuel Silva created quite a stir last year with his stunning photo-realistic portraits, all done with ball point pens. Even after careful investigation, it is difficult to convince your eyes that you are looking at a drawing. Samuel pays attention to the minutest of details, such as individual hairs, spots of light and the pattern of freckles.  It could take up to 45 hours to complete a portrait .

Courtesy Samuel Silva Divianart VianaArts

Courtesy Samuel Silva Divianart VianaArts

Despite the jaw-dropping result, Silva uses a simple cross-hatching method to slowly build up values and create the illusion of light. Here are some ways you can use class drawing techniques to create beautiful, detailed, ballpoint pen portraits


1. Draw what you see. Much of drawing is about intercepting the relationship between the brain and the eye. When you see a thing, your brain stores that picture of it, so the next time you see it, you know what it is. This is great for everyday life, so we’re not constantly distracted with the mountain of details that we’re presented with. If we see a furry animal with pointed ears, whiskers and round eyes, we think, “cat”.  That’s why children’s drawings look the way they do. They start off thinking, “What does a tree look like?” Then they make a stick with some bushy stuff on the top.

Drawing what you see means you look at shapes, curves and lines, rather than eyes or noses. You also look at the relationships of things. For example, “How far is this line from that one? Where do they meet?

Courtesy Ferran Serra

Courtesy Ferran Serra

2. Notice what isn’t there. The space surrounding objects or people is called negative space. Just like the forms within it, it changes shape. Observing negative space is a great way to measure proportions and get a more accurate likeness in a portrait.

Courtesy, James Myline, Flickr

Courtesy, James Myline, Flickr

3. Build slowly. Noah Bradley said the other day on a facebook status that ‘You work faster when you work slow’ (paraphrase). I agree wholeheartedly. Working slow allows you to catch mistakes before they happen and you make incremental progress, which in the long run is better than working fast and having to go back and fix mistakes or just start all over again. By using cross-hatching and slowly building up from light to dark, you drawing will start to “pop”.

Courtesy, Angelina Benedetti, Deviant Art

Courtesy, Angelina Benedetti, Deviant Art

4. Values are important. In drawing, values are the relationship between light and dark.  On a value scale, the shades go from light to dark.  You can practice making value scales to see how many different shades you can get in between. A good drawing should have at least 3 different values (Light medium and dark) to create tone. When you make a value scale, always start with the darkest one first.

These are just a few a many tips that can be helpful in achieving jaw-dropping results. If you find this helpful, I’d love to hear your feedback. You can posts your drawings in the comments too.


Blending Experiences: Interview with Mixed Media Artist, Delvon Cunningham


Artist Delvon Cunningham

When did you first know you wanted to be an artist? 
 As far as I can remember, I’ve always  had a creative mindset. Growing up – my Mother was good with her hands and had an artistic flair. I enjoyed drawing with her, because she had such an interest. Those were special times together. I didn’t foresee myself
as a Visual Artist until my adult life. A series of creative outlets kind of led me to the Art I now create. I’ve always felt like 
an Artist at heart, I just found my niche over time. 
Did you go to Art School? If so, How has it influenced your work? 

Ironically, I went to Art School for Video Productions, with very little Art training.
I developed my style of creating through trial and error, experimenting with different mediums.
Self Taught for the most part. 

How long did it take to decide what kind of art you wanted to make?
I can’t say I’ve really “decided” on any type of Art. At present,
I find myself really enjoying Mixed Media Portraits with an Abstract Appeal.
You’ve seen a couple of my Photo Collages, that depict Southern Living in a past era.
This style clearly differs from most of my works. I want to do more stuff like that.
As a musician crafts his body of
 work through an open, honest and often diverse musical expression…
I too create in this manner. As I grow and change, my Art will reflect. I want to hold on to my creative freedom as long as I can.
Do you have a creative process?
Hmm, I don’t have a systematic approach to creating Art if that’s what you mean.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the unique, Individual characteristics of people. I get lots of ideas from Random Photos that
I come across. Black Women are my greatest Inspiration at the moment. There were many strong, Black
Women around during my childhood. In a way, I salute their Legacy through much of my work. There will
always be room in my Body of work for the African Diaspora as a whole. I am deeply inspired by our will
and determination to live and stand in the face of adversity, when others considered us inferior, less than human.
I honor this 
part of Black History in certain works as ” Freedom Rider 20886 ” ” Taste of Freedom I and II ” as well as ” Strange Fruit “.
My fellow Artists inspire me a great deal.
What have you done to market yourself as an artist?
I do a lot of marketing via social networks, like Facebook and BAIA. I’m also a member of the RAW Artists Atlanta Network, which is a great avenue for exposure and meeting other creative minds. I participate in several Art groups online, these are free and can be helpful to build your brand within a short time frame. I’ve also been featured in a few Art Shows in the Atlanta area, along with a short radio segment. Worth of mouth still works, so I always share my Passion with others I meet. I have an Artist website on FineArtAmerica.com, in which I’ve recently made my first International sale. These are a few ways I Market myself as an Artist
Do you have a day job?
Yes I do have a regular 9-5 job.
Who are your favorite artists?
There are too many Great Artists to narrow down to favorites. I admire the talents of Raheim Milton, Kevin WAK Williams, Najee Dorsey, Marcellous Lovelace and Tim Okamura to name a few. Yet there are so many more. About a year ago, I started a Facebook group for artists: DISCOVER BLACK ART. We’re now close to 1000 members a year later. I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting hundreds of great artists in this group. On some level, I think Artists pick up styles and techniques from others, even when not aware. I often draw Inspiration from my fellow artists that have completely different styles than my own. I call this the ” exhiliration of one Imagination touching another”.
What are your artistic goals?
Aside from Building my own body of work and sharing it with the world, I can see DISCOVER BLACK ART as a growing social movement
of some kind. I want to continue to build this brand as a forum for Exposure, Inspiration, Knowledge and Unity. 
What are your favorite artist’s resources?
People are pretty good resources. A wise person once told me to always have some people in your circle that are smarter than you. That’s easy…lol
What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
I would encourage aspiring Artists to: 
1. Stay true to your own Art Form and Creative Vision 
2. Believe that what Spirit has planted in you has Great Purpose. 
3. Cultivate a circle of creative fellowship of like minds and artists. 
4. Know that there are no concrete set of rules in the Art World, 
you will often have to get out and find your own way. 
5. Create, Create, Create to keep your skills sharp.
6. Remember – Mistakes are some of the best teachers, 
don’t fear them! 

See more of Delvon’s work or get in contact with him

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ArtByDelvon
Website – http://delvon-cunningham.artistwebsites.com/
Email – writetyme@hotmail.com

Artful Mondays: Two ways to have an art show



Art has long been known to have many worlds, two of which consist of the contemporary artist catering to the elite echelons of society and the hobbyist who can only hope for posthumous discovery. For the later, having work shown in a Soho gallery has been the unreachable holy grail. But in the past few years, the tide has slowly turned, thanks to the advent of the internet and social media. Artists now have the ability produce a body of work, set up shop and sell work to patrons from all over the world. And with third party sites like Ugallery, they can even have traditional  representation in a virtual world. Still, art is made to be seen in person. However, artists don’t have to play by the same rules of times’ past. The poor economy  has necessitated innovation and an unexpected brainchild has been born:  DIY Art Galleries. Artists choosing to forgo the traditional route of the gallery, which is struggling, are opting to take more control over how and where their art is displayed.


Art Salons

  Art salons are generally a meeting of the minds, between artists and art enthusiasts. Recently, though, They have taken on a new form as a  hob-knobbing soiree among the upper-crusts.  Guests are invited to a relaxed location (sometimes someone’s home) for confabulatory interchange with artists and art viewing. Of course, sales do take place, but the goal is for people to see art outside of  gallery environment. The artists benefit by having a captive audience of people who are there to see art. This can be a great way to become an established name in the local community or in circles of people that are interested in art. You don’t need to have to be a member of high-class clique to pull of one of these functions(although it helps). You can gather your own group of potential attendees by reaching out to local professionals or associations, find a venue or host the salon in your home.

Art Salon

Pop-up galleries and Art Salons


Pop-up Galleries

Pop-up galleries are popping up in major and not-so-major cities all over the world The idea is simple: Use empty stores and storefronts as sites for temporary art shows and installations. Pop-ups can last for one night up to even a few weeks or months. The benefit is twofold: Artists get to show their work on their own stage, so to speak, and the leasers or owners of the property get the benefit of drawing attention to the usability of it and make a little cash.  Pop-up galleries  also have potential  trickle down, long-term effect: They attract traffic in areas that probably need it and in turn this leads to a demand for more permanent places to patronize, namely restaurants and cafes. Some cities have caught on and are trying to attract artists who want to set up pop-up galleries. Triangle Art Works , a community organization in Raleigh, North Carolina has put together a pop-up tool kit that is available to local artists at no cost (barring an optional donation), and can be purchased for $100 by artists wishing to do a  pop-up outside of the area.

The art world is quickly changing and has been turned on it’s head. The old institutions are no longer the gatekeepers. The great thing is, art has never been more accessible to the average person than it is now. So, if you’re inspired, call up a few of your artists friends and start planning!

Is Art Dangerous? Miami Street Artist Tasered, Dies

Isreal Hernandez-Llach

Isreal Hernandez-Llach

When I heard this story it made me sad. Though I may not sympathize with some of the political sentiments of some street artists,  the one thing that I can understand-that all artists can understand, is the need to have your work seen. To put it in front of the public and have that give and take experience.

Isreal Hernandez-Llach, 18, was tasered by Miami Police after he ignored their orders to stop running. He was spray painting private property. He later showed signs of distress and died.

There was a time I didn’t understand street art or even know the difference between street artists and graffiti. I will leave this debate up to more seasoned palates, but my personal take is that graffiti is about tagging and street art is made of the same stuff-the same intent that a modern artist would have working in his/her studio. The “studio” in effect, is just outside.  Two different things. Two different intentions.

As artists, it is our job to make our intentions clear so that people “get” us. Maybe it means playing by the rules so that we’re allowed to break them. Maybe it means inviting others into our world so that they can “see” what we see. Or perhaps get a glimpse of the world through our eyes. Can art be that dangerous? Can it cost us our lives if people don’t get it?

Isreal Hernandez's Art, Photographed at his parent's home

Isreal Hernandez’s Art, Photographed at his parent’s home

We Were Meant to Fly



I was going through some old files, I came across this illustration I made a few years ago. I titled it “beginner”, but seeing it today makes me think about taking risks. I just had to get my thoughts down, so here they are, muddy and mostly unfiltered.

Have you ever had a dream? I don’t mean something that you put into the “Someday” file and never think twice about. I mean a real dream that makes your heart race. When you see someone else doing it, you think, “That could be me”. I want to reach out to you. The dreamer who is waiting to be inspired. The Poet who tucks verses away, The Artist who “doodles”, The mom who wants to be more. You now have permission to daydream. Go ahead, do it. This is not child’s play. Now, open your eyes and make it happen. Am I oversimplifying? Perhaps, a little. I did leave out all the individual steps you will have to take. I also left out fear. Why? Take a moment right now to step outside or look out of your window. Chances are, you will see some kind of bird. Even if you’re not an expert on birds, you know something about birds. We all do: They fly.  (Ostriches and penguins, exempt. But you get my drift) At some point, most little birdies have to step out on a limb and take a leap. Never mind fear. This is life or death. In order to thrive, little birdie must fly. Fear will always be in the background. It’s not all bad, it keeps us from doing some very foolish things. But do not give your fear wings. Those belong to you. See, you were also made to fly. Out on the limb, endless possibilities await.  You might feel paralyzed or overwhelmed rather than elated by this thought. That is fear. The great news is, you are in control of it. If you don’t believe me, try to recall a time when you overcame a fear because of something you really wanted to do. Babies do this when they learn to walk. You can see the trepidation on their faces as they try to get all their little bones and muscles properly aligned to accomplish what is nothing short of a miracle. I’m sure, if you try, you can think of lots of examples like that. That is because we are simply amazing. The fact that we can dream and aspire are reasons to do so.

Chronicles of Sisterhood


World-renowned Photographer Nicholas Nixon photographed his wife and her three sisters every year for 36 years. The sisters are in the same position in every photo. What becomes evident through his candid style of photography is a deep and compelling narrative of the strength of sisterhood.