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Wonder Woman Painting by Artist Linda Stein

Art at Choices

Linda Stein

Linda Stein is a feminist artist, activist, educator, performer, and writer. She is the Founding President of the non-profit Have Art: Will Travel! Inc (HAWT) for Gender Justice, addressing bullying and diversity. HAWT currently oversees The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture by Linda Stein (FoG) and Holocaust Heroes: Fierce Females – Tapestries and Sculpture by Linda Stein (H2F2), two traveling exhibitions with educational workshops. Two more exhibitions will travel soon: Displacement from Home: What to Leave, What to Take (DC4) and Sexism and Masculinities/Feminities: Exploring, Exploding, Expanding Gender Stereotypes (SMF). 

In 2018, Stein was honored as one of Women’s eNews’ 21 Leaders for the 21st Century. In 2017, Stein received the NYC Art Teachers Association/UFT Artist of the Year award, and in 2016, she received the Artist of the Year Award from the National Association of Women Artists. Her art archives are at Smith College and the Linda Stein Art Education Collection is housed at Penn State University. In 2020 Penn State endowed, in perpetuity, an annual Linda Stein Upstander Award (with an award starting at $1500) going to a scholar using Stein’s archives to inspire the Bullied, Bullies and Bystanders to become Brave Upstanders for justice.

To learn more about Linda Stein, visit her website lindastein.com

Natali S. Bravo-Barbee

Natali S. Bravo-Barbee creates photographic-installations that deal with the capturing and salvaging of memories. Born in Cordoba, Argentina, she has lived in Queens, New York since 1984. She received her MFA from The City College of New York and BA from Hunter College. Recently, she was awarded the Provost’s Prize in Art from The City College of New York. Her most recent show Discarded Memories: Rescuing the Forgotten, featured a collection of intimate objects from her life that have impacted and defined her identity. Her installations are built around cyanotypes made using personal objects to add dimensionality to her photographs and tell a story.

Artist Statement:

Circa.1986 is an installation I created, that reflects an important period in my life. In year 1986, I was three years-old, and had been in the United States for about a year. Our economic situation changed, because we were surrounded by family and there were more opportunities here versus in Argentina. I recall shopping with my mother, and her instilling her ideas of femininity within me via fashion.

The mannequin in this installation is a reflection of myself at that time. The clothes on the mannequin are my clothes from that year. I was obsessed with this outfit, so much, that the blouse became horribly stained and my mother deemed it unwearable. The blouse has a little, frilly, lace collar. Similarly, there are a series of Cyanotype prints hanging on the wall of lace collars that resemble the one that blouse.

Artwork by Natalie Bravo Barbee
“Circa. 1986”; 2016; Archival pigment photograph; 16" x 20"

I positioned the mannequin, whom I call “little Natali”, to have a questioning stance. The idea is that “little Natali” is questioning the ideas of femininity being projected onto her. The shadow projected on the wall is also wearing a lace collar. This is intentional. It took quite a bit of fidgeting with the lighting to get that shadow in the right position with the proper proportions.

During the exhibition of Circa. 1986, as viewers would walk up to investigate and observe the installation, their shadows would also be projected on the wall. The viewer’s shadow acted as a parent/guardian figure standing next to this child, both observing the collection of lace collars and questioning ideas of gender and what it means to be a female.

Corona Johnson

Photographer for over 40 years, my subjects were primarily my friends and family; I am the self-proclaimed photo historian of my family. I am, also, currently a member of the Southeast Queens Camera Club, in the capacity of Vice President, and I love the medium of photography.

The model, Raquel Solomon, is expressing her sense of freedom by waving a symbolic cape perched atop a penthouse wall with the Freedom Tower in the background. Image was taken during a Goddess on the Go event at Ramscale Studio.

Freedom - By Artist Corona Johnson
“Freedom”; 16" x 20"; Photography

Marvenia Knight

Marvenia is an African American born in Sunbury, North Carolina. She is a photographer and painter. Marvenia moved to Brooklyn, New York at age 10 with her parents and older brother. She currently lives in Queens, New York.  Her interest in painting and photography began when she was 10 years old. She received her first camera from her mother who encouraged her to devote time taking pictures. That same year her elementary school teacher encouraged her to paint.

She studied Graphics and Advertising Design at Parsons School of Design in New York City. After graduation, she worked as a freelance Graphic Designer. She also studied at Empire State College/SUNY also concentrating on Graphic Design. While studying at Empire she began focusing on painting, digital photography and printmaking. Her current art work relates to African American culture and gender roles. She also does projects surrounding environmental issues specifically deforestation and urban wildlife conservation. Knight does collages using mixed media on canvas with the exception of her urban wildlife projects are photographic prints. Her objective is to use her work to visually convey awareness of these issues.

Marvenia has exhibited her work in the United States and has private collectors.

Marvenia uses her photography and paintings to document history and/or reveal the mood of her subjects. She captures the overall view of the crowd, focuses on a subject that gazing into her camera, and concentrates on the light, color and sharpness while taking candid shots.

In the Empowerment #3 composition Marvenia used an image transfer technique to transfer the photography to the canvas then completed the composition by painting in the landscape using acrylic.

Artwork by Marvenia Knight
“Empowerment #3”; Mixed media - Acrylic & digital color photography on canvas; 18” x 24”

The transfer technique started by photocopying the artwork or photograph then applying fluid matte medium with a soft brush spreading it evenly outward on the front of the photocopy of the artwork. She applied the fluid matte medium to the cured surface at least 3 times. After the surface is dry she saturated the paper with water. Then she used a sponge or her fingers to rub off excess paper.

The final step to this technique is to attach the film created from the photocopy of the artwork or photograph to the canvas with acrylic. Lastly the landscape in the composition was painted in with acrylic paint which is intentional made dark to create a mood. Marvenia used this scene to tell a story and reflect a mood and exhibit cultural values. Her aim is to effectively communicate a point of view.

Gina Samson

Gina Samson’s artwork is influenced by the rich cultural heritage and vibrant colors of the Caribbean, as well as the New York City urban environment. After showing interest in the arts at a young age, she enrolled in her High School’s art program and participated in shows and competitions. She regularly exhibits in the New York Metropolitan area, and her work is featured in several corporate and private collections.

In her view, artwork reflects the importance of creation and imagination in everyone’s life. Working primarily in painting, collage and drawing, she aims to create works that incite reflection, and bring to the viewer an appreciation of the pride, resilience and cultural achievements of the African diaspora.

Currently her work explores the interplay of music and the visual arts: “This series focuses on the relationship between the two art forms, and is linked to the fact that I most often listen to jazz while I am working; jazz has been the “soundtrack” of this production. While jazz performers exhibit a lot of spontaneity on stage, this apparent lightness belies the structure, tight collaboration, interplay and give and take between the musicians. The musical conversation of traditional jazz follows established patterns, and is the result of a delicate balance of mastery in the use of instruments and judicious affinities in style and expression.”

Artwork by Gina Samson
“Black Madonna”; 15" x 30"; Pastel on Paper

Ernani Silva

Ernani Silva, born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has developed a distinctive style that contains abstract, Brazilian and African elements, laced with rich and vibrant color. Silva’s work reflects Brazilian cultural influence of African, Indian and European descent. Growing up on a hill in a settlement originally populated by African runaway slaves, Silva began painting at age fourteen and soon became convinced that painting was his destiny.

Soon after discovering that his destiny was tied to painting, he ran away from home to Bahia, “the backdoor of Yoruba and Condomble”, as he calls it, a reference to the African religion and its ceremonies and rituals. Enjoying the culture that Bahia offered, Ernani worked on improving his technique and in 1989 migrated to the United States. Since then in his own words his work has become “less primitive”, yet continues to reflect his homeland of Brazil in its various forms, feelings and moods. Ernani work sometimes borders on the mystical or bizarre and at other times his work is funny and satirical.

As Ernani Silva continues his journey as a career artist with over thirty years of experience, his semi – abstract paintings continue to evoke his cultural content of his native Brazil together with his African and Indian heritage. “Striking colors, rhythm and movement – at times he becomes a choreographer and purposefully directs the figures on the canvas and at other times, he is a storyteller documenting elements of his culture and folklore or an activist fighting for the preservation of disappearing peoples – all combine to produce a very visceral response in the viewer.”

Artwork by Ernani Silva
“The Trojan Horse”; 36" x 48"; Mixed Media on Canvas

Susan Varo

Susan Varo is a self-taught Visual Artist whose career began at the age of eight. Her talents were quickly noticed by her teachers and peers. By the age of nine, she won a scholarship to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.

She pursued her passion and continued creating many beautiful works, which she has sold to many.

With her strong artistic background she produces amazing original-oil paintings on stretched canvas in the style of realism. Her images are intricate and unique. Close attention is paid to detail seen on each and every piece.

Many pieces of her artwork were donated and given as gifts. This includes the New York Hospital of Queens as part of a community garden and a gift to actress and choreographer Debbie Allen.

Her artwork has been exhibited at The Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center in East Elmhurst, NY, The Queens Museum of Art, Flushing, NY and The United Nations in New York City for International Women’s Day amongst many others.

Susan also has a partnership with Check Advantage as part of the Licensed Artist Series, where her works are reproduced onto checks, checkbook covers and mailing labels.

She resides in Corona, NY and creates her artwork in her home art studio.

Artist Statement:

As a visual artist, my works are an expression of my surroundings and represents what inspires me. This encompasses meeting people, traveling to various places and learning different cultures.

I have always been fascinated with bright-bold colors, shapes and designs. This includes animals, people, and landscapes, which I encompass in all of my works from still life to many abstract pieces.

This particular oil painting collection is part of a larger series called Patterns in Nature. These paintings depict animals camouflaged in various patterns and shapes. Each painting gives the viewer the effect of the animals practically leaping from the canvas. It evokes a sense of being in the presence of each colorful animal but in a serene artistic environment.

Rabbit Artwork by Susan Varo
“Red Hare”; 18” x  24” Oil Stretched Canvas
Horse Artwork by Susan Varo
“Red Dapple”; 18” x  24” Oil Stretched Canvas
Elephant Artwork by Susan Varo
“Tusks In Red”; 18” x  24” Oil Stretched Canvas

Shenna Vaughn

Shenna Vaughn’s intuitive abstract paintings tell subconscious narratives of the deep stories of the soul. Shenna’s use of warm colors sets the stage for the expression of the personal thoughts that all must confront. Her work invites the audience to enter a personal conversation of reflection and confession. While these subjects are introduced through her particular use of pigments and textures, the symbolism used uninhibitedly exposes vulnerability.

Shenna’s use of symbols also acts as both a stabilizing balance and an ingenious hint towards her abstraction. Figures are represented by bold geometrics and hard lines, forcing the content driven work to command our attention. Yet despite the power of this technique, in reality it is only the means to an end. The introspective work effectively acts as a reminder that it is important to listen to the story of the self.  Therefore, it provokes thought and conversation.

Shenna’s vision as an artist is to touch, move, and inspire. She is the canvas and she will not only create but also visually be the difference representing and standing for the artist. She is a stand for her big dreams and the broken ones.

Her art has appeared in multiple films, publications, exhibitions internationally and Art Basel nationally. Her pieces are in Beyoncé’s corporate collection and is privately held by the likes of Josh Powell (NBA Player) and Tommy Porter & Mara Schiavocampo (News Personality) just name a few.

Colorful.creationsv@gmail.com | www.shennavaughn.com | Instagram: @shennavaughn

Artwork by Shenna Vaughn
"I Am She"; 36in x 48in; Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas

Lisa D. Wade

My name is Lisa D. Wade and I am a self-taught artist and photographer. My vision is to express a synchronistic moment experienced by me, my hand and the object. I see, I reflect, I make. I continue to grow as an artist through structured learning and connection to the Divine. I have exhibited locally in Queens, Board member for SEQCC (Southeast Queens Club), steering committee member of Southeast Queens Artist Alliance (Seqaa), and member of art exhibit committee for SQPA ’s annual exhibit for three years. To Breathe is to Create!
Art Lisa D Wade
Black and White. “Dinga’s Studio”; 11" x 17" framed. This was my attempt to capture a beautiful creative soul, whose art and quilts are truly a national treasure.
Artwork by Lisa D. Wade
Black and White; “It’s never too late”; 11" x 17" framed. Ms. Marie Baker at 102 yrs still achieving. Credentials of Ministry certification, National Council of Women UN honoree, for contributions to humanity, and Congressional recognition for service to the community.
Artwork by Lisa D. Wade
Black and White. “Indian Nation”; 11" x 17" framed. This image reflects the power and pride of Native American women in spite of.
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