Thursday, April 12, 2012

She's Making HerStory: Jessica Hopkins

Washingtonian native Jessica M. Hopkins began drawing at the early age of four. By her being the fourth of nine children she quickly learned that communication is not limited to talking. She was recently diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer, and found her role to recovery through a motivational force. Jessica’s honors include a commissioned to create 15 48x48 canvases, for UDC, and illustrating for a medical book titled “Neonatal and Pediatric Respiratory Handbook” by El Gloria Harrison in 2009. Now she is currently a MFA candidate at Howard University.

       Jessica Hopkins is an expressionistic portrait painter, examining the role of identity and emotion through her subjects. Color is the motivating force behind her paintings,serving as a veil that covers the subject’s insecurities and guiseAll of her portraits serve as self-portraits, which represents the faces of others to reflect her most inner being. Hopkins draws and paints from a diverse range of influences, from the Washington Color School to the melodic patterns of Africobra in order to evocatively explore the complex ambiguities and uncertainty of life.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

She's Making HerStory: Kendra Chatmon

"The Offering"

Kendra Chatmon is a Native Washingtonian. She schooled on both the east and west coast.  She has worked in Northern California, producing educational television documentaries for an Oakland station, while also working on a collection of poetry/essays which she published in the early 1990’s.

 In the 90’s, she started her own art business, Ohma Creations.  She produced and sold original hand painted earthenware.  Her work has been exhibited in the Smithsonian Museum of American History and celebrities such as Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey and Denzel Washington have pieces of her work. 

Kendra traveled to Nigeria in 1996, with the goal of studying the local art while continuing her own educational pursuits.  She lived there from  2003 with her small son, whom she home schooled.   She found the people very receptive to her talents.  She worked in radio while there, producing thirty plus programs on topics ranging from women empowerment to children’s stories.  She also taught drawing/painting and creative writing in the local private schools.  Several murals were produced in Port Harcourt, Nigeria by her students.  Her interactions with the local tribal leaders and elders helped her compile research for an original illustrated children’s book, based on her African experiences.

Kendra is the mother of four children.  She has three grown daughters.  Her only son, who shared her African adventure graduated from the Duke Ellington School for the Arts and now attends college.  Kendra now lives in Ward 7 and teaches art at a private Christian school in Upper Marlboro.