We are all different. We are all important. We are all teachers. We are artists.
Andrea has lived all over the world and speaks four languages: Romanian, Hebrew, English, et un peu de Français. Her dolls and her friends come from the many places she has traveled.
“I want people to know that I love them, that I miss them, that they are very good. I like to draw people from my memory so I don’t forget them, like Josef, he’s a nice guy. And Angel, she has pigtails, and Jo, she’s the secretary. And Leonora, she has brown eyes and brown hair, and Mariam who was in Philadelphia, but she’s not anymore. And Haley, she used to be my charter driver, and Sarah from downstairs. And Mili and Jacob, they are news reporters in Israel. I include myself in my drawings because I’m in the picture, too. I see myself there.”
Bukuru Nyandwi is known for his expressive line work that builds structural forms such as the iron work outside of his church, a king’s chair, and the trees of urban forests. Drawings and watercolors of meaningful spaces trace a story of his life experiences. Born in Congo in 1993, Nyandwi first took refuge in Tanzania, then in the US. He came to Richmond, VA when he was 15 years old. Bukuru sings choir marimba at Richmond Free Methodist Church and manages the website for his fellow artists at Milk River. His work has been acquired for the Quirk Hotel collection and exhibited at Glave Kocen and Plant Zero.
“When I feel like doing something, I just do it. I enjoy everything, everyday. I draw with my cheek and shoulder. That’s the way I draw. I don’t have a favorite thing to draw. I just draw. I draw where I am, what I see where I am. I draw the outside of my church, I draw the inside of the hotel, I draw the inside and the outside of the studio, all these things. In Africa, I drew on the floor outside with a stick. It was my own idea. It was only me. My brother and sister, they just come to look at what I’m doing. “
Shaina Cilimberg’s portraits of hip, young people in cool urban settings reflect her desire to attain immortality. Shaina is a graduate of JSRCC with a degree in Human Services. She was born in Harrisonburg, VA in 1987, is a self-taught artist and currently lives in Richmond, VA.
I would call my style of painting as “youthful,” but really I’m still working on my style. I’m trying to get better, it’s hard work. But I’m trying. I have a lot to learn before I have an actual style. I’m trying to focus, drink less coffee.
“I draw and paint people who are young, like in their 20’s and 30’s. They usually have long hair, and the guys have beards. I choose people whose style I like, people I want to hang out with.I thought of myself as a teenager until I was in my twenties. Then the next thing you know, I’m in my 30’s. I’m worried sick over what I’m going to look like when I get older. Not any fun. There’s nothing you can do about it, well, there kind of is, but not a whole lot.”
William Anderson is a visual and performing artist whose work is inspired by his love of horses and years of studying African drumming and dance. Born in 1991 in Alexandria, Virginia, Will manages horses at Mesa Vista Farm and tours with Ezibu Muntu. His vibrant studio practice includes drawing, painting, printmaking, and found object sculpture. HIs work has been selected for The Factory at Studio Two Three and acquired for the Capital One collection.
“I dream a lot about African art. I see other African artists make things, and I knew one day I wanted to make something too. I want to be proud of something. When I draw horses, I look at what I’m making. I see the muscles and dark spots. All horses are different. I love the way horses look. I like when we draw together. It’s helpful because somebody is doing something right next to you. I would rather work together. It helps us be more creative. I feel inspired by making art. I’m proud because I love the work.”
Albert Costanzo’s detailed renderings of planes, runways, trains, tubes, and the occasional satellite dish are inspired by imagination and his 35-year career at the Pentagon. Dynamic cityscapes tucked inside botanical pods sustain micro-humans and ecosystems few of us know about. Aly, born in 1959, is a self-taught artist who lives in Orange, VA. His work has been acquired for 1708’s Cabin Fever, Artspace’s Within Reach, and the Quirk Hotel collection.
“I have a wild imagination. I like to put my imagination paper. About 40 years ago, I collected my dad’s work papers because they were in the trashcan; they were free. He put them in the trashcan, and I dug them all out and drew on them. It was paper that was available when I needed it. On the back of the papers, that’s my dad’s typing. My dad passed away. I miss my dad a lot. He was a Colonel at the Pentagon. I’m interested in how clouds are made and their changing shapes. I watch the sky everyday.”
Lewis Woodhead is a painter whose process involves thoughtful color selection and stepping back from each piece to determine his next move. He draws on memory from time spent with family on the water boating and surfboarding, activities that bring him great joy. Emotions and memories come through in vivid color, repetition, and free-floating landscapes. Lewis paints places with great depth and height, such as the ocean and the sky. By working and re-working vast parts of the universe he gives himself the freedom to re-create these spaces. He loves to see smiles, love and laughter in his life and in his paintings.
“This is what I see. I paint flowers and shapes. I like to put smiley faces in my paintings. I pick out colors for how I feel. I show my feelings when I paint. This is what I know. Painting makes me happy. People see my paintings and they feel happy and smile.”
Mark Trezise is a lover of bold color and pattern. He studied graphic illustration and prepress imaging at Montgomery College, and his keen sense of design translates directly to his work. Drawings and fused glass sculpture possess an imaginative and careful precision, evident through strong lines, composition, and vivid pops of color. He contemplates each image until the full idea comes to fruition, then releases it onto paper with thick, calculated lines; makes each of his marks permanently, on the first go. Never erases.
Mark has been selected to participate in the 1708 Gallery Monster Draw, Collectors’ Night at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond and is premiering an exciting new body of glass work in the Quirk Mezzanine Gallery June 6-August ___, 2019.
“I create images on paper and place them under a large sheet of glass, then cut and arrange smaller pieces of colored glass to create two-foot guys. When working with glass, sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard, but I always manage. They turn out exactly the way I want them to. I know when they are finished.”
Milk River Arts
Milk River Arts is a working studio designed to support a neurodiverse community of artists. Inside the studio is a magical world of images and ideas from artists who have different ways of experiencing daily life. Each artist is dedicated to creating what they feel is most important. Their practice invites us into spaces open for reflection and wonder.