Abi Salami is a self-taught artist who creates large-scale surrealist works that explore her experiences as a Nigerian immigrant and Black woman in the United States. Through the use of a personal visual lexicon made up of symbols, she explores topics such as sexuality, mental health and race. She earned a Masters in Professional Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin and worked in Corporate America for almost a decade before committing to painting full-time. Since then, she has gone on to exhibiting across the United States and Europe including at The Women’s Museum and the African American Museum of Art in Dallas, Cris Worley Fine Arts in Dallas, C24 Gallery and Field Projects in New York City, and Galerie Droste in Germany. She was the winner of the 2021 Hopper Prize. She was selected as a candidate of the Saatchi Art 2020 Rising Stars under 35 Class and a 2021 New Voices Top 100 Artists. She and her work have been featured on the Washington Post, New York Times, Artland, Artsy, D Magazine, Glasstire and Patron Magazine. Abi recently completed a residency with Valerie Gillespie Contemporary and will be featured in the gallery's first appearance at the Dallas Art Fair.
Adrienne Brown-David was born in St. Louis, MO. Art has always been a huge part of Adrienne’s life. As a child, her grandmother would keep all the paper grocery bags for Adrienne to draw on. She drew on the sidewalks with chalk and broken pieces of brick. She made costumes and masks and carved little slivers of used ivory soap into animals in her free time. As she got older her mother noticed that art was going to be a part of Adrienne, so she began to encourage it. She was enrolled in art classes after school and on weekends. Her mother took her to galleries and museums. In high school, all of Adrienne’s electives were art related and after graduation, she went on to spend a year at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Though she only stayed for her foundation year, the experience at SAIC had a huge impact on her as an artist. Adrienne’s confidence grew and her willingness to experiment with styles and mediums flourished. After leaving SAIC, she returned home to St. Louis for a couple of years where she taught after school art classes to kids in the neighborhood and drew regularly on her own. Soon life took Adrienne in a completely different direction, and she moved to St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. Living there immersed her in an environment that was both familiar and completely foreign. It was the first time that she’d ever lived in a place where she was not a minority. The beauty of the land and the culture impacted her art in a huge way. She began to combine her willingness to experiment with styles and mediums with portraiture of the people around her. This was when she really began to paint. In her time on St. Croix, Adrienne got married and had three children. Her children added a new element to her artistic style and subject matter. Watching their growth and development as well as their innocence and sense of wonder touched a part of Adrienne that had not been visited since her own childhood. Capturing that innocence and intensity became the focus of her work. When she was pregnant with her fourth child, she relocated from St. Croix and settled in Mississippi where her experiences were also both familiar and foreign. Today, she lives in a small town in Mississippi with her husband and four children.
Charles Michael Davis, is a versatile artist whose work elucidates his multidisciplinary background. He discovered his natural talent for photography during a black and white 35mm camera course at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and worked as a model for notable photographers, including Yu Tsai, Jim Jordan, and Mark Seliger. His additional expertise includes directing television episodes and music videos, as well as training in piano and dance, he has honed his artistry through a myriad of experiences and disciplines. Charles draws inspiration from the likes of Robert Longo, Brigitte Lacombe, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. His talent has been recognized through selection for director's pick at The Other Art Fair Los Angeles 2023. Charles Michael Davis debuted "Wild At Heart" in November 2023 at Pencil on Paper Gallery.
Chris Arnold was born and raised in Dallas Texas. The creative process has been a part of his life for his entire life. He was fortunate enough to attend the High School at the Preforming and Visual Arts “Arts Magnet,” and graduated in 1984. The school proved pivotal in his trajectory towards a lifelong career in the Arts. While still in high school Arnold was commissioned to paint his first large scale outdoor Mural for the opening of the Dallas Arts District, a foreshadowing of things to come. Upon graduating he went on to the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with a BFA in Illustration in 1988. After college he found his way to the theater. For the next five years he worked as a scenic artist in the film and television industry and painted scenery as a lead scenic in two of Dallas’s largest scenic arts studios. It was while painting backdrops for the opera and ballet that Arnold learned techniques for producing monumental scale artwork. That would prove to be the final piece of the puzzle which launched him into a successful career as a Mural artist and CEO of Dallas-based Eyecon Studios. In 1993 he, along with fellow CCAD grad Jeff Garrison, formed Eyecon Studios as a collaborative artistic team and have been producing award winning works of Art throughout the country for the last 30 years. The most recent chapter in his artistic journey finds him in uncharted territory. He is now a first-year artist with 36 years’ experience as he embarks on his first solo gallery exhibition. He finds himself at the focal point of an artistic lens that has filtered illustration, scenic Arts and Mural painting for 3 decades and the result is his first solo exhibition at the Pencil on Paper Gallery in April 2024.
Desmond Blair, a Dallas-based artist is a problem solver and has been ever since childhood. Blair was born without fingers. Through navigating learning how to write without hands in school, Desmond discovered a love for art and animation. It was this love for animation and animated storytelling that inspired Blair to expand his artistic talents. Blair’s tenacity, determination, and drive empowered him to graduate from high school at the age of 16. Blair later earned his undergraduate degree from University of Texas at Dallas where he honed his traditional abilities and transferred them to digital media focusing on animation and computer graphics. Blair later returned to UTD where he received his MFA in Art and Technology with a concentration on the development of computer graphics and the study/analysis of emerging media trends. He now uses his art to encourage others, promote limb difference awareness and raise money for charities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Desmond hopes to one day use his art to launch a scholarship fund that will assist graduating seniors born with limb differences in the pursuit of their academic goals.
Elyse Hradecky is a Dallas born artist living and working in Manhattan, New York. Her training, based on traditional techniques, has led her to create work with a classical foundation, based on contemporary subjects. Working in both 2D and 3D, her figurative work focuses on the quiet connections created between the art and viewer. Whether through direct gaze or voyeuristic observation, she creates spaces encouraging contemplation about her subjects. Her still life paintings show the often-overlooked beauty of everyday and discarded items. While earning a BFA in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design, she was accepted to the European Honors program in Rome, Italy. Afterward, she earned an MFA with honors in sculpture, with a concentration in anatomy, from the New York Academy of Art. She has been awarded a Terra Foundation residency in Giverny, France and the Distinguished Artist Scholarship and Full Fellowship from the Art Students League Residency at Vyt. Her work has been shown at Dacia Gallery in New York City, The Lyme Art Association Gallery in Old Lyme, The New York Academy of Art in New York City, The Edward Hopper House Museum in Nyack, Neoteric Fine Art in Amagansett, Union Arts Center in Sparkhill, Frontrunner Gallery in New York City, and Wayfarers Gallery in Brooklyn. Elyse had her first solo exhibition at Pencil on Paper Gallery in October of 2023.
Emmanuel Gillespie, was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He received his BFA from the University of North Texas and later earned a Master of Art from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Gillespie works with mixed media in both 2D and 3D forms. He has worked on several Public Art projects in Dallas, Texas including specific work for the Bexar Street Corridor project and the DART Green Line project. As the former curator for the African American Museum of Dallas, Emmanuel worked to bring the beauty of the Arts to our Dallas community. Most recently, Emmanuel Gillespie was commissioned to create the Ernie Banks Statue in Dallas for the Booker T. Washington School of the Performing and Visual Arts. In addition, two new statues by Emmanuel now reside at the Cedar Crest Golf Course in Southern Dallas. Bronze statues of Dr. Charles Sifford and Walter Hagen, commissioned by I Am A Golfer Foundation grace the entrance to the golf course.
Frank Frazier, a Nationally acclaimed artist, has been creating art for over 60 years. A New York native, but home to Dallas visual artist, Frazier has inspired many artists and art enthusiasts through his exhibitions across the United States. His legacy not only resides in his art, but also through his passion for assisting and guiding artists. A veteran and a supporter of museums, galleries, and organizations, Frazier continually creates bodies of work that illustrate historical moments and present Black experiences that not only educate but unite communities at large.
Jessica Vollrath was born in 1984 to an African American father and Mexican mother, Vollrath had a unique beginning with 11 siblings, a Mennonite background and a homeschool education. She discovered her love of painting around the age of 8 and spent her free time exploring with the various art supplies her mother found at garage sales.
At the age of 15, Vollrath met the late Dr. Marilyn Daniels at an art opening. Upon seeing Vollrath’s portfolio, Dr. Daniels was amazed by the untrained, natural skill that was present in the work. She immediately offered art tutelage to the quiet 15 year old. Credited to Dr. Daniels’ prodding and encouragement, Vollrath went on to receive her BFA from Howard University in 2011 and MFA from Texas Woman’s University in 2017. Vollrath works primarily in oil paint and is currently focused on the sacred narratives. She is figuratively trained and began her early career as a portrait painter for hire. With her love of light, color and the figure, Vollrath tells spiritual narratives of humankind's eternal search for its' connection to immortality. Since Vollrath was raised outside of conventional ideations around gender, race, body and identity, her work explores deeper existential questions regarding who we are in connection to the whole. Vollrath currently lives in Dallas with her husband and 2 daughters. She is a professor of art at Eastfield College and co-founder of Toyblock.
Katie McKay Jones, is a painter residing in Fort Worth, Texas. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with BA in Studio Arts. While there, she emphasized in painting and printmaking. Jones has had the opportunity to participate in several group shows in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for the past three years. “Little Monsters Everywhere” at Pencil on Paper Gallery was her first solo exhibition. Katie's work was featured for the second time in a row at the Fort Worth Art Fair at the Pencil on Paper Gallery booth, and continues to be a favorite amongst collectors. New work can be seen in Gallery II at Pencil on Paper Gallery.
Rapheal Crump, was born in the Bronx New York in December of 1984, Rapheal grew up in a household that strongly believed in the importance of the arts and education. He was influenced by his mother who was an illustrator and his father, a painter. When he was only 5 years old, he was bitten by the entrepreneur bug when a woman offered him money for his drawings. These early influences and events lead him to open a boutique clothing store, selling customizable clothing and shoes by the time he was in high school. After receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts from School of Visual Arts in 2007, he began to work as a graphic artist and animator for a major media network in Times Square. After numerous years in the media field, Rapheal relocated to Dallas, Texas where he began his career as a full-time artist in 2017. Rapheal's work varies from oil paint, acrylic and mixed media, mostly focused on the culture of the urban city living. His visions derive from memories and experiences which connects the viewer and their own nostalgia. The evoked emotion from each viewer gives Rapheal a push to continuously create meaningful and thought-provoking bodies of work. “Above Us” provides viewers with a breathtaking glimpse of the beauty in our world, provided we take the time to stop and look up.
Vanessa Meshack is a self-taught, multi-media artist in Dallas, Texas. She creates fine art monotype prints on archival papers and fabrics based on detailed figure studies in graphite and charcoal. Vanessa is a former Educator with over ten years’ experience in public and private school systems in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and abroad. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a minor in Advertising Art from Prairie View A&M University. Meshack resides in Dallas with her husband. They have two children.