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. (Courtesy of the Artist)
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.
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.
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.
Stacie Monday, originally from Tulsa, OK, Stacie Monday is a painter and activist inspired by and focused on the celebration of African American women in her community. Her work explores her individual struggles, experiences, and lessons learned as a woman in America. Monday focuses on promoting positive narratives of Black women and paints to change the negative views and stereotypes that they face through storytelling and advocating equitable representation in visual culture.