Artists For enCourage Kids
enCourage Kids is thrilled to announce Artists for enCourage Kids.
Artists from all over the country are coming together to create one-of-a-kind artwork on 10×12 inch pine boards in conjunction with our Breaking Barriers campaign. While Leif Becker, world record holder, prepares to break 12,000 boards in a 24-hour period on May 11th, these artists are creating inspirational works of art reflecting various barriers, issues facing society today, as well as works of hope and inspiration.
“I am overwhelmed at the caliber and scope of artists that have joined the ‘Artists for enCourage Kids’ campaign,” shares Executive Director Michele Hall-Duncan. “Listening to the artists tell their stories about the boards they have created is enlightening and inspiring. Some of them have never painted on wood before and were excited about that challenge.”
The pieces will be auctioned off on May 12th and the proceeds will support creative arts therapies in pediatric facilities.
enCourage Kids Foundation has supported creative therapies including art in the hospital setting for over two decades. Projects range from murals to art therapists, art supplies, artists in residence and so much more. Over 1.3 million in support has been provided.
“Some of these kids are in the hospital for weeks or even months at a time. I cannot imagine the frustration and powerlessness they may feel,” says Michele. “Creative therapies, especially art and music, help bring those feelings to the surface often helping clinicians to manage coping skills for the patients. For some kids, art and music are absent from their regular school curriculum as well.”
Featured artists include: Alvin Clayton | Carly Rose Sonenclar | Eric Waugh | James Warhola | Katrina “Kat Tat” Jackson | Miles Regis | Shawanna Davis | Synthia SAINT JAMES | Troy Blackman
Meet Our Artists
KATRINA "Kat Tat" JACKSONPainter | Tatoo Artist | Actor
Katrina Jackson, also known as “Kat Tat,” is a young woman of many talents: Tattoo artist, painter, model, entrepreneur, philanthropist, social media and pop culture influencer, and now reality television star.
She began tattooing while studying mathematics at the University of Missouri. After three years of struggling as both a math major and tattoo artist, she decided to drop out of school to pursue her real passion, tattooing. After working at a number of different shops in Chicago, she joined forces with a talented group of male tattoo artists in Chicago. Together they formed 9MAG, which soon became the most popular urban tattoo shop in Chicago.
The artists of 9MAG were eventually discovered by a major production company, and are now all stars of VH1’s hit series, Black Ink Crew: Chicago.
With a strong passion for women’s empowerment and femininity, her paintings often feature a beautiful muse as the central focus. “I believe all women deserve confidence, radiance and the ability to feel AMAZING about themselves.” Katrina has no plans to stop creating any time soon and has solidified herself in this society as a beautiful and talented force to be reckoned with.
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KAT TAT'S BARRIER BOARD
My board represents the domestic violence that some women, men, and children experience inside their homes every day, which is also something I have experienced. The flamingo represents femininity, grace, and confidence, which is where I am in my life today!
MILES REGISPainter | Technologist | Creator
In the life and studio of LA-based, Trinidad-born artist Miles Regis, every action is an opportunity for creative self-expression. Prolific in both fine art and fashion design, Regis freely swaps the materials and languages of each to enrich the other. His large-scale mixed media paintings on canvas and linen incorporate dimensional collage elements of denim, buttons, leather, printed matter, sequins, and patches of eclectically sourced found textiles along with his dextrous, gestural, richly hued abstract and figurative painting techniques.
Aggressively hopeful and humanistic, Regis embraces a storytelling stance in his stylized renditions of fundamental scenes of love, loss, freedom, survival, activism, and living history.
Regis’ work is in the permanent collection of Intel Corporation, California African American Museum, and Senegal's La Musee Borindar; and has appeared in association with CNN, Art Basel Miami, The Coachella Music and Art Festival, CCH Pounder, Million Dollar Listing, The Marley Family, Josh Flagg, American Rag Cie, Art For Amnesty, Campaign for Black Male Achievement, Manifest Justice, Adobe, and Tonny Sorenson. Regis has exhibited at Art Basel Miami and The Coachella Arts And Music Festival and has been featured on CNN, the Huffington Post, Extra TV and Ebony Magazine.
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MILES' BARRIER BOARDS
Breaking Barriers I feel is something we can all relate to on a certain level……Two years ago I had to have surgery on the palm of my right hand—my dominant hand—and I was not able to use it to do anything for three weeks. One week after having the surgery, I decided I would make the most of the situation by using my other hand which I had never used to paint. There started a journey of overcoming and expressing and doing what I do on a daily basis with a hand that I had never used before. The experience was quite profound. I felt so many things--empathy, a heightened appreciation for the God-given gifts that I have, and so much respect for how easily they can be taken away, how easily the things you do can be taken for granted. So I dove in and started using my left hand and did this phenomenal body of work using a hand I had never used before.
We all have to overcome obstacles—our own board blocks—some on a daily basis. There’s a saying that goes, “more difficult roads lead to more beautiful destinations,” and that’s something I truly believe. You have to go through the hardship and hard times to get to that place of absolute bliss, of beauty.
Synthia SAINT JAMESArtist | Visual Architect | Author
Synthia SAINT JAMES’ art and celebrity has been utilized in numerous promotional campaigns for such companies as Royal Caribbean International, Johnson & Johnson’s Ambi, Liberty Mutual, Seagram’s, Union Bank of California, Washington Mutual Bank, Maybelline, Kayser-Roth, Coca Cola USA, Essence Communications, Barnes and Noble, and AARP.
Her artwork in hospitals include commissioned originals for Glendale Memorial Hospital, Glendale, CA and Sisters of Providence, Seattle, WA, and fine art reproductions that grace the walls of such hospitals as Kaiser Permanente, Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, Glendale Adventist Medical Center, City of Hope Medical Center and Bridgeport Hospital.
United States Ambassadors have requested that the art of Synthia SAINT JAMES be included in the interior design of their embassies through the Art in Embassies Program since 1991. A partial listing of the embassies include Caracas, Venezuela, Gagnoa, Ghana, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Abuja, Nigeria, The Republic of the Congo Brazzaville, Asmara, Eritrea, Singapore, Lome,Togo, Valleta, Malta and Juba, South Sudan. With a focus on multicultural figurative paintings, SAINT JAMES also creates vibrant seascapes and landscapes that capture the essence of countries all over the world. In addition, she’s even created a series on butterflies.
SAINT JAMES’ artwork has been described as “ebullient”, “bold”, “she creates paintings that remind one of Matisse cutouts in their clear line and intense color” and “joyful”. “SAINT JAMES’ paintings have a healing power that soothes and comforts our souls.”
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SYNTHIA'S BARRIER BOARDS
ERIC WAUGHPainter | World Record Holder | Humanitarian
Eric Waugh is one of the most recognizable and collected artists throughout North America selling more than over 45,000 original works World Wide in the past 27 years. Self-taught in every artistic aspect, he gained experience in the fields of graphic illustration and product design before turning to painting in 1988.
Waugh works primarily in acrylics on a variety of surfaces, adding embellishments such as acrylic textures, metallic paints and pens, and watercolor pencils. With his masterful use of vibrant colors, rich textures, and lively subject matter, Waugh’s fun yet sophisticated art celebrates life. Waugh’s artistic themes embrace the excitement and energy of urban life, romance, music, pets, and still life, and reflect his own heartfelt passion for the arts and his appreciation for life’s simple pleasures. Waugh’s art reveals his own positive and enthusiastic outlook.
Not content solely with studio painting, however, Waugh also takes his art to the people with live painting performances at upscale events across the country. Inspired by live music, Waugh creates original art before audiences, painting to the beat of virtually any style of music, capturing its rhythms and energy on his canvas.
As a humanitarian, charitable work is an integral part of Eric Waugh the artist. Waugh created “Hero,” the Guinness Book of World’s Records holder for the world’s largest painting on canvas (41,400 square feet) by a single artist; proceeds benefit Camp Heartland and enCourage Kids Foundation. He has painted live at other charitable events including Franco Harris’s Super Bowl Immaculate Reception Benefit for The Children’s Miracle Network; CowParade of Atlanta; for Gilda’s Club of Rochester, NY; and many other organizations. Waugh’s efforts have helped raise over $1,000,000 for worthy causes.
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ERIC'S BARRIER BOARD
Shawanna DavisBlogger | Painter | Curator
Shawanna Davis started @BeBeautifulLA, an Instagram page that appears more like an art and photography gallery solely dedicated to black beauty. As a compliment to each image she uploads, Davis adds beautiful poems and quotes she finds on Tumblr and now through submissions.
The powerful combination of poetry and photography along with Davis’ sharp curator’s eye is what touches an emotional chord with her audience. Since Davis launched the page in early 2013 she’s watched her following grow from 50 of her friends to over 130,000 people and counting.
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SHAWANNA'S BARRIER BOARDS
ALVIN CLAYTONModel | Painter | Restauranteur
A soccer scholarship was Clayton's passport to Mount St. Mary's University in Emmetsburg, Maryland, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. Drafted to play professionally upon graduation, Clayton's plans were derailed when the North American Soccer League folded. An offer to model for a photographer steered Clayton to his first modeling contract with Wilhelmina in New York. Within a few months his clean-cut looks and engaging smile were the focus of fashion editorials in GQ, Vogue, Glamour, Elle, Esquire, Details, French Vogue and Ebony Man, in addition to a slew of fashion catalogues and print campaigns.
Clayton can thank those European modeling assignments that afforded him the initial exposure to the masters and the techniques of the post-Impressionist movement, Henri Matisse's saturated palette being the most profound influence. Clayton lived in Paris for three years studying the masters between modeling jobs. In 1993, Clayton moved to California and landed a few scene-stealing cameos for his still life’s and portraits. Showtime's original movie "Run for the Dream: The Gail Deavers Story", "Any Day Now", "Why Do Fools Fall in Love", and "The Score", are among the TV and film productions Clayton's work have been commissioned to adorn.
Among the collectors of his work Clayton lists: actors Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Robert De Niro, Don Cheadle, Lynn Whitfield, Roscoe Lee Browne, Robert Townsend, Lorraine Toussaint, CC Pounder, Kenny Lattimore, photographer Peggy Sirota, King/Drew Medical Center, NYU Michael Schlesinger, Janet Botaish, Ken and Donna Gilbert, Janice Huff, Dianne Houston, and Ken and Kathryn Chenault.
Clayton, his wife Gwen, and their three children reside in the suburban tranquility of New York's Westchester County.
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ALVIN'S BARRIER BOARDS
Portrait of enCourage kid KeVaughn (KE), who was born with Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorder (EGID), which causes his body to reject food. Because of this, KE gets the majority of his nourishment through a tube that flows directly from a backpack into his stomach. Despite having his feeding tube, along with several other diagnosed illnesses, including irritable bowel syndrome, respiratory airway disease, hiatal hernia and anemia, KE says there’s nothing he can’t do and no barrier that he can’t break!
Although he’s only 14, his courage and strength surpasses that of most adults. When asked what his biggest barrier is, he struggles to find an answer. “If I didn’t have my disorders, I wouldn’t be a part of enCourage Kids. I’m happy with them. They are a gift. They are a part of my personality.”
Portrait of enCourage kid Elijah, whose knee pain brought him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) two days before his fifth birthday. The cancer had destroyed his femur, but after wearing a cast that immobilized him from the waist down for several months, his bone regenerated. While one battle had been won, there were many more to be fought, including learning to walk again and perhaps the biggest one: chemotherapy.
To keep his spirits up, Elijah immersed himself in books and shocked everyone with his incredible artistic abilities, which provided an outlet for him to cope with the pain and fear that accompany a childhood cancer. Despite how much they went through, Elijah and his family have emerged stronger, more positive, grateful, with hearts full of blessings and most importantly, with Elijah in remission. Today, at age 13, Elijah runs, jumps, plays and explores right next to his twin brother; once again, a dynamic duo. He is strong, he is brave, he is curious and he is a hero!
Art means conversation and communicating your truth on whatever medium you decide to use—canvas, dance, song—a communication to enlighten the human spirit. When I paint, I become lost in the world of the art and what I’m trying to put on the canvas. The action of making something from nothing takes you away from reality into a world you weren’t even sure you were going to go where you’re able to do what you need to do. The whole process is healing in itself.
For my boards, I thought it was important to focus on the children. I wanted to highlight them and the beauty of who they are, the importance of who they are. There is so much turmoil going on in the world right now and there are many barriers people have to overcome so I wanted to focus one of the boards on a photo I saw of a refugee child. Children like the little girl and KE and Elijah have so many barriers to overcome, but the great thing is that people and organizations like enCourage Kids are doing amazing things to support these kids. Because of that, I believe there is no barrier they won’t be able to break.
CARLY ROSE SONENCLARSinger | Songwriter | Artist
Carly Rose Sonenclar is a singer, songwriter and actress who, at just eighteen years of age, has made a name for herself around the world. In 2012, she became the runner-up on the U.S version of “The X Factor” and is currently writing and recording her debut album.
In addition to her musical career, Carly is also an accomplished actress. She made her Broadway debut at age seven as Young Cosette in Les Miserables, has appeared alongside Melissa Gilbert in the national tour of Little House on the Prairie The Musical, and originated the principal role of Chloe in Wonderland on Broadway. She is also a featured soloist on the cast CD produced by Sony Masterworks and was named the 2011 Best Young Performer by broadwayworld.com.
Since Carly was twelve years old she has been dedicated to helping to improve the life and health of sick kids and their families. She was named one of the most powerful women under 21 by Seventeen magazine, in part for her work with enCourage Kids Foundation. In her role as Ambassador, Carly has performed numerous times at the enCourage Kids-sponsored KidZone TV at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital.
She has also been an active supporter of the organization’s Escapes Program and the children who participate in it, including singing with them on stage at their annual gala, writing a song inspired by the amazing kids she’s met; making generous donations from concert proceeds, and organizing outings for enCourage Kids and their families to Broadway shows. Most importantly, Carly has been a friend and confidant to many enCourage Kids and their families.
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CARLY'S BARRIER BOARD
I’ve been lucky enough to work with enCourage Kids since the age of 12. Meeting these amazing kids and seeing them grow up has done so much for me, more than I can put into words. It’s changed my whole outlook on life, made me more aware, and has given me more of a desire to understand what these kids are going through.
My board was inspired by the experiences I’ve had at enCourage Kids events. I’ve seen so many of the kids at events having so much fun and smiling. You can see the pure joy on their faces. You forget that when they go home, that’s not what their life is. You forget that my friend, KE, can’t eat any of the food at these events because he has a feeding tube or that another kid just spent a week in the hospital. But you wouldn’t know that because the environments enCourage Kids creates take you away from all of that.
The board shows the contrast between the reality of what they have to deal with on a daily basis and the bridge to joy that I believe enCourage Kids is.
Roland Benberry, Jr.Painter | Graphic Designer | Wordsmith
About Roland Roland Benberry, Jr. is a native of Detroit, MI.
The Art of Roland Benberry, Jr. is a deliberate attempt to catch the eye and the forceful push of creative energy. Focusing on the balance of color and line, the work evokes a tribally emotional quality. With a life entrenched in The Arts, the ultimate goal is to Cover Walls and Empty Spaces that yearn for something different. Mixed Media being the driving force of each creation...No surface is safe.
Through the amazing universe of Social Media, Roland has found an incredible platform to launch his gift, his purpose. This incredible journey allows for local, international and global patronage. He lives by the Mantra, WORKPLAYLOVE and BREATHEWITHME.
Life's lines are blurred when you are doing what you love and loving what you do.
ROLAND'S BARRIER BOARDS
CHARLES BIBBSArtist | Philanthropist | Visionary
Internationally acclaimed artist Charles Bibbs, whose work is featured in museums, galleries, organizations, and homes of many collectors, displays a deep sense of Spirituality, Majesty, Dignity, Strength and Grace in his images, that is done in a combination of realistic and larger-than-life interpretations of contemporary subjects that are ethnically rooted.
Born is San Pedro, CA, and raised in Harbor City, CA, Bibbs managed to work an eight-hour job and use his God-given talent in his spare time. But in 1991, Bibbs decided to leave his management position of 25 years, to form his publishing and distribution company, B Graphics and Fine Arts, Inc. Today, Bibbs is one of the top-selling artists in the country, and his business has grown to be one of the leaders in the African American art print market.
His artwork manages to fuse African, African American and Native American cultural themes, to make powerful cross cultural statements. His work is thought provoking and capable of arousing strong emotions regardless of ethnic, gender and generational affiliation.
Bibbs firmly believes that we are the ‘Keepers of our Culture,” and as such, has spent much of his time serving on boards of museums and art organizations to support the art community. In his quest to preserve and develop the visual arts, Bibbs founded several organizations and businesses including Art 2000 Visual Arts Association (a mentorship program), Art on Tour, Images Magazine, and Arts Foundation. Through his art, he has supported numerous scholarship fundraisers and youth programs, and made substantial contributions to organizations nationwide, including the NAACP, United Negro College Fund, Tom Joyner HBC Scholarship Foundation and the National Urban League.
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CHARLES BIBBS' BARRIER BOARDS
Most times in my life, fear has always shown its ugly face in whatever difficult situation has presented itself. But I like to look at things in a different light. If I have a problem, I want to paint it different colors. Painting a problem beautifully in vivid colors helps me handle that problem a lot better—a color of joy, a color of happiness, a color of accomplishment, a color of winning. Positive things. That generally helps me deal with any problems in life….when I color it differently.
JAMES WARHOLAIllustrator | Father | Legacy Keeper
James Warhola was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1955. A large influence during his childhood was his artistic family, especially his famous uncle, Pop artist-Andy Warhol. From an early age of watching his uncle illustrate shoes, James wanted to be an illustrator. Like his uncle, he attended the famous Tam O’ Shanter art classes and graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1977. A move to New York City allowed him to hone his painting skills at the prestigious Art Students League and to freelance illustration and design work.
Warhola’s interest in science-fiction, fantasy and comics landed him in the middle of the publishing world. He established himself as a highly sought after talent, illustrating over 300 book covers for the most popular writers of the day. Two celebrated covers are Robert Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” and William Gibson’s first cyperpunk classic, “Neuromancer.” These and many other fantastical images opened other doors. In 1980, the editors at Mad Magazine commissioned him for their paperbacks. This led to him becoming a regular contributor of the magazine ever since. Another related achievement was being selected as one of the primary artists for the very popular Garbage Pail Kid card series.
In 1987, an art director handed him a kid’s book manuscript, instructing him to do as he pleased. It was called ‘The Pumpkinville Mystery’ and became an instant Halloween favorite. He has since illustrated over 30 books, several of which he has written, as well. These works have garnered him several state awards for Best Children’s Book and, in 2004, he received the International Reading Association’s Award for Best Non-Fiction Picture Book for his autobiographical story: “Uncle Andy’s.” Warhola has been featured nationally on NPR’s Weekend Edition, All Things Considered, and Fresh Air.
James Warhola splits his time between the Hudson Valley of New York and Baltimore, Maryland.
JAMES' BARRIER BOARD
and an Autographed copy of his award-winning autobiographical children’s book “Uncle Andy’s: A Faabbbulous Visit with Andy Warhol”
A large influence during children’s book author and illustrator James Warhola’s childhood was his artistic family, especially his famous uncle, Pop artist-Andy Warhol. It was his uncle who inspired him to be an illustrator.
Written in 2003, “Uncle Andy’s” was the first children’s book James wrote and illustrated. It recounts a childhood visit he and his family took to New York City in the summer of 1962 to surprise his uncle and grandmother, who lived there with their 25 Siamese cats.
The book takes place in the same summer that Andy Warhol released his famous Campbell’s Soup portrait, and original copies came with a recreation of the painting. On the inside cover of the book is a picture of a Campbell’s Soup-themed birthday card that James drew his uncle at age 7.