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Ascension by Ansel Butler
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Ananda Nahu is a Brazilian graffiti artist born in Bahia, Brazil in 1985. In 2001, she moved from Juazeiro to Salvador, where she attended the College of Design in 2003 and the Fine Arts School at the Federal University of Bahia in 2004. Throughout this time, she developed interests in diverse artistic expressions such as photography, Fine Arts Paintings and engravings, as a result of her studies and research on lithography, serigraphy, metal graving, and posters.
Nahu was introduced to the art of graffiti when she met graffiti artist and current husband, Rodrigo Izolag. As a result, she began using stencils in order to create wall arts. In Nahu's work, which mostly showcases women, utilizes a variety of techniques, colors, visual effects, and painting styles contribute to her vision of, combining past and modern cultures and people into a harmonious compositions that expresses the pure beauty, strength, and positivity from the nature of human beings.
Nahu was selected as one of the "redefining" artists of Brazil in 2015 by CNN Style. In 2016 she contributed to a large mural in Cleveland, Ohio.
Nahu currently resides in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
To reach Ananda or see more of her work go to her website.
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Ansel Butler is a progressive and innovative artist that is originally from Omaha, Nebraska. As a young child, his parents knew early that he had a significant connection to art and creativity but were unsure of how that path would or should manifest. In an effort to foster their son’s creativity, they decided to locate ways to grow his natural ability for what he loved by placing him in several art competitions at an early age, as well as including him in an after school art program held by The Jocelyn Art Museum. Being involved in programs and competitions proved to be a turning point and a guide for what Ansel would do and become in the future. As a teenager he became quite the entrepreneur by working in a local space in Omaha airbrushing portraits, t-shirts, hats, jeans, leather jackets and back drops for local businesses. Ansel, in his youthful wisdom, knew that he would need business strength to continue to do what he loved and decided to continue his education at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he graduated with dual degrees. He has lived in many cities, traveled the globe and now makes his home in Atlanta, Georgia where he continually creates and stretches his vision in the art world. His path to being an artist has been anything but traditional, his accolades are many, his vision continues to astound, his creativity is genius and his pieces have transformed over the years and reside in homes and businesses all across the globe.
Being the progressive visionary artist that is Ansel Butler, he utilizes a broad range of styles such as acrylics, oils and stains on cotton, wood, canvas and multimedia surfaces. He also represents a style of art that utilizes exotic colors that will compliment or contrast with one another and a washed technique for a more classic view allowing for a more diverse and broad range of styles in his renderings. This type of versatility in using such traditional and “untraditional” methods coupled with the subject matter that he chooses allows for a visual escape while providing a gentle reminder of the things that touch our lives. His ingenuity in the combination of abstract portraits and cultural elements are the touch stones that reflect his evolution as an artist. Ansel’s expression of the journey from new to seasoned artist, along with the extraordinary capacity to create are the perfect storm in creating the expansion of the artist he will become as time moves him forward and his creativity continues to implode on surfaces to bring his vision to life.
When asked about his passion, his life’s work, Ansel stated: "Art isn't supposed to be stagnant. Art is alive. It moves just as the person that renders it moves with their brush. Art must grow and change just as the artist must grow and change. I was once asked to label my life’s work and in reality I was uninterested. But if I had to explain it, I would define it as subtle stitches in time. From portraits to abstract renderings to images that are gentle reminders of the things that touch our lives from a contemporary artistic view".
To reach Ansel or see more of his work, make sure to check his website.
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"My artwork is a direct correlation of my immediate existence as my spiritual, mental, and social environments interconnect. The onlooker must draw on his/her own experiences to conjure the furor in which I paint. In effect, my artistry symbolizes freedom amidst confinement, healing despite pain, and calm within chaos."
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Born and raised in Brooklyn NY, Patrick Dougher is a self-taught Artist, Musician, Poet, Educator & Spiritual Activist.
Patrick has played and recorded with Grammy award winners Sade, Chuck D (Public Enemy) and Dan Zanes as well as many other notables. He is the drummer on “Dub Side as the Moon” one of the best selling Reggae LP’s of all time.
He has worked as a Teaching Artist in NYC public schools, as an Art Therapist working with HIV positive children and as the Director of community arts organizations. For over 20 years Patrick has used the arts to empower and support the socio-emotional growth and health of “at-risk” and disenfranchised youth of the city.
Through his art Patrick seeks to inspire and to celebrate the noble beauty and divine nature of people of African descent and to connect urban African American culture to its roots in sacred African art, spirituality and ritual.
Rachel (Rae), our latest dope puzzle artist, is the one behind Leanna Rae's Art. She is a self taught artist residing in the town of Denver, Colorado.
She believes in the philosophy that "as Black women we must educate ourselves, then reach the children. We get our values mixed into thinking we need to educate the entire world when it first starts with ourselves."
She is committed to doing the work of educating herself about the stories that were withheld from us or given a whitewashed narrative and provide imagery that represents the Black community with positivity, relatability and truth through art.
"As I'm learning and unlearning through my own experiences, I hope you come along this creative journey with me and discover art that you love that connects you to the collective."
To reach Rae or see more of her work go to her website.
Get a dope puzzle by Rachel Crosby now!
Vincent Ballentine was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at The University of Arts in Pennsylvania. Vincent has been awarded public commissions in Los Angeles, New York, and Cleveland. He is a multi-talented Artist, Graphic Designer, and Illustrator.
Vincent Ballentine is a multi-disciplined visual artist based in Brooklyn, NY. With a degree in film and education from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and continued study in film at Cleveland Institute of Art, Vincent’s media range from digital illustration and animation, to large-scale murals and street art. As an independent contractor, Vincent has worked with organizations including Groundswell, Progressive Arts Alliance and Creative Art Works--through which he has created work for Whole Foods, the NYC Housing Authority, a myriad of schools throughout the five boroughs, and at Rikers Island.
As a freelance artist, Vincent has traveled internationally and been commissioned to create work for the likes of the NCAA, MTV, BET, and festivals such as Wall Therapy, O-positive and Meeting of Styles in Germany. Vincent earned an Emmy for his performance in MLB Network’s “Fall Colors,” where a time-lapse recording of himself painting creates the backdrop for post animations. Vincent’s work never stops evolving, as demonstrated by his 2020 US State Department residency in Ethiopia as an ambassador for hip hop. His company, Matlock Studios, has built relationships with local business-developing organizations, and the NYC Departments of Education and Transportation. Thriving through personal and artistic growth, Vincent aims to contribute his brand of style and vision to the art community through mentorship and youth guidance.
To see more of his work, go to his website.
Your puzzles make me happy. The people look like me. I love puzzling, but it lacks diversity.
We REALLY enjoyed this... And I just wanted to personally thank you for including imagery of a black man. There’s NEVER any imagery of black men and hardly any of men in general. I really appreciate that representation.
You are glowing Kris! So happy for your brand, for you, and the awareness of art + puzzles.. just like your family got you started with puzzles at a young age... I too got my daughter started with puzzles she only 3 yrs.. and she loves puzzles!!!!