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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Elizabeth Colomba

Elizabeth Colomba

Born and raised in France, on the outskirts of Paris, amid the rich inspiring Caribbean heritage of her family, Elizabeth Colomba's life as an artist began in early childhood: “ I was six years old when I initially told my mother, I will be a painter… She patted me on the head, and insinuated I either have to win the lottery or be Picasso… As I was contemplating my two choices, 2 years went by… The school I was in, wanted to do something special for father’ s day, and decided that we would be copying a master work of art of our choice, as a gift for this significant occasion. My Van Gogh counterfeit made my parents ecstatic, and assured me off what I wanted to be.”

Elizabeth Colomba attended the high school of art in Paris. After receiving her degree in applied arts she continued her studies, continuing to paint and to intensively develop her own style. Upon graduation from college she achieved a first class honors degree and most importantly, a mastery of an individual style and artistic expression. In the late nineties, after trying out her skills in the world of advertising, Colomba moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in painting and storyboarding, working on feature films like Romeo and Juliet, One Hour Photo, Jesse James, ASingle Man, and several others.

Colomba begins the creative process inspired by faces, rooms, or even clothing, which spark her imagination, and evolves from there. She often begins by drawing nude figures; she then follows by creating sketches of several clothed figures, settled in a space, surrounded by meaningful objects. It is this careful preparation that leads to the very detailed style of painting she is creating.

When asked who her artistic heroes are, Elizabeth Colomba eloquently replies, “I'd like to have Sargent’s touch, Caravaggio's light, Degas' vision, Vermeer's inscrutability and Velázquez's knowledge”. The influence of each can be seen in Elizabeth Colomba's work.

For Elizabeth Colomba, painting is primal. She can't think of living without doing it. To say it in other words, she lives to paint. The roots of her artistic expression are cerebral: Leonardo da Vinci was right, 'Painting is a mental act.'

Elizabeth Colomba

"What's in a name? That which we call a Rose by any other name would smell (just) as sweet.”— Shakespeare

In this aphorism Sir William advocates Otherness. And it is this sweet Otherness that thrives in Colomba's work. In it she infiltrates, subverts and re-defines our collective memory of Black people and Black culture; pigmentizing a History that in the West has been written and transmitted as bleached.

The artist's pursuit is that of a perceptual paradigm shift in which Black people will no longer be remembered as being portrayed playing banjos in raggedy clothes or smiling meekly at an absent observer. Her paintings re-define not only how Black people have been conditioned to exist, but also how Black people have been conditioned to reflect upon themselves. They address the heirs of the African diaspora, who, in Colomba's words will find 'a dignifying self-image in my work, a portrayal that blurs racial lines. An environment in which each individual will find mutual respect and freedom unrelated to the color of their skin."

It is this erasure of the Other that Colomba's work is about. Her paintings don't 'insert' Black people into the oeuvre of Western art. They rather generate a space for her subjects to inhabit the re-writing of their history, a history that honors their presence and place in and through culture and time.

Black people are an integral part of world history and have undoubtedly played a decisive role in the shaping of cultures. Their cultural and pictorial representation, however, was essentially invisible or denied before the 20th Century. Prior to Picasso's or Braque's 'insertion' of Black culture into Western art, Black people were depicted as anonymous, less-than-human entities deprived of the right of presence. Their place in the Oeuvre of art was secondary or tertiary at best. Their social status undeserving of other more respectable depictions.

Colomba's work is born through collision and reconciliation. By co-opting and re-configuring Western myths, religious iconography and folklore —historically written in white ink—she de-territorializes the areas in our psyche that have been conditioned to label and suppress the Other. Her images take place at instances of anticipation or aftermath, thereby holding a present that has not-yet happened and not-yet passed. The content and countenance of her paintings are deliberately classical, representational. Her subjects however, are not.

Colomba's paintings depict 'traditional' historical and literary subjects as Black, enabling the artist to challenge our inherited perceptual modes of socio-political conditioning. In this manner, she utilizes the same pictorial methods and techniques which have generated and sustained these socio-political conditions to subvert and integrate a sense of Otherness into our collective psyche. Her message is an egalitarian one of beauty in co-existence.

Charles Bibbs

Charles Bibbs

Contemporary Visual Artist Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

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 in San Pedro, California, and raised in Harbor City, California, 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 own publishing and distribution company, B Graphics and Fine Arts, Inc. Today, Bibbs is one of the top-selling artists in the country, and his company has grown to be one of the leaders in the African American art print market.

Bibbs strongly believe that we are the “Keepers of our Culture,” and as such, have spent much of his time serving on boards of museums and art organizations to support the art community. He has lectured, and conducted panels and workshops in major cities, including the Charles Wright African American Museum in Detroit, Urban League of Pittsburg and the Riverside Metropolitan Museum. He has a sincere passion for supporting the youth, and as such, has mentored, taught and conducted numerous workshops for young aspiring artists.

In his quest to preserve and develop the visual arts, Bibbs founded Images Magazine, the first national publication dedicated to contemporary African American art, Art 2000 Visual Arts Association (and Mentorship Program for young and emerging artists), Art on Tour, The Inland Empire Music and Arts Foundation, Co-founder of the Creative Quarantine, an artist and residence program. In his professional artist career, Bibbs owned 7 art galleries, including the popular 626 Art Gallery at Studio B, located in the historic art district of Los Angeles downtown.

Bibbs continues to receive recognition and appreciation not only for his distinctive style images, but for his philanthropic spirit. 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, Associated Black Charities, Morehouse College, Howard University, PNC Bank, Tom Joyner HBC Scholarship Foundation, National Urban League, Alpha Phi Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta. In 2012, Charles Bibbs was appointed a 3-year Artist-In_Residence for the Associated Study of African-American Life & History (ASALH), Carter G. Woodson, Founder and Founder of Black History Month.

Bibbs is profiled in many publications, Ebony Jet, Upscale, Ebony Male, just to name a few, and has interviewed on numerous radio and television programs including the Tavis Smiley Show, Steve Harvey Radio Show, and TV One Studio. His work has been shown on the sets of many popular television sitcoms, movies, and on the cover of major CD Albums and Books, including the popular Urban Knight CD Collection featured and produced by legendary musician Ramsey Lewis with other Jazz greats such as Grover Washington, Gerald Albright, and Rhino Record’s Smooth Jazz Collection. As an avid listener and supporter of Blues and Jazz, Bibbs is pleased to announce his 23 years as a commemorative featured artist for some of the largest venues across the United States: Old Pasadena JazzFest West, Long Beach Jazz Festivals, Riverside Jazz Festival, Essence Music Festival, New Orleans, Capitol Smooth Jazz Cruise, Washington DC, The Legendary Blues Cruise, Kansas City, Monterey Blues, Monterey, Ca, Two-Street Festival, Richmond, VA., and many more. Bibbs received his first book design commission in 1997 titled: “Ear, Eyes and the Arm,” followed by “Gifts of Virtue,” Alice Walker( Melanie L. Harris), “Deeper Shades of Womanism and Society” (Stacey M. Floyd), “Leaves of Spilled Spirit From An Untamed Poet” (Conney E. Williams) and others. In 2008, he was the first African American visual artist hired by Fox Searchlight Pictures of Century City, California to create for one of its major films. Bibbs created the “Black Madonna” image for “The Secret Life Of Bees” movie which featured Queen Latifah, Alicia Keyes, Jennifer Hudson, Sophie Okonedo, Dakota Fanning, and other noted artists.

Bibbs’ work has been featured in several exhibitions at museums, galleries, schools and other art venue. His partial list includes the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, The Metropolitan Art Museum in Riverside, The Museum of African American Art, Los Angeles, The Charles Wright African American Museum, Detroit, Michigan, Beverly Hills Fine Art Show, Beverly Hills, CA., The National Black Fine Arts Festival,Soho,NY, the New York International Art Expo, and the Japan International Fine Art Show in Tokyo, Japan.

He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the “Entrepreneur Of The Year” Award, presented by the African American Chamber of Commerce, United Negro College Fund “Honoree Award,” Hardy Brown Community Award, Save The Arts Award, Greensboro, NC., presented the “Key to 6 cities across the nation and has received Honorary Life Memberships to several organizations.

Bibbs’ original works are featured in the homes of many collectors, businesses and organizations all over the country. His partial list of collectors includes Frankie Beverly, Anchor Pam Moore (Kron4), Jazz Musician Najee, Steve Harvey, Actress T’Keyah Kemah, TV Anchor Marc Brown, Earl Graves, Queen Latifah, Drs. Frank and Marsha Glover, Dr. And Mrs. Charles Mitchell, University of Arizona and Fox Searchlight Pictures.

“My most important goal is to make profound aesthetic statements that are ethnically rooted, and at the same time, arouse spiritual emotions within us”

Charles Bibbs

Awards & Recognitions

Mayor’s Proclamation – Presented by Office of the Mayor, Baltimore, MD
State Senate Resolution – Presented by State Senator, Detroit, MI
Mayor’s Proclamation – “Charles Bibbs Day” – Presented by Office of the Mayor, E. Cleaver, Kansas, MO.
Kellogg’s Expert In Residence” – Battlecreek, MI
United Negro College Fund – Honoree Recognition – UNCF National Office, Atlanta, GA
“Recognition Award” – Presented by President of Borough of Manhattan, NY
“Community Recognition Award” – Presented by National Council of Negro Women
“Appreciation Service Award” – CA.Assembly, Secretary of State, Board of Supervisors, SB, CA
“Honorary Lifetime Membership” – Presented by New York Boys Choir, Harlem, NY
“Honorary Citizens Award” – Presented by Mayor Cleaver, Kansas City, MO
“Key To The City Award” – Presented by City Council of Carson, Carson, CA
Entreprenuer of the Year” Award – Presented by African Amer. Chamber of Commerce, Riverside, CA
“Entreprenuer of the Year” Award – Presented by NAACP, San Bernandino Chapter, San Bernandino, CA
County of Los Angeles, The Links, Inc. Art Award, Palo Verdes Chapter
California State Assembly, Certificate of Recognition Wilmer Amina Carter, 62nd Assembly District
Office of City Attorney R. Delgadillo, Certificate of Recognition, Los Angeles, Ca.
California Legislature Assembly, Certificate of Recognition Award, Riverside, CA
International Benny Award, Printer’s Award “The Gift IV”
Central Partnership of Harlem, Recognition Award presented by President of Borough Manhattan

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