Black Artists of the Upstate. Augusr 21 - October 21.


Stop by the Headquarters Library from August 21 through October 21 to view artwork on display in the at&t Exhibition Lobby during the “Black Artists of the Upstate” exhibition. The artists exhibiting are: Deigha Anderson, Jeffery Bryd, William Downs, George Ligon, John Pendarvis, Jessica Scott-Felder, Myles Solomon, Natasha Giles Somerville, and Winston Wingo. John Pendarvis and Jessica Scott-Felder acted as co-curators for this exhibition. For more information call 864.285.9091 or email mirandas@infodepot.org.


The Artists

"With influences as diverse as neo-expressionism to ancient Chinese woodblock printing; All of my works vary in every aspect of building a composition. Each piece has started and ended in different ways. Nothing is repetitive and even digital works are printed and deleted. The compositions are just as unpredictable as time and so I use music to at least give me some direction to channel all of the different things I wish to regurgitate. Music helps me find elements and principles to focus on. Music contains repetition, pattern, from, structure, etc . . . I use what musicians and lyricist express and channel that into a visual tune.

Lately, I have been into portraits of deceased artists or figures as a way to pay homage. Each subject and I have a personal and emotional relationship. My process always starts as a thumbnail and evolves into a full color comprehensive. Sometimes I work in multiple scans and assimilated typographic elements. Sometimes I work raw and just let the song repeat for hours or days until the last note is finished. The works are a process piece in itself because I leave notes and hidden messages to remind myself what I plan to do next in the piece or the random thoughts that cross my mind as I am working on them.

Summing up my bodies of work would yield sketchy, graphic and humorous images to the general public. My artworks have the potential to make some people unnerved or uncomfortable, and if that’s the case, I have accomplished my goal. One could also say that the works are a reality and I am trying to escape my own self. As once stated by a good friend of mine: "The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don't."- Author Fleck, The Joker."


Artwork By Deigha Anderson

"My name is Mud. Not to be confused with Bill or Jack or Pete or Dennis. My name is mud and it's always been." (-Primus). Native to Spartanburg, SC. I attended Paul M. Dorman Highschool where my concentration was classical performing arts. I have attended the University of Tennessee and the University of South Carolina Upstate. I have AAS in multimedia technologies with an emphasis in graphic design and a BFA in Graphic design w/ a minor in sociology. I am currently a graphic/web design instructor at Woodmont High school in Greenville SC. I am also a contract graphic designer for WrapKingz LLC. In which my area of focus is mobile and environmental advertising.

I do not enjoy sweet bread products, shorts, flying insects or accolades. However, I do enjoy studying Pan African history, sub sandwiches, skateboarding and creating things that call for structure. I am a cancer survivor and a submissive cynic. I am happily married to a brilliant Educator and super active fine artist. I am also a father to a fur baby named Luna H. Pooch and the H stands for “Humble.” Fred Sandford reference.

Nice to hypothetically meet you!

Xoxo,
Mud

Deigha Anderson Headshot

"I truly believe if never stop creating something, I will come up with an image that will complete my purpose on this earth."


Jeff Byrd Headshot

My Artistic name is Noel. I feel I have one purpose in life. That is to create one picture. This picture is to bring moments of peace in all its viewers life.

I was turned on to coloring by my mom. It seemed to feel natural to me when she was showing me how to do it. I fee; at the tender age of 8, 4th grade I started my artistic existence. There’s not a fabulous tale of how all these special things happened to me. I signed up for anything art related. Every opportunity I had to draw, I’d do so. I can say it never felt like it was easy to me. Thing I can say is God blessed me with desire to do it. I don’t think I could ever stop, at least while I have the physical/mental ability to perform the act.

I took A.P. art classes in high school in addition to the Art 1, 2, 2, 4. I attended the Fine Arts Center for two years. I had the great honor of attending the Governor’s of Art class of ’83 summer program. My college years consisted of an Associate’s degree in Commercial Art from the Greenville Museum School of Art. Then I transferred to the Atlanta College of Art, studying graphic design with a minor in illustration. I did not complete my Bachelor’s degree, but I did get a professional job semi-related to the field. I was the media specialist for the Greenville Hospital System.


Ever since then, I've just been an artist with a day job. No matter what I have to do I always find time to create something either for someone or myself. I truly believe if never stop creating something, I will come up with an image that will complete my purpose on this earth.

Artwork By Jeff Bryd
William Downs Headshot

W I L L I A M D O W N S is a contemporary American artist residing in Atlanta, Georgia.His varied and includes drawing, painting and printmaking, installation and threedimensional studies. For Downs, "the line" is paradoxically fundamental and surreal, based on its infinite capabilities. His work expresses truth in common forms turned ambiguous, while his use of repetition distorts expectations of truth. Downs' forms form, reform and deform. Downs received a B.F.A in Painting and Printmaking from the Atlanta College of Art and Design and a multidisciplinary M.F.A from the Mount Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art. His awards include Artadia and The Working Artist Project at MOCA GA. His work has been included in nationally touring shows with Art AIDS America, curated by Rock Hushka and Jonathan Katz and in Black Pulp! curated by Mark Thomas Gibson and William Villalongo. His shows include Contemporary Art Museum St. Lous, St. Louis MO, Grizzly Grizzly, Philadelphia, PA, Tempus Projects, Tampa, FL; Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, GA.

Artwork By William Downs

"The images that are on display are a reflection of my basic philosophy of making pictures, rather than taking them. While it is true that my cameras take the image before me, it’s what I do with them that has become the approach I utilize even before the shutter button is pressed. Before capturing an image, I first consider what, I want to do with it in post processing. This approach affords me a greater range of artistic expression over capturing and displaying a, “straight print”. This previsualization of an image as a source to, “work with”, provides me with a wide range of options to consider in reaching my final creative goal. Prior to pressing the shutter button, I’ve already considered whether or not to produce the image in full color, as captured, or convert it to gray scale, as you see in the image Family. This image is also a good example of my use of Creative cropping to create a more powerful final image.

Sometimes an image will, “speak to me” after the fact and demand a different rendering other than color or gray scale. Using tools now available to photographers in this digital age, I am able to utilize artistic renderings to a photograph. Greeting Dance represents the use of this new tool with force.

Artwork by George Ligon

As you view my works you will pick up on other methods in use in my photographic approach to making images. You will notice images that appear to be printed on canvas but are actually printed on metallic paper. Even the choice of medium has become an option at my disposal.

It is difficult enough to capture a great image in and of itself. Years are spent mastering the camera, learning to see and use light and compose the scene before me. All are elements used to take a good picture. But add to these, if you will, the additional forethought, planning and use of new creative tools, and you’ll come away with images you’ll surely be proud of."
-George Ligon , Jr.


George Ligon Headshot

George Ligon began his career some 43 years ago in New York City where his focus was fashion, beauty and commercial photography. He has had the pleasure of photographing numerous models for some of the top agencies in New York, and has work published in several fashion and beauty magazines. He has worked with singers, dancers, actors and other artists. His photographs of recording artist Doug E. Fresh earned him a Gold Record for his work.

George currently resides in Fort Mill, South Carolina where he has become an active member of the arts community. He continues to ripen his photographic skills and images as he shifts his focus to Fine Art photography.

His images have been displayed at numerous galleries throughout the South and in New York City as well. Some of the galleries where his work has been displayed are: The Arts Center of Greenwood (Greenwood, South Carolina), the Mack Arts Counsel (McCormick South Carolina), the Belton Arts Counsel (Belton, South Carolina), the Monsanto Gallery on Lander University's campus, and recently, Agora Gallery in New York City. His most current exhibit was at The Museum of Greenwood, South Carolina where First Encounter: The Wildlife and People of Kenya showed with rave reviews.

John states, “… over the years I’ve painted musicians, my saxophone, heritage cloth, Southern themed subjects and African masks – all a reflection of my love of music, Southern and African American heritage. I've return to these themes multiple times over the years, adding new themes such as my recent paintings of flowers from my garden which combine my love of painting, gardening and the outdoors”.

A native South Carolinian, John Pendarvis’ works include large collages, wax/dye mixed media paintings, encaustic works, serigraphs and textured pieces on multiple types of paper and can-vas. They depict a celebration of life inspired by a love of music, a love of the outdoors and a need for exploration which drives his creativity.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an interest in creating. This began with my mother’s cousin, Wilbur Murray, drawing for us kids on the front porch. As a very young child I would also sit in front of the neighbor’s house, digging up clay to mold into objects. Even before I started to attend school, I was drawing objects found in our home. My art draws on life, loss and the need to capture some of what this journey gives me. I celebrate life with my art and share that with others”.


Artwork by John Pendarvis

With a degree in Mathematics as a base, Pendarvis’ art education was a constant quest to learn. He took evening classes while in high school at the Greenville County Museum of Art, studied with Leo Twiggs at South Carolina State University, attended the Arts Student League in New York City and later was a student of Carl Blair at the Greenville County Museum School of Art.

John’s work has been accepted in national shows, winning best graphics in Spring Mills Art Shows and first place in the Southeast Black Art Competition, North Carolina. Works are in-cluded in the collections of Spartanburg Arts Council, Pickens County Museum of Art, South Carolina State University Museum, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Fluor Corporation, Piedmont Orthopedic Associates, and many private collections across the United States.

John Pendarvis is member of the Metropolitan Arts Council, Greenville Center for Creative Arts and part owner of Artists Guild Gallery of Greenville, Greenville, South Carolina.

John Pendarvis Headshot

Jessica incorporates antique objects into drawings, installations, and digital collages to transform spaces into psychological realms suggestive of ancestry, social narratives and the African Diaspora. In earlier works, objects such as Victorian chairs from her grandmother's living room represented matriarchal presence and cultural constructs. As a result of exploring the broader diasporic identity, the use of digital media, such as visual archives and oral histories, has expanded her work into conversations related to commemoration and global imagination.

The digital collages from the African Countenance/Victorian Ancestry series are based on a quote from American philosopher and arts patron, Alain Locke’s essay titled “The Legacy of the Ancestral Arts” in The New Negro (p. 264):
“All have looked upon the African countenance and discovered a beauty that calls for a distinctive idiom both of color and modeling.”
This ongoing series consists of combining imagery from auction and museum archives to create a collage that represents an imagined world where history is transparent in the representation of and contributions made by people of the African Diaspora.

Artwork by Jessica Scott-Felder

Jessica Scott-Felder is a visual and performance artist from Atlanta, Georgia. She is an Assistant Professor of Studio Art and teaches Drawing, Design, Figure Drawing, Painting, Printmaking and Senior Capstone in the Department of Art and Art History at Wofford College located in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She completed her undergraduate studies in Studio Art from Spelman College, an MFA in Drawing, Painting and Printmaking from Georgia State University and studied experimental printmaking at the Santa Reparata School of Art in Florence, Italy.

Jessica's latest performance art piece, Adornment was featured in the group exhibition "Africa Forecast," at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in Atlanta and also featured in the 2017 edition of the Emergency Index, a nationally distributed performance art catalog. She was the 2017 featured visiting artist at Ithaca College in New York where she presented her artistic research on “BlackMatter”, an installation based on Black Hole physics, American folklore, Afrofuturism and imagination. Her drawings have been featured in nationally and internationally recognized spaces such as the A.I.R Gallery in New York and the Telfair Museum in Savannah, Ga. Her work is featured in private and corporate collections in Spartanburg, Cambridge, the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta and New York. Jessica was awarded a 2017 summer research grant and will develop her latest work at the Vermont Studio Center in Burlington, Virginia.

Jessica Scott-Felder Headshot
Myles Solomon Headshot

The artwork that I create has always been about the things that we cannot see in the people or environment in our daily lives. My artwork tries to capture that one moment that made me at some point in time forget all relevance; and just focus on that image or idea. The work I create is illustrated in a way to show the struggles and issues faced in our day to day journey while also showing beauty in the faces of many.


I am a self-taught artist born in Greenville, South Carolina and graduate of Greenville High School. I studied graphic design at Tennessee State University. I currently attend Full Sail University in Florida, where I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Computer Animation. My art reflects images that appeal to me, things I could stare at for hours. I like using black and white paint, as well as vibrant colors. I started drawing and sketching when I was seven years old and my love for it is endless. In 2015, my interest in painting was birthed. As a young man, my work shows the ideas of the millennial age. The world of art is a journey in which I am developing and growing more and more daily.


Artwork by Myles Solomon

"My work is informed and inspired by photos found on social media. This work was born out of an earlier series where I investigated to loss of a friend. While looking for a way to process grief, I stumbled across an image online of the accident that took her life. The subject matter has changed, but it kick-started an exploration of the events and memories people post online every day. The paintings have also become an investigation of the persona we present online vs. the persona we present in person.

What originally intrigued me was the illusion of time and the unspoken communication, personality and character that is exuded in a captured moment. Outside of clothing, there is no real connection to the time-frame of the depicted events. This project has further evolved into an exploration of the figure in visually textured and layered surfaces."

Artwork by Natasha Giles Somerville

Natasha Somerville is a South Carolina based painter and educator originally from Kentucky. In 2007 she earned a B.F.A. in Painting from Savannah College of Art & Design where she graduated with honors. She completed her M.F.A. in Studio Art at the University of Kentucky in 2011. For 4 years she taught at the University of Kentucky, followed by 2 years at Georgia Gwinnett College. She currently teaches at The South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University and Wofford College. Natasha has exhibited in 23 group and solo shows across 14 states; some of with include New York, Chicago, South Carolina and California. In 2017, Natasha was included in group exhibitions at the Carnegie Center for Art & History (New Albany, IN) and the Morlan Gallery (Transylvania University, Lexington, KY). She also had solo exhibitions with Arts Council of Southeast Missouri, and the Holy Family Gallery (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).

Natasha Giles Somerville Headshot
Winston Wingo Headshot

Winston A. Wingo born and educated in Spartanburg South Carolina. He earned a B.A. from Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC and an M.F.A from Clemson University in Clemson, S.C. Wingo traveled and pursued his post-graduate Studies at the Institute Statue D’Arte in Lucca Italy under Italian sculptor Roberto Bertola and the Luigi Tammasi and the Artistica Mariani Foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy.


As a painter, Sculptor and an art educator Wingo has taught at Claflin University In Orangeburg, SC. He also served as Adjunct art professor at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, SC, the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, SC and at Converse College in Spartanburg, SC. Wingo has taught In the South Carolina Public School system at Hughes Middle School in Greenville, SC, South Carolina Governor’s for the Arts in Greenville SC. In Spartanburg, SC He has taught at L.E Gable Middle School, Carver Jr. High and He presently teaching at Spartanburg High School.


Winston Wingo has exhibited in over 40 one-person exhibitions and participated In over 200 group competitions and invitational exhibitions. Wingo has exhibited his paintings and sculptures throughout United States. His works included in exhibitions in Canada, France and Italy. Selected exhibitions include: Abstract Art in South Carolina 1949-2012 South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, SC; South Carolina Biennial Exhibition 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, SC; Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery in Atlanta, GA; Ward-Nasse Gallery New York; Biennial Exhibition The Mint Museum in Charlotte NC; National Sculpture Competition Clark Art Center in Alma, MI; The Art of Winston A. Wingo The Arthur Rose Museum at Claflin University Orangeburg, SC; Museo’D’Art Moderne Umet, Paris,France; Morin-Miller Gallery in New York; 53rd Annual National Exhibition of American Contemporary Painting Palm Beach, FL; The 4thAnnual National Black Fine Art Show, New York; Fay Gold Gallery in Atlanta, GA; Museo Del Bozzetti in Pietrasanta, Italy; Montreal Art Trader Gallery In Canada; 10th Annual National African-American Art Exhibition in Atlanta,GA; Selected awards.; Who’s Who in American Education; Who’s Who Among American Teachers; The Michael Newton National Coalition of United Arts; Outstanding Young Man of America; Creative Arts Fellowship Italy; Clemson University Architectural Alumni Fellowship; The Presidential Citation Claflin University.


The Curators


John Pendarvis

Thanks to the Spartanburg County Public Libraries System and Miranda Mims Sawyer for the opportunity to co-curator “Black Artists of the Upstate” exhibition. There are so many artists of African American heritage in the Upstate; so many more could have been selected except for time constraints and space limitation. With the multiple things happening during 2020 such as Covid-19, racial tensions, street violence, protests, Black Lives Matter, some may say this exhibition is a reaction to the events of 2020. In some ways it may be, but I say, this exhibition is an opportunity to showcase the creative talents of artists of African heritage across the Upstate. The final show is a surprise because I was not the only curator selecting artists. For my part, I want to present ART first! Artists challenging the bounds of art and the viewer.

Choosing a diverse range of art – paintings, photography, mixed media, digital, young and older artists—shows the viewer exceptional art created by artists of African heritage. I hope all will enjoy the show as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

-John Pendarvis

Jessica Scott-Felder

Co-curating Black Artists of the Upstate was quite a rewarding experience. I had the opportunity to visit artist’s studios and engage in energizing conversations about art, life and current affairs. As a practicing artist and scholar, I see being invited to co-curate Black Artist of the Upstate as the start of a great conversation towards providing continued support, in-person exhibition opportunities and exposure through virtual platforms for Black artists.

The variety of work presented in Black Artists of the Upstate is reflective of the idea that Blackness is not monolithic, but rather a vibrant and diversified experience. As you view the works presented conceptually explore the work to unpack nuanced narratives and perspectives through the use of imagery, materials and media. While being in conversation with other artists it is clear to see that there is overwhelming excitement about Black voices being amplified – I hope that excitement is experienced while viewing Black Artists of the Upstate.

-Jessica Scott-Felder