2018-2019 Soul Shot Portraits
A note from laura madeleine (Curator & Director)
This catalog chronicles the Second Annual Souls Shot: Portraits of Victims of Gun Violence. Sadly, the exhibition represents only a small fraction of those effected by the epidemic of gun violence.
The artists participating in this project were randomly paired with the families and friends of victims, or, in some cases, artists already had personal connections with victims. The artists set out to illuminate the lives of these victims. The varied approaches and mediums used by the artists is a fitting testament to the unique qualities of each of the souls portrayed.
Families of the victims constantly face questions and comments about their loved ones, mostly about the circumstances of the gun violence. We seek to focus on the lives that were lived before that split second, unacceptable, bad decision was made by the shooter. These people did not deserve the consequences of that devastating choice. These people were - and are - more than numbers.
This catalog represents the commitment of all involved in the Souls Shot portrait project. We will continue to bring to the public intimate glimpses into the lives cut short by gun violence; to raise awareness of the terrible cost to our communities; to touch hearts and minds.
On behalf of all those who participated in creating this exhibition, we hope you will be moved by the images and that you will get to know the depth of these unique human beings; our fellow souls.
The Beauty of form and the joy of color and light are elements Marie Bender aims to highlight in her work. Although the majority of her artwork is focused on still life, she captures a wide array of stunning landscapes and portraits.
With an immense passion for art, Marie began drawing and painting at an early age using the natural landscape that surrounded her family’s home in a rustic suburb of Philadelphia.
She attended Tyler School of Art at Temple University where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and continued to refine and share her artistic talent through advanced classes and various workshops. Marie also studied artistic anatomy for two years at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. One of seven children, Marie often used her siblings and surroundings as subjects, quickly learning the benefits of artistic and client collaboration. She established a weekly artist’s circle where artists come together to work with a live model and share insights, techniques, ideas and inspiration.
Trained to work in various mediums, including egg tempera and gouache, Marie now works predominantly in oils.
Joe Brenman graduated from The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1978. His sculptures are in many private collections and have been exhibited in numerous one man and group shows. He is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and two Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation grants. His public work includes mosaics for Septa’s Church Street El stop, Bar Ferdinand, Al Aqsa Islamic Society, Germantown Jewish Center in Philadelphia and St. Joesph’s Church, Spring City, PA. Internationally his commissions include the Stations of the Cross in Los Anonas, El Salvador and a large-scale marble sculpture in Phu Tho Province in Vietnam. Joe resides with his wife, poet Caren Lee Brenman in the Old Kensington section of Philadelphia.
Born in 1967, Michelle Brown grew up in Stonington Connecticut. Brown was born with a natural Artistic talent. Growing up in the beautiful seaside village, Brown was inspired by her views of Long Island Sound and the horse farms that surrounded her home. Her childhood love of nature is a reoccurring theme throughout her work. Browns use of vivid color and pattern were inspired by Matisse, Frida Kahlo and the folk art of tribal people around the world.
Browns work takes on tough issues like a journal of self awareness and of the deep emotions of Love and Hate, and all those in between. The liveliness of color represents the Love, and passion that Brown has for life and her joy of being a creator, an artist, but hidden sometimes in plain view is a much darker side, that is the reality that life is also often filled with pain and hate.
Brown deals with tough issues in her work such as, racism, abandonment, molestation, depression and death. Browns work can capture an emotion in the shape of a swaying palm leaf or in the tilting of a tea cup on the verge of falling over. Brown says Art saved her life growing up with a schizophrenic mother. She learned to use her art and creativity as a positive way to express herself. Brown used art as therapy, a best friend to turn to when there was know where to go. Brown developed a detailed imagination that took her to far away places and helped her to create the world she wanted.
Brown lives and works out of her Philadelphia home. She is a single mother of two, her daughter Aja 27 and her son Indigo16. At the age of 13 Brown decided she would become a professional artist and designer after meeting the mother of a childhood friend. Brown remembers the excitement she felt when she walked into her home studio, All the beautifully colored and arranged spools of thread, fabric and paints organized on shelves paired with the newly discovered reality that she worked from home surrounded by her children and animals. So she followed that childhood friend to Philadelphia to attend Moore College of Art for a brief while.
Brown was at Moore College of Art just long enough to create her own business with her already well developed style. Brown began quickly to sell her work at well-established galleries across the country.
In 1996 Brown opened her own gallery in Chestnut Hill called Mellon Head which received much controversy for it’s brightly painted exterior. This story was featured in a two full page article describing the racial and minority tension in the upscale Waspy community. Brown was then labeled a “Controversial Artist” for her bold stance against racial discrimination.
Brown continues to create full time developing her work in many directions of interest. Her new adventures are in creating instillations and developing her line of sustainable fashion.
Beth Carson is a mother, grandmother, designer and artist. Working mostly in oil, she is inspired by the everyday moments in life. Her goal is to capture those moments that might otherwise be considered too "normal" to otherwise be remembered. Her work can be viewed at www.bethcarsondesign.com or on instagram @bethcarsondesign.
Philadelphia Police Officer and Forensic Composite Artist.
Jennifer Coburn studied painting at Cornell University and the University of Texas-San Antonio, as well as having studied Asian art and culture at Cornell and in Japan. Her work has been shown in exhibits in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, PA; Wilmington, DE; Knoxville, TN; and San Antonio, TX and is in private collections in California, Oregon, New York, and Pennsylvania. The portrait for Souls Shot: Portraits of Victims of Gun Violence represents a figurative extension of her painting style that is inspired by themes of connection through color, movement, and light. Coburn found the experience of transmitting her subject’s (Daronn’s) inner light through the paint to be aligned with her body of non-figurative paintings. In both types of art, she is interested in capturing a moment of inner truth, connection between heaven and earth, and wholeness.
Karen Schectman Cole
Philadelphia artist Karen Shechtman Cole, has explored and exhibited a wide range of media in the last 40+ years. She graduated from Tyler School of Art, of Temple University as a painting and art education major and has since taken numerous workshops. Her work has been exhibited at the Snyderman-Works Gallery, the Woodmere Art Museum, Wayne Art Center, University of the Arts and other venues. Karen has written articles for publications including, Somerset Studio, Art Journaling , Artful Blogging, Belle Armoire Jewelry and Artists Cafe magazines. She is a featured artist the books Creative Wildfire, by L.K. Ludwig and The Pulse Of Mixed Media , by Seth Apter. This is her second piece for the Souls Shot exhibition.
Lisa Domenic is a former emergency room nurse and artist living in Philadelphia with her family. The Souls Shot Portrait Project integrated both painting the portrait of long-time friend and trauma patient John Marynowitz. She began painting in 2011 after a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, and believes life’s setbacks can either hold us in place or push us forward. Lisa has a passion for giving shape and voice to those moments and uses the medium of oil paint for its adaptability and forgiving nature. She is a member of Cheltenham Art Center, exhibits locally and studied with noted artists Paul Kane, Joseph Sweeney, and Ty Hodanish. . She is also part of Temple Allied Health Alumni. She graduated with a BSN in 1992.
Marge Feldman is a formally schooled professional artist who has been taking classes, since age 12, from the former Museum School of Philadelphia, Moore Institute, Syracuse University (BFA), Maryland Institute College of Art, and Towson University (Art Teaching Certificate).
Ms. Feldman has lived in seven different states and traveled extensively in North America and on 5 other continents. This rich experience is reflected in her work.
She has taught in public and private schools K-12, at the Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers, and at the Tyme Gallery in Havertown, PA. She has exhibited extensively in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland in juried and group shows as well as invitational and solo exhibits. She founded Women Artists’ Forum (100+ members) in Baltimore and, among other initiatives, established a gallery for them at Carroll Museums, Inc., in downtown Baltimore.
She is actively creating surrealscapes to describe the contradictions of the universe that exist perplexingly and simultaneously, e.g., heaven and earth, invention and nature. Currently she intertwines the mechanical, technical and natural spheres by taking photographs, editing the color and surface of them in her computer and then painting from the transformed photos and applying her artistic interpretation of the photos to her canvas. Her preferred medium is acrylic.
She is now a member of ARTsisters, a group of professional women artists who empower each other and their community through their art, as well as the Main Line Art Center and Philadelphia/Tri-State Artists Equity. She teaches painting and drawing at the Pinecrest Community Center in Miami.
Ann Price Hartzell
My earliest memories are of my grandmother’s studio, in the cupola of an old home on Gowan Avenue. She was an illustrator of children’s books in the early 1900’s. Her artistic vision has been with me, as long as I can remember. I have dabbled in art all my life. I have always loved anything creative. Starting with a degree in Fine and Applied Arts that focused on vocal music. I later returned to school for a degree in Fashion Design. My designs won many awards including the experience of showing my Collection at “7th on Sixth” New York Fashion Week Runway Shows. Operating my own apparel business and creating Art to Wear, one-of-a-kind women’s accessories and wraps, has been my passion for many years. As a freelancer, I designed women’s shoes, Christmas and holiday decor, custom wedding gowns and outerwear. I began creating parasols after spending time rebuilding in St Bernard Parish, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Now, I design unique handsewn and painted parasols. Last year, I became involved with Souls Shot Portraits of Victims of Gun Violence. I had never done a portrait before - outside of art school. Charles is my third portrait for the project. The experience of working with and getting to know theses families has changed my life and my perceptive.
designAnn www.designAnn.etsy.com Sole proprietor/designer
● Designer Jack Sprat Shoes
● Designer Starry Night Collection by Cassiday Collections NYC
● Featured artist/working member The Gallery at Cedar Hollow
● Artist and coordinator Old Forge Crossing Crafts at the Clubhouse
● Craft Show Circuit Artrider, Sugarloaf and Pa Guild of Craftsmen
● Artist and coordinator Salem County NJ Studio Tour Arts in Bloom
● Artist Scarecrow Walk and Insider Art Show Morris Arboretum
Education and community; Fashion Design Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science Small Business Program Women’s Opportunity Resource Center Display and Marketing WXPN’s Public Radio Annual Charity Auction Philadelphia Beacon - Rebuilding New Orleans St Bernard Project Chalmette, La Volunteer University of Pennsylvania Morris Arboretum Ann Hartzell Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19118 firstname.lastname@example.org
Corinne Holloway is a teaching artist from Texas who divides her efforts between portraits and abstract art. She earned her BFA from West Texas A&M University in Studio Art. Holloway uses her art to explore metaphysical concepts ranging from the intrinsic value of the individual to the problem of pain from a catholic-reformed Christian perspective. In her paintings and drawings, she often juxtaposes the beautiful with the grotesque, and the sorrowful with the joyful in order to show the truth of our world in both its created glory and fallen mess. Currently, Holloway lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband, daughter, and their Yellow Lab, Ajax. See her work at www.CorinneHollowayArt.com
Melissa L. Joseph
Melissa Joseph is a Philadelphia-based artist and educator. Her art is an attempted social practice dedicated to mending and healing some of the seemingly persistent failures of civic and social infrastructure. She is interested in connecting people through shared memories and experiences. Her work has been shown in the PAFA Museum, The Woodmere Art Museum, Rider University, and featured in the 2018 Boston Pride Guide.
Warren Keyser is a painter living and making art in and around New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He received classical training at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and a BFA from the University of Pennsylvania. Warren has been painting and drawing since the age of 13.
Anna Kocher received her BA in Fine Art in 2002, after time spent studying art at Temple and in Orvieto, Italy. Since that time she has done work for commission and exhibited in galleries, churches, schools and other venues. Throughout her career as an artist she has had the privilege of organizing projects and exhibits in churches, schools and prisons. She lives with her husband and three children in the Greater Philadelphia area.
Jacqueline Lewis founded the World Gratitude Map and is the author of Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone. Her painting and writing focus on resilience, grace, kindness, triumph and possibility. Because the stories we tell create the people we become.
Comments: John Tillar was beloved, kind and charismatic. His death on June 6, 1994 left an unspeakable void. He was 25. This painting is dedicated to Miss Brenda, Angela, and the many others who loved John. May his warmth shine on them forever.
Laura’s main focus has become the Souls Shot portrait project. She serves as director and curator. It is a full time effort and the hope is, aside from the hope it will no longer be needed, is that it will spread to other cities and communities. Laura remains, also, a fine artist working in painted batik technique on silk. She was represented by the venerable Rosenfeld Gallery and now shows in various venues in Philadelphia and elsewhere. She has received many awards for her work over the years from Woodmere Art Museum, and many more institutions. Her series of batik paintings paired with ekphrastic poems called Waxing Poetic inspired the original song cycle In This Blue Room composed by Kile Smith and performed by Lyric Fest. She is a former designer and art director, receiving awards from Print , AIGA, and the Art Directors’ Club. She worked for several years as an illustrated map designer for the National Geographic Society. She teaches children and adults, when asked, and participates in outreach programs. Her finest creations are Claire, Charles, and Cole Pritchard. To view more of her work, go to laurabatik.com.
Helen Mangelsdorf trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Shortly after completing her studies there she completed a work entitled ‘Rape Piece’ which contained the portraits of all the members of her Rape Victims support group with shadow boxes referring to each woman’s rape experience. The work was included in an exhibit called, ‘Rape’, which originated at Ohio State University and was shown throughout the US. This is her first return to that work which confronted viewers with real people and real stories of those who have experienced violence in their lives.
Nathalie Miller is an artist, living in Mt. Airy, Philadelphia. Utilizing mixed media, she works to make art that focuses on current affairs and individuals' relationship to the world.
After many years, I rediscovered my love of painting, especially portraits. I enjoy trying to capture people’s energy and personality in paintings. I do not have an art philosophy. Art is in the eye of the beholder.
Rachel Reinfurt has been working and living in Philadelphia since she graduated with a BFA from University of the Arts in 2004. She is a painter and illustrator whose work has been in numerous solo and group gallery shows both locally and on the west coast. She has been featured in several publications including Drawing Inspiration: Visual Artists at Work. She also works as a stained glass artisan for Beyer Studio, one of the country’s leading stained glass companies where she designs and paints windows that have been installed across the nation.
Karen Ruggles is an assistant professor at DeSales University specializing in digital art and 3D animation. She works in digital media.
Monique Sarkessian earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting at Tyler School of Art. Since 1984, Monique’s work has been shown and honored with awards at numerous exhibitions across the US including 2 museums and several universities. She also has also painted and exhibited in France and Italy. She has painted in many plein air events and competitions.
Her work is featured in Art Up Close shown at Art Basel, Miami, Art Expo NY, Spectrum Miami, Art Monaco, Architectural Digest fairs and in publications Art in America Guide 2016-17 and Art Up Close World Edition 2015-17.
Monique Sarkessian creates oil, mixed media and encaustic wax paintings and salvaged sculptures. By applying abstraction, Sarkessian creates intense personal moments masterfully created by means of rules and omissions, acceptance and refusal, luring the viewer on a journey between two worlds, the temporal and the spiritual.
Her paintings radiate a visual feast. At times, disconcerting beauty emerges. The inherent visual seductiveness, along with the conciseness of the exhibitions, further complicates the reception of their manifold layers of meaning. By contesting the division between the realm of memory and the realm of experience, she absorbs the tradition of remembrance art into daily practice. This personal follow-up and revival of a past tradition performs an act of meditation.
Monique’s mission is to show us though her paintings why we should appreciate our existence, enjoy the beautiful nature around us, understand the glory and importance of what we have, our families and friends and the mercy of God and His various gifts of love and humanity. There messages of eternal love, heavenly glory, relation to nature and its creatures can be found in Monique’s works. After looking at her paintings, we can close our eyes and still see the dazzling colors and images, hear a soft and mysterious music in our ear, as if her brush is moving on the canvas slowly and gracefully, celebrating life!We are limited in our human understanding and seeing beyond the frontmost form into the essence is what she does best.
Monique Sarkessian currently lives and works in Chester County with her studio in Spring City Mill Studios.
Austin Crenshaw Shelley
The Rev. Austin Crenshaw Shelley is an associate minister of The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia. Before attending seminary, Austin taught visual art to middle and high school students in South Carolina public schools. She has four children who inspire her to fight for an end to end gun violence.
B. Douglas Smith
B Douglas Smith is a modern artist and Army veteran living and working in South Philadelphia. For the past 15 years he has exhibited abstract expressionist, pop, and urban art influenced paintings in his home city, NYC, NJ, and parts of Germany and Italy. He loves sharing and interpreting art, having put hundreds of paintings and sculptures into private collections. Highlights include three sculptures accepted into the Philadelphia Sculptors Juried Exhibition: Pinned, an abstract video projected at the MOMA for Abstract Currents, and most recently touring his painting of M. John Miller in the first annual "Souls Shot: Portraits Of Victims Of Gun Violence" throughout the Philadelphia area.
Aside from creating art, He has also curated over 100 group art shows and helped develop the Washington Boro Artwalk in northern NJ. His passion for art is born from a love of color and a need to connect with our human family deeper than on the surface of life. Art is love in action and his work is intended to foster conversation, inspire unity, spark personal reflection, and invite criticism of techniques and beliefs . His process is very meditative, usually focused on the moment and enjoying the act of painting. This allows him to be free to explore a fleeting creative space and experiment with multiple techniques in mixed media.
He enjoys creating custom work for homes and businesses as well as designing for bands. Please feel free to reach out to him to discuss commissions, to visit his studio, or purchase a Painter Bry original.
I have been painting for 20+ years, I have my BA in Studio Arts and Black Studies from The University of Pittsburgh (1990). I also have a Masters of Art Education from Temple University (1997). In addition to my educational background I have worked previously as a composite sketch artist and have exhibited in several galleries across Pennsylvania. My main concentration is oil painting.
Lauren Vargas is a Philadelphia-based painter whose work focuses on the stories communicated through portraiture and urban landscapes. Working as both a painter and educator, Lauren lives in the North Philadelphia community of Hunting Park. She cares about justice and equality, especially for making space for voices that are not heard and representing her community in a positive light. She is interested in making art available, of interest to, and a means for gaining power for marginalized people. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Fine Arts in 2005. Lauren has received two Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grants for artistic projects that impact social change in 2015 and 2016. She has recently shown work at the Philadelphia Sketch Club, Orange Korner Arts, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, CFEVA, and the 3rd Street Gallery. This is her second year participating in the Souls Shot project.
Raised in West Philadelphia, Keisha Whatley is a Philadelphia artist who graduated from the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. At a very young age, Keisha excelled at the drawing and painting discipline and went on to study at Parsons School of Design (NY), The School of Visual Arts (NY) and The Art Institute of Philadelphia (PA). Using her creativity as the main ingredient, her work aims to create something aesthetically beautiful while challenging viewers to question beliefs, inherent biases and the need for compassion in everyday life. She started Custom Arts Studio, LLC, a full service visual arts business, in 2014.
“I am going to make everything around me beautiful; that will be my life.” This quote, by Elise de Wolfe, resonates with Keisha on a very visceral level. When thinking about her work and the various forms it takes, this quote expresses her life’s mission- to make everything around her beautiful. She has expressed this mission through her visual arts work, art workshops for youth as well as arts & empowerment events for other creatives.
The Culture Portrait style, blending surrealism, traditional portraiture and research, is a Custom Arts Studio signature story-telling technique. Culture Portraits invite the viewer into a visual dialogue of discovery. Depending on canvas size, desired level of storytelling and required research, Culture Portraits take anywhere from 30 to 75+ hours to complete.
Her work can be seen at The Black Writers Museum and The Colored Girls Museum, both in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Her work has also been exhibited at The Barnes Foundation Museum on the Ben Franklin Parkway.
Greg Woodring is trained as an architect and businessman. He has provided professional design and research services to a variety of universities, corporations, banks, labor unions, the Comm. of Pennsylvania (as a state official and professionally) and individuals in need of designs. He has degrees from La Salle Univ., Univ. of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon Univ. He has taught at the Art Institute of Phila., and Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. He was the swimming coach for the Montgomery County Special Olympics branch.