BloomBars: imPRINT Art Exhibit

Some months ago, I applied to a call for artists to exhibit artwork at BloomBars in Washington DC. “BloomBars is turning a concept to unite communities through the arts into a model for energizing and inspiring communities to strive for personal and collective progress. Established in 2008 in Washington, DC’s burgeoning Columbia Heights neighborhood.” Its mission is to be “a global network of BloomBars-like spaces that serve as a training ground for a new generation of change agents who believe in the transformational power of art to affect positive growth in the community.” The exhibition is being organized by BloomBars and then non-profit Day Eight through a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to Robert Bettmann. The mission of Day Eight is to empower individuals and communities to participate in the arts through the production, publication, and promotion of creative projects.  Uniquely: none of the artwork is for sale, but at the end of the exhibit all of the artwork will be available for rent for just $5 for four whole months. The exhibit runs April 12th to May 5th, 2018. There will be a preview for the art rental on Saturday May 5th, and the art rental will occur Sunday May 6th. In addition to showing my artwork at BloomBars I wrote an article Adventures in Sharpieland for the online arts magazine Bourgeon.  In the article I share how my adventures with sharpie markers all began, where I get inspiration from, my creative process and what I am working on now. 

Purple Reign

With over 100 million records sold, 7 Grammys, 1 Golden Globe and 1 Academy Award Prince’s career is untouchable! He was an innovative trailblazer, who unashamedly owned his identity and sexuality, always challenging societal gender norms and rules regarding identity.

Prince was not only a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and actor, he was a philanthropist, activist and truth teller. Throwing much shade on issues and people who stood for injustice, bigotry, greed and simply the wrong things.

A home grown Minnesotan who chose to live close to his roots, Prince touched the lives of so many people with his private acts of philanthropy, quiet and almost shy demeanor, flamboyant stage presence, impeccable dress and makeup and his amazing vocal capabilities.

Prince touched generations universally. He blessed this world with everything he had. His earthly presence will be missed, but his spirit lives on forever. For as he once said, ” A strong spirit transcends.” May his soul rest in God’s peace and may we all choose to honor and cherish his life and legacy.

Be unapologetic like Prince, Be YOU!

To order –> Purple Reign

Peace & many blessings,


Under Construction

Life has a way of reminding me that I am always under construction, a work in progress. I am constantly changing and growing, working on projects and giving birth to new creations. But this reality becomes overwhelming at times. I feel like, building the life I want is never-ending and getting there can be so tiresome. It’s as if, once I’ve finished building up one part of my life the way I envision it, I either find something wrong with my creation and embark on reconstructing it or life happens and some part of my creation gets broken and requires fixing.

This week I participated in another RAW artist showcase, in Baltimore, Maryland. I arrived at the venue early , excited to build an amazing display of my artwork and art products. Prior to the show I sent the show’s producer pictures of my last display and requests for the necessary things to recreate that display. The producer assured that everything I asked for was available and would be waiting for me on the day of the show.

Once at the venue while constructing my display I found out that I did not get anything I requested to create what I had envisioned. Disappointed and discouraged I felt like packing up and going home.

Finding out what I needed for the show wasn't there!

Finding out what I needed for the show wasn’t there!

Sensing my emotions my wife and love-of-my-life, sprang into action helping me reconsider the space I was allotted and she began creating a display out of the things we had at our disposal. Pulling tables together, hanging products on balcony railings and leaning my artwork up against the table. We did what we could, with what we had.

Table display and art work

Table display and leaning art work

But it did not end there, half an hour before show time, the show producer announced that the grid walls we were promised had finally arrived. We rolled up our sleeves, put out heads together and worked with other artists around us to get show ready. As a united community, we retrieved the grid walls, constructed them with zip ties, put up artwork, t-shirts and bags on the new construction and re-arranged furniture to get the grid walls to fit near our display tables. All done in under thirty minutes! As my wife would say, “Teamwork makes the dream work!”


Clients came pouring into the venue and stopping by to check out what I had to offer. Conversations were struck, purchases were made, pictures were taken and things were moving pretty smoothly. Then, the sun began to set and darkness enshrouded us all! The show’s producer did not setup power chords for us to have electricity to run lights on our displays. I felt my shoulders tense up and my mind began racing … How do I solve this new problem?

My wife found the show producer, and told her about our newest problem. The show producer returned with a rubbermaid container full of extension cords, light bulbs, tape and power strips. She dropped the box and off she went! My love sprang back into action to lay power cords in and around several of the displays. She single handedly setup these cords for me and several other artists to have electricity to light up our displays. She truly is my sunshine! Once lit, back to connecting with visitors, selling products, and sharing my art with the world.

That evening, I learned that it’s okay to be under construction, life still goes on around the building and rebuilding. I am grateful to God for my wife who co-creates and builds with me, springing into action when situations seem discouraging and hopeless! She helped me build an awesome display that night, and she’s always helping me build an amazing life with her. Thanks love for being you and co-creating my visions into our reality.

We build amazing things together.

We build amazing things together.

Be creative, Be patient, Be You!

2015 RAW’s Artist Holiday RawK


Attending art shows is hard work! Being successful at any show begins weeks before the actual event. On December 16, 2015 I was one of several artists and artisans featured at RAW DC’s holiday art show case held at the legendary Howard Theatre in Washington DC.

RAW DC is a chapter of Raw Artists, a non-profit organization who’s mission is “to provide independent artists within the first 10 years of their creative career with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity. RAW ventures to provide the platform for these artists to be seen, heard, and loved” (Visit Raw here —> Raw Artists)

RAW showcases more than just visual artists like myself, they include indie talent in film, fashion design, music, performance art, hair and makeup artistry, and photography. It is an awesome platform for any creative to share their talent with their local community and the world. “RAW currently operates in over 60 cities across the United States, Australia, Canada and the UK!”

The planning and preparation for a successful art show includes printing, framing, purchasing, and packaging products for sale and transportation. Also, securing the necessary tools to display the art and art products effectively; tools like grid hooks, lighting, zip ties, photo stands, easels etc. To make a great presentation I plan out my display to maximize the space allotted at the show, without overwhelming viewers with my art. I try to create an aesthetically pleasing presentation with some information about who I am, the names of my art pieces and prices of all my products. However, my presentation also encourages visitors to ask me questions.

So, weeks before the show I am printing, framing, purchasing and packaging. I pack my car the night before and on the day of the show, I get there about four hours prior to doors opening and begin setting up my display. I think I’ve got this part of the show down to a science, it took me, alone, about an hour and a half to get fully setup. Then I rush home to get dressed, and my partner and I return to the venue before showtime.

When doors open the hardest part begins. Contrary to popular belief I’m an introvert, most creatives are. Engaging visitors, taking pictures, and meeting new artists takes the most energy out of me, but it’s also the most rewarding part of the show. I love meeting new people, hearing their stories and their questions about my art and this part of the show gives me inspiration for new art. At closing time, visitors began to leave, my partner and I broke everything down, packed up our car and headed home for some much needed rest!

All photographs taken by kidmixphotograpy.

Be persistent, Be consistent, Be You!

A Long Hiatus.

My blog has been dormant since December 2014. Some may call it bad business, and others may say its a no-no for blogging, but I call it a much needed hiatus. I made the decision to put my blog on pause because I felt pressured to create content, I didn’t really know what to write about, and I just had way too many other things going on in my life. And though my endeavor to blog about my art stopped, creating art never did.

On May 16, 2015, I graduated from Loyola University Maryland with my Master of Arts in Spiritual and Pastoral Care. My journey at Loyola culminated with a 110 page, professional seminar research paper entitled “African American Churches and Non-heterosexuality: Creating positive pyscho-social and spiritual responses toward non-heterosexual African American men and women.”

In a nutshell my professional seminar paper focused on how conservative African American churches respond to congregants who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ), gave an integrated analysis of those responses, and offered ways these churches can holistically support the psychosocial and spiritual lives of African American congregants who are LGBTQ. Finally, my paper identified several rationales why conservative Black churches should contemplate changing these not so positive responses to the African American LGBTQ community and lists several resources to achieve change. My paper also premiered several pieces of my artwork, some old but most of them were created specifically for my paper.

To hail my return from a much needed hiatus, here are some pictures from graduation.

Be Renewed, Be Relaxed, Be Released, Be YOU.

The Greatest of These

Growing up I got mixed messages about love. These messages were both good and bad, and probably true and false. Messages like, love is painful or unconditional, love conquers all, love others and they will love you, love makes dreams come true, love lasts forever, and love is all you need.

Over the years my art has taught me some different things about love. The most significant things are that love is intentional, and it requires practice, patience and commitment. When I first began drawing twelve years ago, drawing was a pastime. It took me 6 years to begin drawing pieces for other people, and another 5 years to start my business. Looking back, creating art for other people and starting my business took as long as it did, because I was not intentional about doing art. Drawing was purely a hobby. Creating art for others and running a business did not become reality, until I made the decision that I wanted to make my art available and affordable to the world.

What I am doing with art involves practice, patience and commitment. However, the more time and energy I pour into it, the more I fall in love with it. So remember this,

Loving involves commitment. We are not automatic lovers of self, others, world, [things] or God. Love does not just happen. We are not love machines, puppets on the strings of a deity called ‘love’. Love is a choice – not simply, or necessarily, a rational choice, but rather a willingness to be present to others [things or situations] without pretense or guile.

Let the Masterpiece Begin…

This summer, a friend asked me to create a drawing that would represent two lives coming together in holy matrimony. My friend shared a few stories about the bride and groom, and with confidence, gave me his blessing to unleash my creative skills, even withholding his input until the final product. However, while I was flattered by his vote of confidence, I decided to routinely send him pictures as I progressed with the project just to ensure that what I envisioned accurately depicted the couple, and his desire to celebrate their wedding. A few days later, after six hours of couch surfing with sharpie markers, pencils and a sketchpad I completed stage one, and much to my friend’s content.

The second stage of my creative process is determining the color palette. This is as intricate a process as stage one. Each color is painstakingly selected to have meaning in order to convey a message. In my artwork, I weave intricate patterns that slightly obscure the main images. The colors I select for these patterns support and contrast these main images to create a type of “harmonious obscurity,” this obscurity is the balance between visibility and invisibility of the main images within the patterns. My hope is always that the end result produces a work-of-art that is not just original and creative, but communicative and valuable to any observer.

In Model Heat, there is a lotus flower near the bottom center of the piece. I used this symbol of good fortune and faithfulness to represent the couple’s hearts being bound together. The primary colors surrounding the lotus are alternating shades of blue. These blue hues illustrate water, and water is universally considered a symbol of change and turning points. Water is also often referred to as the sustainer of life. The elephant, to the far left of the piece, is symbolic of the Hindu image Ganesha and is there as a marital blessing for removing all obstacles the couple may encounter together. The colors and decorative patterns used in the elephant are symbolic of how elephants are ornately adorned for festive occasions in India. These elements were all carefully selected to tell the couples story, but also to invite any viewer to create their own interpretation of my work, revealing a story that comes alive for the viewer. Contemporary fine art is part of ministry to me; a ministry that involves using my creative abilities to draw images, weave patterns and use brilliant colors to invite people into thought, conversation, and action.

Whether consciously or subconsciously artists, and all people create. We create art, and many other things that give deeper meaning to life. What do you create? And what do your creations convey? I am optimistic 🙂 that this sneak peak into my creative process will inspire you to look for meaning in art and in your own creations.

This blog post is the first of many to come. I hope you will journey with me as I continue to Listen for inspiration, enVision beauty and make affordable art. I welcome feedback and will be happy to address any topic or question you propose.

Be radiant. Be creative. Be YOU. 


Hi, I am Andrea Noel, and welcome to Listen Vision Gallery! This blog will post news about my art, vision, and upcoming projects. Stay tuned!

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