Weeks before graduating with a masters in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art, Amy Sherald was told her heart was only functioning at 18%. But cardiomyopathy (a rare heart disease) didn’t stop her from painting. So she carried on, painting day and night while she waited tables five days a week to pay for treatment. That is, until a routine stop at Rite Aid for art supplies almost turned deadly. What seemed like an ordinary heart flutter caused Sherald to blackout in the aisle only to wake up in a pool of blood underneath her head. But even as she was rushed to John Hopkins Hospital in an ambulance, she held on to her dream. “I’m not going to be afraid, it’s all going to be okay,” she told herself. Even as her heart dropped to 5% functionality, she wanted to paint. But overcoming the heart transplant wasn’t so easy. Due to physical ailments and the depressing side-effects of the medication, she could not paint for a year. “I told my friends, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ It felt stupid and selfish,” she explained in an interview with the Baltimore Sun. But as the effect of the anti-rejection heart transplant meds lessened, Sherald reconnected herself with her six-year old inner child that dreamed of becoming a painter.

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If this brilliant Detroit photographer never laid eyes on the exhibit of the legendary French photographer Henri Cartier- Bresson, photography as we know it would be much different. Bill Rauhauser is known for his classic black-and-white photographs that captured the significant beauty and simple elegance of Detroit throughout several decades. Prior to seeing Cartier-Bresson exhibit, Rauhauser had no idea that his hobby of taking photographs could turn into a full blown career.

His photographs over the decades depict the simple moments in Detroit life. Whether it is a photo of a woman gazing off to the side as she enjoys a cigarette on an outside Detroit plaza while wearing a lavish peacoat and string of pearls, or a photo of pedestrians walking across a street with their heads intently focused on what’s in front of them as a young boy accompanies them with a balloon in his hand, Rauhauser’s photographs show us that,  as a society, we often don’t notice simple moments the world presents to us.

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The 21st century has marked some of the most heightened technological advancements. Who would have thought that Facebook would lead to quick international communication? Or that the “selfie” would actually become a part of everyday language? Through social media platforms, Instagram and Facebook have created a world of photography for the everyday person. Though unprofessional and mainly edited using filters, people are constantly communicating through the lens of their iPhone, making human connections that exemplify what relationships can become.

For one man, American photographer Steve McCurry, this is exactly what the evolution of photojournalism is about. Born in 1950, McCurry has documented over 30 years of evolving photography, clinging to people-centered art. The connections, the emotions and the words that are silently projected from his work are eloquently depicted in years of travel and experience.

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Her work is complex and has multiple meanings and even some contradictions that hold truth. Her means are peculiar. Rather than a paint brush and a canvas, she uses magazines, pornography and even animal skins to create elaborate collages. Wangechi Mutu’s style is nearly impossible to define. It resembles the work of Pablo Picasso with the way her designs play on abstraction while simultaneously referencing surrealism with her darker themes. Mutu is primarily known for her perspective of women’s bodies, especially African women. She critiques the manner in which society objectifies women by using the very tools that society utilizes to sexualize women in the first place such as magazines and pornography, which are two mediums that are known to objectify women and their bodies.

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The great continent of Africa has given us so much,., from being the birthplace of modern man and the catalyst which shaped civilization, the “Motherlandhas given so much to the world. The latest gem that Africa has bestowed upon us is hyper-realist painter, Babajide Olatunji. Olatunji’s Tribal Mark Series I-V has become a sought after commodity, especially since the world has begun acquiring African artwork by the droves in recent years.

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Once considered an act of vandalism, graffiti is now widely accepted as a form of art. Though the act of graffiti has ancient roots, modern street art began popping up in urban areas during the 1970s as a means of sociopolitical expression. Silenced by the authorities, street artists were punished for their bold, rebellious artwork. Graffitists attempt to reclaim public space with their paintings, capturing the cultural essence of the environment. While some may view this process as menacing or threatening, many have found the artwork compelling and reflective of urban life. For French artist Noe Two, graffiti is not only a form of self expression, but a communal act that has helped him foster relationships with people from  different backgrounds.

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With their elegant, artistic, high-class and couture images, photographers Kahran and Regis Bethencourt are redefining the notion of black magic.

Their images, positive and uplifting, help bridge an important representation gap in the fashion and beauty industries. Specializing in lifestyle photography, they especially enjoy visual storytelling. “We love telling stories,” Kahran said in a Rolling Out Magazine interview. “So we love photographs that allow the viewer to dig deeper into that person’s story and feel the emotion the subject was feeling at that point and time.” Instead of falling prey to society’s typical connotation with blackness, the Bethencourts have used photography to not only create their own artistic magic but to showcase the magic-like characteristics of young black models. Whether focusing on skin color, hair texture, neighborhoods or certain time periods, Kahran and Regis Bethencourt are out to show the word just how beautiful black is.  

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For many people, finding a place that’s peaceful and serene is the goal. They want to live in a place where the fast paced, often chaotic city life is distant. There will probably be a bit of a culture shock that comes with the move depending on how you’ve lived, but for peace of mind it’s worth it. As an artist, sometimes your peace is the best thing for you and it will reflect through your work. Tim Rees is a painter who is originally from Arizona, but found his peace in a unique place.

Rees currently lives outside of the U.S. in Pembrokeshire, which is located in the southwest part of Wales. He dwells inside of a yurt, which are tent like houses traditionally used to house nomads for the convenience of being able to get up and go. Not the most conventional home in 2018, but judging by the way he continued on about his home away from home, you get the sense that he loves it in Pembrokeshire. 

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The term “starving artist” is commonly used amongst artists and others who “struggle” until their big breakthrough, and unfortunately some artist never really get out of the “starving artist” phase. Such ideas have been ingrained into people around the world, and being an artist is not valued on the same level as a doctor or a lawyer. Hayden Dewar, a talented and passionate Melbourne based visual artist had these kind of ideas and assumptions about pursuing a career in the arts. Dewar spent years working in retail and doing commission work on the side, believing that having a career in the arts was not going to be worth it. The advantage that Dewar has now is that he is able to live out his passion and talent.

“I wasn’t really proactive in pursuing it as a career, and I didn’t realize it was possible to make a living from it,” he commented on Melbourne Polytechnic’s student website, where he pursued a Bachelors in Illustration. After spending five years working on a mural for Dimmeys’, one of Australia’s largest and historical retail stores, 150th anniversary Dewar finally realized where his heart lies.

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