Archive for the 'Artists' Category

Amy Sherald – HelpHOPELive

Before I moved to B-more, I searched for artists to reach out to. I came across Amy Sherald’s work and was immediately in love. I harassed her via facebook and e-mail and once I moved, we became friends. One year and counting! Not only is she an amazing painter, she is also an amazing person.

‘Grand Dame Queenie’
On view: Baltimore, MD | Gallery Myrtis

“They Call Me Redbone, But I’d Rather Be Strawberry Shortcake” (Collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Steven Scott)

Nine years ago, Amy was diagnosed with congestive heart failure while training for a triathlon. Despite taking meticulous care of her health Amy’s heart has weakened and she is now in urgent need of a life-saving heart transplant. Currently she is in the cardiac care unit at Johns Hopkins and will stay there until she receives her new heart.

Although Amy has health insurance, there will be many expenses related to the transplant that must be paid out of pocket. Some of these are co-pays, deductibles, and Amy will be on a life-time of expensive anti-rejection medications. Her friends and family have set up a public fund through HelpHOPELive

Thanksgiving 2012

December and holding

On December 7, 2012, Amy’s younger brother, Michael ended his battle with lung cancer after a long two year fight. He was in good health and was not a smoker prior to his diagnosis.

Michael Sherald
April 13, 1976-December 7, 2012

Please help Amy in her time of need. ANY amount that you can spare will be greatly appreciated. You can also help by sharing this with others who may be willing to help. Thank you~

To help alleviate the financial burden of transplantation, a fundraising campaign in Amy’s honor has been established with HelpHOPELive, a nonprofit organization that has been assisting the transplant community for 30 years. All donations are tax-deductible, held by HelpHOPELive in the Mid-Atlantic Heart Transplant Fund, and administered by HelpHOPELive for transplant-related expenses only. Please consider making an end of year contribution today.
Make checks payable to:
Note in memo section:
In honor of Amy Sherald     
Please send to:
2 Radnor Corporate Center
100 Matsonford Road, Suite 100
Radnor, PA 19087
You can also donate electronically at:

Kingsland Printing and Nadirah Iman Films

Kudos to two of my SU friends for this collaboration! Sara Gates, owner of Kingsland Printing in Brooklyn, NY, shares her work and love of the craft with film maker, Nadirah Iman. At Syracuse I knew Sara as a painter. We met in our foundation year and remained friends throughout. When I moved to NY in 2003, she and I reconnected and then later we found we lived in the same neighborhood in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where her studio is located. Nadirah and I met through Sara and have been close friends ever since. Nadirah and I began as graphic designers at SU and from there she studied animation at SVA and then earned her M.F.A. in film making at SCAD. Nadirah is also the editor and producer of two of my book trailers, BIRD and OCCS.

Live the dream, ladies!

Leo Dillon 1933-2012

My heart goes out to the children’s book world today as we say goodbye to one of the most beloved and respected illustrators of our time. I only met Leo a few times in NY, but it was enough to share a hearty laugh and let him know how much he and his wife’s work meant to me…to all of us. Condolences to his wife and illustration partner, Diane, and their son as they say goodbye. Let’s raise our pencils in tribute. To all of his friends and longtime colleagues, I am so sorry for your loss.

Rollin’ with the homies

Last week was senior portfolio week at MICA. By a strange stroke of luck, four of my SVA homies all ended up at MICA to participate. Though we didn’t get to see each other at once, it was great getting hugs and catching up with everyone in small groups. Taeeun, Lauren (MICA graduate), and Nora reviewed portfolios and “The Bean” spoke to my advanced book illustration class. Here are a few pics…

Lauren and Tae spelling "hi" for the camera

We girls had a great time catching up over desert at Cafe Hon. I will spare you the sordid details of our little slumber party. When picturebook artists get together, there’s no telling what will happen! I’m still scraping paint off my ceiling ;-)

Tae giving advice to Hannah (

After saying farewell to Lauren I ushered Tae over to MICA for a day of portfolio reviews with our seniors. Tae is seen with Hannah Trieb here, you can see more of her work at Hannah has also been my teaching assistant this semester for advanced book illustration. Here is one of her thesis pieces:

from "The Anti-Love Potion", written and illustrated by Hannah Trieb

After a day of portfolio reviews, we picked up Jonathan Bean. On Thursday, Jonathan spoke with my advanced book illustration class about his work as a college student, why he chose graduate school, his evolved style, and how he got published. It was so good to re-live those days at SVA and to see years of hard work pay off so greatly.

Jonathan guiding us down publication lane

we are all wowed

My lucky students had a chance to have their work seen and reviewed by Jonathan after his presentation. In the meantime, I had to sneak away for about twenty minutes to visit with Deerwood Elementary via Skype in my office (I had completely forgotten about the appointment). Thanks to the Auburn Avenue Research Library, and the Ashley Bryan Traveling Exhibition, my work is still traveling throughout schools in Georgia. Since I can’t be in Atlanta to visit with each school alongside the work, Skype is as close to cloning myself as I can get.

the "giant head" visit with Deerwood Elementary

When I ran back downstairs (literally), Jonathan was in the middle of talking with students about their work. My independent study also had a chance to share the book that she has been illustrating all year. Having him and Tae join my class was such a treat. Nora Krug reviewed senior portfolios that day as well. We weren’t able to hang out with her, but we did sneak upstairs to say hi.

"The Bean" sharing his wisdom


after a beautiful lunch at the Ambassador

Sadly, our week had to come to a close. It was a whirlwind adventure and I am looking forward to seeing everyone again very soon. Thanks to all of my homies for supporting the students at MICA and thanks to MICA for supporting the homies. For those of you who are interested in sharing your work with the MICA community, feel free to e-mail me at sstrickland at mica dot edu. Congratulations to the graduating class of 2012!!!

African American Chidren’s Book Festival Recap

Last Saturday was the African American Children’s Book Festival created and organized by Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambatti. It was a huge event with a fantastic turn out. This year veteran superstar picturebook makers, Jerry Pinkney and Walter Dean Myers were in attendance. I sat in between Floyd Cooper and Jerry Pinkney and was able to get a little overflow book business because of it. I tell you what, sitting next to Jerry Pinkney during a book fair is a sure way to gauge your own work, and from the look of his line in relation to mine, I need to step my game up! lol

Jerry Pinkney and Me

“Shadra, you sound like a bit of a hater”. No, not at all. Jerry is one of the nicest and hardest working illustrators I know, and one of my favorites (aka, I have admired and respected him since I was in college). His work is so well loved because it is full of love and discipline. Talking to him during the day only reminded me of my own responsibility to art making and what I should be putting into the work.

On the other side of me was Floyd Cooper, who is another one of my favorite illustrators and probably one of the funniest I have talked to. We talked shop most of the day and shared tips and trade secrets. What a great afternoon. Last but not least, I bought a copy of Marilyn Nelson’s “Beautiful Ballerina” for a friend. For those of you who have beautiful ballerinas in your lives, this book is a must have.

Marilyn Nelson and Walter Dean Myers (hiding behind her)

See you again next year!

Traveling Art & Material Girls

Wow, it’s been a minute since I’ve blogged, but I’ve been busy, busy, busy. WHITE WATER debuts in 3 days! I’ve been working on a promotional material for that, including a shiny new trailer for my youtube channel (coming soon) ;-). School starts in a week and I’ve been obsessing over my syllabi, meeting people on campus, and getting to know more and more about my new city (which I adore). It’s going to be a great year! In awesome news – The Ashley Bryan Traveling Exhibit of Illustrated Africana Children’s Literature is now on display in the Barrow Media Center! This exhibit is provided through a collaboration between the Auburn Avenue Research Library and the National Black Arts Festival. The exhibit will be at Barrow until September 27th when I will visit the school.  To support the exhibit, Barrow has copies of six books that accompany the exhibit, a curriculum guide to inspire lessons using the texts and artwork, and a school-wide subscription to Literacyhead. Woot Woot! You can read more about Barrow and the exhibit here:

Chakaia Booker and The Fatality of Hope

I visited the Reginald F. Lewis Musem today to see Material Girls: Contemporary Black Women Artists and was blown away, specifically by the work of Chakaia Booker (New York, NY) who sculpts using old rubber tires. Equally inspiring was the work of:
Sonya Clark (Richmond, VA)
Torkwase Dyson (Brooklyn, NY)
Maren Hassinger (Baltimore, MD)
Martha Jackson Jarvis (Washington, DC)
Joyce J. Scott (Baltimore, MD)
Renée Stout (Washington, DC)

AMAZING. Sadly, I wasn’t able to buy a copy of the catalog because the gift shop was closed…on a Saturday afternoon *sigh*. It’s worth another trip to collect the catalog and see the museum again. There’s so much to take in from the permanent collection. If you are visiting B-more, I highly recommend seeing the exhibit. A huge THANK YOU to Dr. Leslie King-Hammond for recommending this.

Ashley Bryan Honors and NBAF

Ashley Bryan @ Library Lions 2008

I’m a little slow….

After receiving an e-mail last month about speaking with Ashley Bryan at the Auburn Avenue Research Library it wasn’t until I spoke with my friend, Jan Burkins ( this morning that I realized I am being honored next year by Ashley Bryan in collaboration with the National Black Arts Festival!

Each year in collaboration with National Black Arts Festival and renowned illustrator Ashley Bryan AARL honors an illustrator for their commitment to the authentic and sensitive representations of people of African descent and Africana culture.

We would be honored to have you (Shadra Strickland) as the 2011 honoree. The event is schedule for Thursday, July 07 at 6:30 p.m. Honorees are asked to facilitate a discussion about their work and participate in a conversation with Ashley Bryan. This event would also include a book signing.

We would also like to exhibit your (Shadra Strickland’s) artwork in our small gallery during the month of July.

Yeah, don’t ask me how I missed that. They had me at “conversation with Ashely Bryan”. WOO HOO!!!!!!! What a tremendous honor!

Many thanks to Ashley Bryan, the National Black Arts Festival, the Auburn Avenue Research Library, (and Jan Burkins for making me go back and read my e-mail slowly). See you in July!

Art Crush – Wycliffe (Linc) Bennet

When Renée Watson and I had our book signing at the Shrine of the Black Madonna, the walls were filled with paintings from Linc Bennet. Most people would categorize his work as collage, but he uses fabric as paint to describe shapes and model form. The paintings are absolutely striking. I have fallen in love with one and will be purchasing it as soon as I have enough money saved. In the meantime, here is a video about Linc and his work.

Oddly enough, listening to Linc talk about panic and not having enough time to make all the work he would like to, is so familiar. I don’t know any artist who works on a project without conceiving of five more in the process. Without further ado, here’s Mr. Bennet’s beautiful work. Enjoy~

Watch The Art of Linc Bennett in Entertainment |  View More Free Videos Online at

OH NO!!!!

I love original artwork. When I fall in love, there is no greater thrill for me than to be able to own an original piece that I can cherish always and forever. Years ago when I was gainfully employed as an art teacher, I stalked admired Kadir Nelson’s work (still do) and wished that I could afford one of his originals. One day, there was a painting that appeared on his web site titled “Rainbow”. It was a smaller painting, but was within my budget at only $1000 and I loved it. It spoke to me (cue the wind chimes). The image was a close up of a woman’s face with a rainbow painted across her eyelid. I waited and waited to buy it, debating whether or not I could make that type of investment. When I finally mustered up the courage to purchase the painting it was gone. To this day it is one of my biggest regrets. Now it haunts me (cue the weepy violins).

Since then I vowed to seize opportunities to purchase original art when I can.

That being said, 826LA held an OH NO art auction with Dan Santat back in August. I saw that Sean Qualls (who I also stalk admire) had a piece up for bidding and I jumped at the chance to own it.  A few days went by and I won the piece! Happy Day!!!

Not only did I get to add a new piece of art to my (modest) collection and a signed copy of Dan’s awesome book, OH NO! (Or, How my Science Project Destroyed the World), with a signed limited edition print, but I was also supporting 826LA, a non-profit organization that provides free literacy programs to thousands of students living in underserved neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

Concrete Jungle Where Dreams are Made of…

(Taeeun Yoo, this year’s new illustrator and Tonya Hegamin, this year’s new author)

(Taeeun Yoo and Dr. Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the
Ezra Jack Keats Foundation)

(the crew – Paul, Lauren, Bean, me, Tae, Injoo, and Choi)

Last week I spent a few days in NY celebrating one of my best friends, Taeeun Yoo as she accepted this year’s Ezra Jack Keat’s Award. It was a grand reunion and a fabulous night! Below is Tae’s charming acceptance speech.