Ann Marie Campbell couldn’t get Marilyn Monroe’s mouth right.
It was the early 1990s and Virgin Megastore had come to Sacramento to compete with Tower Records. Already a well-known local muralist, Campbell was commissioned by Richard Branson to paint murals at his Virgin Megastores in 25 cities across the country.
Acclaimed painter Jerald Silva fits many descriptions. Here’s one he doesn’t fit: watercolorist.
“It’s not insulting. I just work so differently from persons who describe themselves that way, I don’t wish to be misunderstood,” Silva says. “Mine is a different genre using the same materials.”
Silva’s style was developed by accident. As a young artist, he was using a friend’s studio while the friend was abroad. He ran out of canvas. With necessity serving as the mother of invention, Silva noticed a roll of butcher paper. He decided to paint on that—until he discovered it was too porous for watercolor.
For artist Laurelin Gilmore, “being publicly yourself is revolutionary.” Whether that means embracing your physical appearance, your personality or your place in the world, being as “you” as possible takes an act of bravery.
Lucky for us, Gilmore is one of those brave people—and she hopes her art helps others feel that way too.
“Anybody who’s a little bit different feels like a little bit of an alien,” explains the artist, who was diagnosed with vitiligo (a condition in which skin loses pigment in patches) at age 9. “Looking to the natural world to see that you’re not abnormal—that you’re not outside of the natural—helped me see the beauty of (being different).”
It seems like a happy coincidence that Jessa Ciel’s last name means “sky” in French. The sky is truly the limit for this creative force who is a photographer, filmmaker, professor, activist, Black Artists Fund board member, and owner and founder of visual storytelling agency IAMCIEL. And she’s just getting started.
“I often feel like I’m a late bloomer,” admits Ciel, 36, who went back to school at age 30 to earn her MFA in photography from the prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. “But I want to have the time to come to the choices that I come to and know that they’re mine. That I’m not doing it for somebody else. I’m doing it for me.”
Krystyna Taylor fell in love with the cello the way many people do—she saw world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma perform. The fact that she saw him on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” as a child should tell you that Taylor has loved the cello for a long time (she recently turned 40).
Taylor has gone on to quite an extensive cello career of her own thanks to that early exposure. The Santa Barbara native started afterschool cello lessons in fifth grade and then joined a swing band started by her grandfather. She reports the group was composed of “me, my little sister and these 70- and 80-year-old guys.”
By middle school, she was gigging on the street and at farmers markets, hiring herself out for weddings and, by her early teens, performing with the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony. She won classical string competitions that paid for her lessons, various music camps and, eventually, a full scholarship to study cello performance at Sacramento State in 1998.
All the world really is a stage for Carrie Hennessey. Though you could describe Hennessey as “an opera singer,” that wouldn’t do justice to the creative mind and talent she brings to productions of all kinds—opera, musical theater, cabaret, chamber music, master classes, lectures, song cycles and more.
“I’m always about being open to whatever the inspiration is,” the Natomas resident says. “When the whim or spark of an idea comes to me, I don’t question it—I roll with it.”