The Pasadena branch offices of the NAACP have transformed themselves into a working art gallery as the branch opened the exhibition, “A Warm Colored Collection” on Thursday, featuring local artists Christen Austin and Amanda Flowers.
Austin, who studied at Pasadena City College and is now based in Fontana, presents her work in a realistic drawing-based fashion, saying, “I just want it to be focused on representation. I think representation is really important and I like to focus or emphasize the beauty of cultural diversity, and the beauty of black men and women.”
As she says on her website, “Art has always been my passion and has since become my voice in a society that seems to limit and silence you at every turn. I have learned that in art, the possibilities are endless and this very idea of possibility is what I want to represent through my work.
“As an expansion of my focus,” she continues, “I want to communicate the importance of representation in art, especially when it comes to art in the black community, and illustrate that we as black people can occupy any and every space, real and imaginary.”
Both artists share a family background in art from their families.
Said Flowers at the Thursday evening reception, “Art’s been around me. My mom’s an artist and my uncle’s an artist. My grandmother wrote stories and different books, so it’s been around me, but I didn’t draw growing up. I was an athlete, but I didn’t start drawing until I was 18.”
As Flowers, primarily an oil pastel painter, walked us through a number of works, some self-reflective, others more abstract, she revealed that her blue hands” painting will be featured in a new “House Party” remake film set for summer 2022. The SpringHill Company, owned by Laker LeBron James and partner/CEO Maverick Carter, is producing the 21st-century remake that will stream on HBO Max.
“These blue hands are something that I just love,” said Flowers, “because I’m capturing people in their moments together with their intimate person, with their child, or with the grandparents.”
A portion of the reception evening’s sale benefitted the NAACP, and the exhibit will run through February 24. It is the first of several art shows to be mounted at the offices this year, according to curator Charles Jones.
A Warm Colored Collection,” NAACP Pasadena Branch, 595 Lincoln Ave, Pasadena, CA. (626) 793-1293.