Stephanie Thames was born and raised in Illinois, and has lived in Oakland, California for almost forty years. She is mostly self-taught but studied at California College of the Arts and Crafts during her early years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and a Masters of Spirituality and Culture, which she uses as creative inspiration in her art.
In 2018, Stephanie Thames received the Jan Hart Schuyers Creative Merit Award through The Art of Living Black, establishing her as one TALOB’s Spotlight Artists and Featured Speakers. She has exhibited at The Richmond Art Center Gallery in conjunction with Art of the African Diaspora, at Jingletown Art Gallery, at Merritt College Art Gallery and at Float Center & Art Gallery.
She is an emerging painter and sculptor who is deeply rooted in daily spirituality and uses art as part of the healing process for herself and others. In her experience of working with clay, Stephanie has learned that, while it is a beautiful thing for our minds to be open to new lessons; creativity is innate, subjective and needs to be nourished on the artist’s terms.
Jamie Treacy is an Oakland, California-based visual artist, art educator and US Masters swimmer. He received his BFA at the University of Michigan and his MFA from CCA (both degrees in painting and drawing). He also holds a Single Subject Visual Art credential and a Career Technical Education credential in Arts, Media and Entertainment. Jamie’s artwork is imbued with themes of psychological exploration, eco-justice, speculative fiction and exo-biology. He creates bodies of work in acrylic painting, drawing and mixed media cut paper. His philosophy as an art educator is that all youth deserve access to a high-quality free arts education, and that creative inquiry is fundamental to solving the most pressing problems of our future. Jamie is the recipient of the William H. Lewis Watercolor award and an Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation fellowship. Jamie’s work has been exhibited in the California Bay Area, Canada, Mexico and Japan. He currently serves as the Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Skyline High School in Oakland.
In creating a piece, I try to address the impact of identity on individuals, especially what it means to be a black woman moving through society, as we try to navigate through our perceptions and cross-cultural experiences. I hope to engage the senses, awaken, and start dialogue with my art.
Just as I am learning how to self-reflect, I use my art to pay attention to those in pain, feeling challenged or anxious in hopes of meeting each person right where they are.
I pull from deep within myself when I create a piece of art. I ask: What am I feeling at this moment of my life? What am I struggling with? How can I get people to search deep within themselves? How can I get people to start talking and connecting on unspoken issues of what it means to be in these bodies and living the human experience?
-Stephanie Thames, 2021
This series of mixed media works was created within two key contexts: the isolation of living through the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice reckoning in our country. Using the isolation of my studio practice this year, I’ve begun to explore how I might connect my art-making to the psychological practice of Shadow Work (looking at my subconscious). Working with the guiding question “How can I use abstraction as a tool for interrogating my shadow and inner self,” I made a shift away from my previous body of work that was more landscape-oriented. As this new series grew, I realized these mixed media paintings are about noticing the patterns and subconscious moves I make out of habit, and then making conscious “turns” away from the comfortable behavior. Making a conscious turn away from learned behavior has also been an entry point for my own white consciousness and anti-racism work.
I’m fascinated by starting a painting by disrupting a pristine surface, and then throughout the development I task myself with repair and reinvention. Much of this work I created without a preconceived plan, but instead I engage with a process of transforming my initial disruption by creating layers with acrylic paint, cut paper and colored pencil. While the finished work is populated with unnameable forms, it is connected through its study of elemental dualities: strength/weakness, health/sickness and thriving/striving.
-Jamie Treacy, 2021