Portico Artists

Portico Studios include a diverse group of artists who are committed to their art and their place in the Gateway Arts District. This experience includes a willingness to grow in their practice, supporting their fellow artists, and engaging the community in dialogue.

John Paradiso, Curator of Programs

My art is an on-going exploration of gay male identity and the intimacy between men. At times the work is a statement about my experience navigating a sex-positive lifestyle among a prevalence of sex-negative messages. At other times the work is my way to process and honor my feminine side while striving to be more masculine.

www.john-paradiso.com

John Paradiso earned a BFA at the State University of New York (Purchase) and his MFA at the State University of New York (Buffalo). He is a mixed media artist and describes his work as metaphorical and based upon such issues as identity, sexuality, health, and love. He has worked in private and public collections including the Kinsey institute and a portfolio of seven photographs in the National Picture Collection at the Library of Congress, (AIDS portfolio). John served as a health educator and caregiver in the HIV/AIDS community for over twenty years where he developed educational programs and provided peer-based counseling. More recently he was an Artist-in-Residence at the Washington Hospital Center working with adult cancer patients, their families and caregivers. He is currently the Resident Artist-Curator at Portico Gallery and Studios in Brentwood MD, part of the Gateway Arts District, Prince Georges County. Contact: SewManyMen@gmail.com

Tom Hill

I aim to achieve a balance between process, materials, and content. In these non-objective works, geometric scaffolding forms the basis from which organic forms emerge and interrelate. I am drawn to intense colors and build up translucent layers of paint and glitter through brushwork, pouring, and squeegeeing. Controlled accidents play a joyful part in the painting process, resolved through a process of rethinking, reworking, and refining. The resulting panels demonstrate currents of fluid and explosive movement, tempered by moments of calm restraint, and attain an odd and somewhat awkward elegance in balance, depth, and design.

www.tomhillartist.com

Imani Russell

Imani Russell

www.indigosfriends.com

I am Imani W. Russell, creator of Indigo’s Friends Art Dolls and notions and owner of Indigo’s Friends Studio in Brentwood, Maryland. I consider myself a maker, designer, and fiber artist. I am largely self-taught but my influences emanate from the talents of my creative mother and maternal grandma. Both created hand-stitched utilitarian quilts and other wonderful things from worn clothing, found fabrics, and unusual objects.

I created Indigo’s Friends cloth dolls in the early 1990’s. The passing of a dear friend and the fascination with a character in an extraordinary novel I read in the late 1980s, “Sassafras, Cypress, and Indigo” was the inspiration for my creations. This fictional story still informs my work. Indigo was (and remains) my muse. Ntozake Shange’s fiction novel,” Sassafras, Cypress, and Indigo”, was my introduction to the Gullah culture. However, film maker Julie Dash’s, “Daughters of the Dust,” beckoned my travels to Beauford, South Carolina and the Georgia sea islands. Seriously magical. The history, beauty, and strength of the women engaged my spirit. The Gullah are distinctive group of African Americans originally rooted in the southeastern United States during the 18th century. It is the story of slavery, of course; rice growers from Sierra Leone, primarily laboring over rice plantations. Their immunity to malaria often left them without the “masters or slave drivers” around so they were able to cultivate their own forms of communication such as hand signals and the language known as gee-chee. They were weavers and indigo dyers. To date gee-chee is still spoken amongst some in the region and many customs are still employed albeit in small measure. The Gullah culture is a national treasure.

Mary Turpin

Mary is an accomplished fiber artist and a juried artist in the Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria Virginia, a
juried artist in the Arches Gallery at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia, and was the Artist in Residence at the Mosaic Gallery in Fairfax, Virginia (October 2019).

Jaleel Davis

Born and raised in Washington, D.C. I’ve been an artist since the age of 3. Coloring inside of the lines because I could and outside of the lines because it was more interesting. I mastered the basics at Duke Ellington School of the Arts now I make and break my own rules. I’m a visual artist that finds inspiration everywhere and I’ll find a creative solution for you one brush stroke at a time.

Born and raised in Washington, D.C. I’ve been an artist since the age of 3. Coloring inside of the lines because I could and outside of the lines because it was more interesting. I mastered the basics at Duke Ellington School of the Arts now I make and break my own rules. I’m a visual artist that finds inspiration everywhere and I’ll find a creative solution for you one brush stroke at a time.

Artist In residence, Liz Ashe

My artwork is rooted in domesticity and travel, wherein home is holy and sanctioned, habitual, private and wary. Even threat is something beautiful. I am interested in the memorative expanse and claustrophobia of sharing domestic space with landscapes. I see this in the heart of D.C., and in modern poly-lingual societies – certain words are known by everyone, others aren’t, and gaps create a threat of unknowing a crucial conversation. As a Californian, I was taught to be careful of earthquakes as soon as I could crawl. I was taught to never start a fire outside alone because the wind could sweep embers up the coast and burn a whole mountain. I witnessed that my dad’s temper was scarier than any earthquake and learned how to pack-house in an afternoon. I learned to forget about my little brother and protect my mother. I watched birds and wondered about their stillness, ability for flight and their migration patterns. The drawn-to and repelled-from-danger and safety dynamic hold sway in my work. Line quality is crucial, be it ink, welds or sutures. I appreciate the closeness and intimacy of using unexpected materials that otherwise, look dangerous or forgettable. I collect to create a here and impart query in the finished piece. I create sculptures that invite viewers to interact and reposition how they encounter space. I also write poetry, paint, and capture photographs and lost sounds in relationships and landscapes.

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Location:

Studio 3807 Apartments
3807 Rhode Island Avenue
Gateway Arts District
Brentwood, MD 20722
John Paradiso202-487-8458Email Us

Portico Gallery Hours:

Thursday: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Saturday: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
Also by Appointment