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Type of Work: Mixed Media

Bio: Leandro

Leandro Castelao is an Argentinean Designer and Illustrator based in Cleveland, OH.

He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and later taught Typography Design and Illustration at his alma mater for 10 years.

Searching for synthetic shapes to illustrate complex concepts, Leandro found his point of view – a way of communicating through images. His style varies between the real and the imaginary. Simple lines and geometric forms coexist within a rhythmical graphic context.

Since 2008, his work has expanded into magazines, books, newspapers, industrial products, textiles, and other media for a recognized international variety of clients, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, United Nations, Apple and Nike, amongst others.

Besides working as an illustrator, Leandro enjoys giving workshops and lectures in various cities including The Hague, Sao Paulo, Bombay, New Delhi, Durban, New York and Madrid.

He was awarded the Communication Arts Award of Excellence in Illustration, and was nominated for the Latin Grammy’s Award 15th Edition.

Portrait in transition by Leandro Castelao.
I wanted to create a portrait in constant motion where its multiple elements can move and morph, transforming and changing the image. Identity is an in-progress construction built by multiple factors. I envision a face made out of different elements as metaphor of the array of factors described by the author that impact on how an identity is created.
Wolf Salomon’s theory of identity talks about vertical and horizontal identities and l wanted to reflect that idea through the direction of the elements within the composition. The image has a set of multi directional shapes and colors moving in vertical and horizontal directions. These shapes and colors are the vehicle to show how inherited attributes coexist with the ones acquired from the subculture outside the family.
I personally think this introduction made by Wolf about the importance of inherited features passed through DNA as well as cultural norms and the acquired foreign traits absorbed from our surroundings is a very powerful introduction. I wanted to reflect that concept in my piece. So, there are a few elements that are easy to understand and probably more predictable. These are the attributes of the vertical identities. The eyes in the portrait, for example, are a very basic iconic representation of an eye. We’re used to it and we easily understand it. On the other hand there are lots of basic colorful geometric shapes. Those are more unexpected and they help me talk about the horizontal identities, the foreign subculture outside the family.
Uniqueness is the result of an intense mix of vertical and horizontal identities.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.

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Lauren McKenzie Noel

Type of Work: Mixed Media

Lauren Mckenzie Noel is a biracial 29 year old who was born outside of Detroit, Michigan in 1988. However, she grew up in South Florida. Her family life was surrounded by artists and the exploration of identity even as a young girl. It was in South Florida where she attended the school Alexander Dreyfoos School of the Arts. It was there that her love for creating grew and was nurtured by many of her Visual Art teachers. Upon leaving high school Lauren soon after had her first son, and shortly after that had her second son. It was her love for motherhood that reconnected her to the art world and sent her in the direction to make creating her full time career.

Lauren has been a part of two collaboration exhibitions titled “US” with her children. Bringing awareness to autism which her youngest son Keegan has. Bridging the gaps between the nonverbal world her son lives in and the desire to create for both herself and her son. The latest Collaboration show was exhibited for a single night at the Cleveland Print room in the spring of 2018.

Lauren’s body of work has varied from the mediums she chooses to her style. Exploring the use of color has always been at the forefront of every series she has begun. Exploring her own self as a woman of color and the identity that she faces as being both black and white. It is because of her background she chooses to play with a constant range of colors. Her latest series which combines the female form and geometric shapes plays with body images and pattern play. Embracing and showcasing her love for color is a must in every series. Ranging from her The Color of my skin series to her work with her children. Which embodies a range of bright bold colors. You can also find many of her latest murals currently around Cleveland, Ohio. The most recent mural was painted in part of a co-working space inside Tyler Village. As well as newer murals going up in Public Square summer of 2018, and in collaboration with RTA.

Thinking about Langston Hughes words “my soul has grown deep like the rivers” reminds me of the struggle but also the wisdom and strength of black men and women. Especially the strength of black women and what they represent. It is in that that I wanted to take this personal connection being a woman of color and how this poem pulls me into its depths and put front and center a black woman. The serenity on her face but also the pain she embodies is shown in the piece.
I also wanted to draw with in the literal bounds of the references to the Congo and New Orleans. Bringing also inspiration from the colors of Harlem which was so important to the poet as well as drawing from the color boldness of New Orleans and the black culture. Color is always my muse and Langston Hughes had a way of evicting so much color through his words.
His references to “the rivers” so often reminds me of the ever continuous struggles black men and women face in this world. I hope with in this piece there is a balance of who I am as an artist and who Langston Hughes was as a poet. Many of the materials I will be using play on a current series I’m creating called “the color of my skin” which for me showcases the beauty that lies within the range of hues of black women. It is my goal to use the same technique to bring about an authentic and organic vibe to the piece that I believe is showcased in this poem.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.

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Katty Huertas

Type of Work: Mixed Media

Born in Bogota, Colombia, Katty Huertas received her B.A. in Arts with a Minor in Art History from Florida International University in Miami, FL. Additionally, she studied visual arts at the Universidad Javeriana, in Colombia for two years.

Huertas works in a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, fiber work, digital drawing, and animation. Her practice focuses mostly on identity, women’s rights, double standards, and animal rights.

A resident of the Washington metropolitan area, her work has been exhibited in Austin Texas, Miami, Florida, Washington D.C., Bogota, Colombia and Brooklyn, New York. Additionally, her artwork has been featured by LED Baltimore, Society6, Tumblr, Slice Magazine, Behance and Positive Magazine among other print and online publications.

Huertas has been commissioned by companies like Lenny Letter, Playboy, Red Bull Music Academy, The Pool and El Malpensante. In 2018, one of her illustrations was included in “A New Year’s Revolution” calendar from which a portion of the profits was donated to Planned Parenthood.

Since 2017 Huertas has been a teaching artist at the Latin American Youth Center, a non-profit that empowers youth in D.C. through art making.

Having immigrated from a different country myself, I feel a deeper connection with immigrants from all over the world. Even when our cultures don’t overlap in many areas, the feeling of “otherness” is a common shared experience.
In his work, Peter Ho Davies explores the hyphenated self. Regardless of nationality, everyone’s identity is composed of many mysteries divided by hyphens. It could be as simple as “woman-mother-writer”, however for immigrants, these hyphens often include the projections of others into our own identity, meaning the acceptance or rejection of stereotypes and expectations others place on us as well as the feeling of in-betweenness of not belonging only to one place.
“The Fortunes” focuses on the Chinese-American experience by exploring different subjects so for this assignment, I decided to portrait a real young Chinese-American woman living in the United States. Much like Peter Ho Davies writes in ‘Pearl’ when he says, “What else can we represent if not ourselves, however uncertain or contradictory those selves might be?” this piece includes the subject as she chose to present herself to the world that day as well as many other exaggerated, understated and contradictory selves. The intention of this piece is to show her current literal persona as well as the many hyphens that surround her.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.

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Kathleen Marcotte

Type of Work: Mixed Media

Kathleen Marcotte is an illustrator based out of Cleveland, Ohio. She earned her BFA in illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). She finds inspiration for her work from vintage children’s books, gravitating toward the texture and limited color looks that old printing processes created. She has a love for printmaking, collage, travel, the Metroparks, and her goofy dog Kuma.

Peter Ho Davies’s novel The Fortunes beautifully explores the themes of identity, race, and immigration. As the novel unfolds in four loosely linked stories from different periods in history, Davies illustrates the complexities and hardships of being Chinese in America. I was inspired by his exploration of these topics and wanted to show what these themes meant to me through my piece for the “Immigration Train.”
The first part of The Fortunes tells the experience of a Chinese immigrant, Ling. He works as a valet for a railroad baron and witnesses how racism allows the Chinese to be exploited for their labor. The train in my piece represents an unjust past, as well as the journey—emotionally and physically—immigrants endure as they move toward a new home.
I also drew inspiration from Davies’s fictionalized account of the life of Anna May Wong, a Chinese American Hollywood actress in the 1920s. Racism in Hollywood and American society limits the roles Anna can pursue as an actress. Describing her role as a Chinese movie star, she says, “Not a star, then. A star gives off its own light. Another celestial body, a moon, reflecting others’ light.” I really identified with this very human feeling of wanting the freedom and permission to express who you are. This quote inspired the celestial sky illustrated in my piece. I wanted to give the illustrated father and daughter a place as a star in that sky.
The Fortunes ends with the story of a biracial writer who is visiting China to adopt his daughter, Pearl. This final part feels reflective of the novel as a whole, as Davies dissects the complexities of racial identity and what it means for his future daughter. As a biracial person myself, I wanted to capture the beauty in the diversity of this country. I hope as passengers sit on the RTA train, they will identify with the illustrated passengers looking out into the sky, seeing their reflections projected among the stars.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.

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Julia Kuo

Type of Work: Mixed Media

Bio: Julia Kuo

Julia Kuo is a Chicago-based illustrator who has worked with the New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio, State Farm, the Chicago Public Library, Scholastic, and Hachette Book Group. Julia has taught illustration courses at Columbia College Chicago and at her alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis. She was the visual arm of Chicago’s 2017 March for Science and has had the honor of being an artist-in-residence at Banff Centre for the Arts in 2014 and in 2017. She is a widely published editorial illustrator, with a special interest in visual storytelling and activism on both a local and national scale.

Julia is interested in exploring the intersectionality within bicultural spaces, particularly those in Rust Belt communities. She lived in Cleveland from 2007-2012, during which she and writer Justin Glanville published the book “New to Cleveland”, an illustrated guide to the city. In the summers of 2013 and 2014, Julia helped to visualize Literary Lots, a nonprofit that transformed vacant lots in Cleveland into free summer programming inspired by children’s books. In 2015, she and Justin documented their experiences in the Buckeye neighborhood for Sidewalk, a neighborhood storytelling project. With the support of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, they collaborated on another book in 2017, “This is Where I Live: Cleveland People and Their Neighborhoods”.

Solomon's research on horizontal identities revealed the richness of communities that I knew little about.
As an artist, I was particularly interested in the chapter about Deafness and the uniqueness of a community that operates around a purely visual language. One quote from Far From the Tree, “If you banish the dragons, you banish the heroes”, gave me a small window into the complexity of being Deaf. I wanted to convey the proud feeling among the signing community of having rather than lacking, that to experience the unique culture of ASL is a privilege, albeit a hard-earned one.
To those familiar with ASL, the woman wearing a laurel wreath is signing the word “identity”. The treasure inside the dragon's cave is not only the depth of the person she has worked hard to become, but also the rich complexity of the person she was born into the world as. For those who don't understand ASL, they will not be able to fully comprehend the entire message - an experience more typical of the daily challenges that the non-hearing face in a hearing world. As Solomon notes, a signing education almost always ensures that there will be a communication disconnect between hearing parents and non-hearing children. I was struck by the love of hearing parents who gave their children access to sign, sacrificing their own relationship for the promise of a better community and life for their Deaf children.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.