What is art? Some may say it is whatever you choose for it to be. Others may make reference to the visual, literary, performing, and multidisciplinary arts.
What if I informed you there is an artist on the horizon hailed for her 3D Celebrity Visual Art? Joan Cheri’s paintings are sure to capture the essence of her intended muse. Each piece is delicate, wreaks with an infusion of colors filled with unique expressions while capturing the essence of her muse. With respective strokes, she tells a tale of an individual who has made his/her mark on this planet. This is apart of the selection process for her intended target. Before long, Joan’s tones, textures and attention to great detail, form uncanny yet recognizable and remarkable images.
Some of her subjects include Oprah, Beyonce’, Meek Mills, The Kardashians and Nipsey Hussle, to name a few. Every detail is defined with just one stroke of her paintbrush from her pallette onto her canvas.
In any given moment the colors become infused with drippings of glitter, bling and even the lyrics of music associated with her subject. Each piece is alluring and captivating to say the least. As art would imitate life, her love for fashion connects with her love for family. Her brother and mother essentially, have evoked her awareness and desire to be at her best.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, educated in New York City, yet incubated in Los Angeles, Joan Cheri’ has agreed to share her artistic journey with us.
What was it like growing up in Philadelphia with an artistic mother and how did you make the transition to California? It was an amazing experience growing up with an artistic mother. She helped me with all my art projects and volunteered to assist with Arts & Crafts when my brother and I were in elementary school. She always encouraged and challenged my creativity throughout my childhood. I watched her create gift baskets for different occasions and sell clothes from home until she outgrew her home studio. Before long, she had to get a brick & mortar location in Jenkintown, PA. I watched her creative process closely and was extremely inspired to explore Fine Arts in college. In March 2015, I wanted to move to explore new opportunities, and asked my job for a transfer to our LA office. What felt like an eternity, I waited four weeks for approval. April 2015, I was on my way to LAX with a one way ticket, a single suitcase, and my Dream!
Can you share with us how your brother became the inspiration for you to explore fashion as an adult? Yes, my brother passed away suddenly on October 21, 2015. On our Dad’s Birthday at the young age of 30, he was no longer with us. We were only 13 months apart and my heart shattered beyond repair when I received the news. This occurred just two short months after I was walking across the street in West Hollywood, and got hit by a car. I used art as my therapy to help me heal from these traumatic experiences. My brother always believed in me as an artist so I made a vow to myself to reconnect with my art and master my craft. By any means necessary, I had to fulfill my dream as a Fine Artist because he never had the chance to fulfill his dream. He has always been, will forever remain, my biggest motivation, and inspiration. I will do everything in his honor.
Joan, your art is very thought provoking. The piece with Russell Wilson is explosive. How cool was that to be chosen for a project where you were responsible for capturing his likeness and a pinnacle moment within his career? I’m so honored they chose me to create such a memorable piece for the, Dining to Make a Difference Event, to support the Cliff Avril Family Foundation. They gave me complete creative freedom from choosing the image to the canvas size. I didn’t even know it was a possibility that Russell Wilson would be at the event until after I started working on the painting. The evening of the event I received a text two hours before the doors opened for VIP confirming that he was coming and would be signing my painting. It was such a surreal moment and I’m so blessed and grateful they believed in me to create such a memorable piece for the event.
The piece where you captured Oprah’s spirit is simply breathtaking. Where did your motivation come from to paint her onto a mirror? What do you intend to do with that piece? Thank you so much! I started the Oprah mirror during Black History Month. I asked my IG followers who they would like to see me paint. Someone sent me Oprah’s photo from one of her Vogue Covers. I later found out that photo is also her profile picture on Twitter. I went Vintage shopping the next day and saw a beautiful mirror that was used for a large dresser and I instantly got the vision to paint her on it. I had no clue how to paint on a mirror and didn’t know if it was even possible. I was willing to try. I attempted to do so three times until I figured it out. I purchased a small sewing machine to create her top and the rest is history. I intend on getting Oprah’s attention and selling it to her so she can hang in her home or office!
Upon your visit to Houston, you seemed to be in a zone at TSU’s Homecoming. Some artist may have been extremely intimidated with the thought of painting Beyonce’, essentially in that environment. That is one piece that has to be right. Not only did you produce, you thrived. What is it about music motivating you and all the surrounding sounds of an outdoor ecosystem that only homecoming has to offer? Music is my biggest inspiration, it’s an essential element I need while I’m painting. So, being on the yard with all the different sounds, from oldies to new school hip hop was electrifying and helped fuel my creativity while I was Live Painting Beyonce.
I was truly touched by the video you shared exposing the complexity of Nipsey Hussle’s Mural. It was as if you were the person created to capture his greatness inside of a mural through art for the world to understand the weight of a life taken too soon. The video where his mother can be heard speaking at his funeral left my eyes swelling with tears. That was her baby, yet a man that has moved the world. When did you get the vision for that piece? That piece was very special to me, I immediately felt the pain and weight of the world on my heart when Nipsey Hussle passed. I felt inclined to continue his legacy because he made such a huge impact and personally inspired me with his message.
Days after his sudden passing I saw so many artist paying tribute to him but the majority of them were choosing the same side profile photo. It wasn’t until April 2, 2019, two days after his passing, his love and soulmate Lauren London posted a stunning photo of him in a Black & White Puma Jacket that I was instantly inspired by. I spent days locked in my studio educating myself on his music videos, albums and interviews. Each day I felt more and more inspired. The day I started the painting I was shopping DTLA for supplies and I ran in to someone that knew him growing up so I showed him what I intended on creating. At the end of our conversation he told me to make sure I show the world all of my talents, and give them everything I’ve got!
A few days into my creative process they announced they would be renaming the corner where Crenshaw/Slauson “Nipsey Hussle Square” in his honor, and that was when my vision was made whole. I had created two portrait paintings and three pop art pieces so I configured a way to organize and display them in the shape of a square. I stayed up all night until the morning of his memorial.
While I was watching the memorial his mother’s words resonated with me, it brought so much clarity, understanding and hope to my life. So, as soon as the memorial was finished I completed the “NIpsey Hu$$le Square Mural” and posted it on my Youtube channel which has now received a half a million views.
What is next for Joan Cheri and how can people reach you?I’m currently working on raising monies for my first Solo Art Exhibit in honor of my brother William Braxton Peake II. This exhibit will be much more than an Art Show- it will be a multi-sensory experience where we will celebrate the transformative power of creativity. People can continue to follow my journey on my Youtube channel, Joan Cheri Art and on Instagram @joancheri_art.
Website: Joancheri.com Instagram: @joancheri_art