As a multidimensional artist and educator who is a painter, folk musician, published poet, spoken word and performance artist, tj reddy has developed a deep appreciation for teachers. That appreciation is often reflected in his paintings of fathers, mothers, teachers, elders, mentors and the children in their care. His paintings are most often visual narratives, figurative by nature and designed to illustrate, depict, and portray history and biography. In other words, tj’s paintings tell stories.

In Charlotte, NC, tj has provided artistic instruction and mentoring in a variety of programs and locations. Exhibitions during the past 30 years have been held in many cities in North Carolina, as well as in Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, Detroit, and Orlando. His paintings are in a number of public and private collections in all regions of the United States and throughout the world, including The Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Senegal. Notable collectors include Maya Angelou, Ben Chavis, Ben Vereen, and Representative Mel Watt. His works are in the collection at the Tweed Museum of Art at the University of Minnesota at Duluth, and in Charlotte, in venues such as the Mint Museum, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for Afro-American Arts and Culture; UNC Charlotte; and the Levine Children’s Hospital.

Much of tj’s work is influenced by the artists of the Harlem Renaissance, notably Aaron Douglas, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, and Benny Andrews, who were also visual narrative painters. Additional insights came from his southern heritage, particularly childhood experiences in Savannah, Georgia which influenced his use of materials such as sand, flowers, moss, and feathers; his choice of intense colors in dense rich foliage, especially shades of green; and the thematic elements of music and rhythm. Aware of the African diaspora, tj traveled to the Caribbean, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico for adventure, exploration, and experience. Everywhere, however, he has been inspired by teachers who encourage learning from birth through growth and into maturity, who help us envision what we can become, and whom he honors with many paintings and with his forthcoming book, “Scenes for the Teacher.”

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