Face to Face: Portraits of our Vibrant City 2018

Welcome to our 2018 collection of community portraits resulting from Face To Face: Portraits of Our Vibrant City

Face To Face: Portraits of Our Vibrant City uses the intimate process of portraiture to connect artists and community members who have different life experiences. Part portraiture and part biography, Face to Face uses the strengths, experiences, and passions of vibrant individuals in our community to inform masterfully created portraits. Strongly in tune with our mission to bridge diverse communities through the arts, this project fosters interpersonal relationships among the people of our city. It initiates dialogue about equity, value, and perception. Portraits are exhibited at the Bridge and then gifted from the artists to the community members.


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Tania Rivas & Aaron Farrington

Portrayed: Tania Rivas

Tania came to Charlottesville from El Salvador just over a year ago to work and help support her family back home. She has a warm, energetic smile, and it was hard to keep her from laughing while I made her portrait. Talking to Tania reminded me of something very important I learned while making a film about immigrants and refugees living in Charlottesville: no matter how bad or ugly things seem in our country, it is a generally a welcoming place full of good people and better place to live than most places on Earth. Tania loves living in the United States, and Charlottesville in particular. She says she has made more friends here than she could have imagined and feels accepted for who she is as a person.

The Artist: Aaron Farrington

Aaron came to Charlottesville from New York City exactly 21 years ago, but he is not a New Yorker—he grew up in Harrisonburg, which was a much different place back then. Aaron makes wet plate photographs, macro portraits of newts and toads, video art, and documentary films. His latest movie is called Know Your Neighbor. Aaron lives in Charlottesville with his wife Jessika, daughter Sylvie, and dog Myrtle.

James Bryant & Amanda Monroe Finn

The Artist: Amanda Monroe Finn

Amanda Monroe Finn is a video artist working and living in Charlottesville. Her work consists of collaborations with artists and brands, daily creative experiments, and artistic wedding videography. Common themes of light and reflections, natural forms, beauty in simplicity and femininity connect her varied output.

Portrated: James Bryant

A lifelong Charlottesville resident, James is a graduate and a long-time employee of Charlottesville City Schools. He retired from the schools in 2016 with 39 years of experience in public education and has remained active in the community. He received his Bachelors of Arts degree in Music Education from Virginia Union University and his Master’s of Education Degree in Counselor Education from the University of Virginia. After graduation, he sang for many years with the African-American Heritage Singers of Richmond, Va. The group under the direction of the late Dr. Odell Hobbs toured extensively throughout eastern United States. Locally, he has served on the 10th and Page Street Task Force and Neighborhood Association, and has previously partnered on projects with MACAA, the African American Teaching Fellows, Upward Bound, 100 Black Men of Central Virginia, and more. James is a member of Mount Zion First African Baptist Church and a member of the  Sanctuary Choir.  

Anne Padilla & Sahara Clemons

Portrayed: Anne Padilla

Anne is originally from France and has lived in Charlottesville for two years. She is currently a French teacher at Speak! Language Center. She lives with her husband and has four children, each with a distinct personality. Throughout her life, Anne has struggled to balance conflicting character traits: her innate drive to explore and her attachment to comfort. However, Anne affirms, “I never had regrets, and I’m always happy with my life – stressed, overtired, but never bitter!” Anne is truly multi-faceted; her closest friends describe her as clever and insightful.  Listening to music, Anne says she “can scream” or have “immediate happiness.” She is currently learning to play the piano.

The Artist: Sahara Clemons

Sahara Clemons is an emerging artist who embraces the fluidity and flexibility of media. Sahara is a senior at Charlottesville High School. Identity, social issues, and culture are common themes in her work. She is currently exploring intersectionality and experimenting with abstraction, particularly focused on societal labeling and its impact on self-determination. She is most inspired by patterns, culture, and the natural world. Her work moves from surface, to screen, to the body. She incorporates various materials including fabric, ink, paint, and paper. Clemons’ works have been shown at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Second Street Gallery, The Bridge Progressive Arts Institute and McGuffey Art Center as a member of the Incubator Studio. Follow her on Instagram: @sgcorignials.

Brandon Dudley & Madeleine Rhondeau

Portrayed: Brandon Dudley

Brandon Dudley, a Charlottesville native, is credited with igniting the city’s hip hop music scene. Brandon, widely known as LeeBangah within the music industry is considered a trailblazer for the self-starting hip hop artists of Charlottesville. Over the course of more than a decade, Brandon has used his craft to engage in local projects to voice the concerns and history of the black community of Charlottesville.

Well-known locally is his project The Vinegar Hill Story, a song and video meant to bring awareness to a thriving, all-black community demolished in Charlottesville during the 1960s, and forgotten due to urban renewal. Writing for the people who “don’t have voices,” Brandon draws inspiration from his own life, his love for his children, and the positive and negative energy of the community that surrounds him. Brandon’s incredible level of passion and drive for his work and music has landed him on the covers of The Underground Fix, The Trap and Media Made Magazine. He has been interviewed by multiple radio outlets including, 101.3 Jamz, 81.1 Hip Hop Interview, Big Mouf Radio, Sound Taight Radio and 98.9 WINA. His notable accomplishments include performing for Showtime at the Apollo, and receiving a Young Film Director Award for his video work from the LA Film Festival. Follow him! @LeeBangah

The Artist: Madeleine Rhondeau

Madeleine Rhondeau explores memory as it slips between the real and the imagined with bright, bold paintings inspired by the graphic nature of Kabuki Theater. Steeped in dark imagery and rooted in personal experience, her work investigates moments of clarity that illuminate and define self and identity, as they relate to the transitional periods in her own modern life, past and present. Paintings develop in an evolving, process-based dialogue with forms and figures that resolve in their own time.

Originally from Crozet, VA, Madeleine Rhondeau graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a B.A. in Studio Art. She currently lives in Charlottesville and is creating her work at the McGuffey Art Center as a renting member while running her own business as an independent graphic designer. Instagram: @merhondeau

Ézé Amos & Maeve Bradley

Portrayed: Ézé Amos

Ézé Amos grew up in Nigeria and has been living and working as a photographer in Charlottesville for the past ten years doing wedding, event, family, and street photography. Always behind the camera, the Face to Face project provided a rare opportunity to get Ézé in front of it. His Instagram is full of black and white portraits of Charlottesville, where the fleeting acts of street performers on the downtown mall are imbued with the same attention and resonance as wedding photos of newly married couples gazing at their spouses for the first time. His photographs are intimate but energetic and reflect his connection with people and his environment. His involvement in the community is apparent simply by the number of people passing by on the mall who called his name and stopped to chat during this photoshoot.

The Artist: Maeve Bradley

Maeve Bradley grew up in Alexandria, Virginia and began studying Studio Art and American Studies at UVA four years ago. She’s currently working on a portrait series for her thesis show in photography this spring that’s interested in representations of artists, alternatives to the male gaze in portraiture, and meta-critiques of the history of photography. Maeve is passionate about art history that combines her love of photography and modern and contemporary art with historical narratives. She enjoys diving deep into historical research projects that draw connections between unlikely characters and uncover new information. After graduation this spring she’s not yet sure where she’ll be or what she’ll be doing, but she’s excited to continue meeting new people and collaborating with them through portraiture.

Lindsey Shavers & Chicho Lorenzo

Portrayed: Lindsey Shavers

Lindsey Shavers could easily be described as a renaissance woman – a student, businesswoman, visionary, and musician. Lindsey is an Echols Scholar at the University of Virginia where she is pursuing her degree in Computer Science and Entrepreneurship. Her academic research focuses on tech integrity and bias in artificial intelligence.

Lindsey has been mixing sounds all her life — first as a classically-trained pianist and, most recently, as a DJ. She’s performed internationally at the Around Hip Hop Live Cafe in Makhanda, South Africa, and at multiple venues around Charlottesville – like the Femme Funk Female Musician Showcase at IX Art Park and the Telemetry Sound Celebration at The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative. Lindsey has most recently collaborated with sound curator and ethnomusicologist, Noel Lobley, to produce UVA’s Music Matters Series, and is working on other music projects with Noel, Xhosa artist Xolile Madinda, UVA’s African Urbanism Humanities Lab, and the International Library of African Music at Rhodes University.

When Lindsey is not in Virginia, you can catch her soaking up the sun and positive vibes on and around Shavers Lane in the historic Bahama Village neighborhood of Key West — the southernmost U.S. island that her family has called home since the mid-1800s. Home to distant cousins and legendary jazz trumpeteers Theodore “Fats” Navarro and Charlie Shavers — and, now, DJ Lindsey. Music, quite literally, is in Lindsey’s soul.

The Artist: Chicho Lorenzo

Chicho Lorenzo (Madrid 1970) has been in Charlottesville, Va, for the last twelve years, filling the city walls with bright colors, and bringing the community together in his art. He’s also an educator and always looking for mutual inspiration, having coordinated many murals with elementary schools and children all around. His work reflects the joy of life, and talks about love and music and fantasy that becomes reality once we remember how to dream. 

He helped create the IX Art Park for two years, with a Dream BIG mural, and many other works, like the bike unicorn, Love sign… He also got involved with many art projects in town, like The Bridge Collaborative Residency 2017, the Festival of Cultures, BON café… Many more murals at Mas Tapas, The Southern, Schools of Walker, Venable, Crozet E, Johnson… Sultan Kebab, Potter’s Cider… plus many more around Charlottesville, Waynesboro, Dallas and Spain.

Remy St. Clair & Jum Jirapan

Portrayed: Remy St. Clair

Remy St. Clair, born in Newport News, has lived in Charlottesville since the age of six. He is a radio personality and the host of the Throne Room at WVAI 101.3 JAMZ. A rapper, and the ‘King of All Weekends’, he hopes to use his voice as a beacon for others to express themselves.

The Artist: Jum Jirapan

Jum Jirapan is a local Thai-American artist and the Bridge’s 2018 public artist collaborative resident. By participating in this project, she hopes to connect, co-create, and strengthen the diversified and unified fabric that underlays this strong community.

AnnaMaria Bakalian & Phoebe Violet Rebhorn

Portrayed: AnnaMaria Bakalian

AnnaMaria Bakalian was born and raised in Marina di Camerota, Italy. This is in southern Italy, in Campania, south of Naples, right on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The beach she grew up on is similar to the one in her portrait. Her mother raised four children at home (she has two brothers and one sister, all within five years!) while her father worked as an engineer building the Marina’s port. She went to high school in her Savona and met her husband in Milan. They got married, symbolized by the bouquet of flowers in her portrait. In 1993 they moved to the United States for his work, to Wyckoff, New Jersey.  Anna was a travel agent there but there were less jobs in New Jersey than they would have liked, so in 2005, she, her husband, and their son moved to Charlottesville, where her husband now works as an accountant for a company in Crozet and she works as a tutor in Italian language and culture. They now live in the house with the yellow door pictured in the portrait. They did not know anything about Charlottesville when they moved here but she likes the open spaces, the weather and the history. Anna likes visiting and sharing the many attractions of Charlottesville, like Monticello, the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, and the Fralin Museum of Art. Even though she is happy here, she misses Italy; the food (Pasta! Pizza! Seafood!), the culture, and her mother, who remains there. It is harder to get to Italy from Charlottesville than it was from New Jersey; but the upside is she has more flexibility here so she can go more than once a year. And there is plenty of good food to enjoy in Charlottesville after all.

Artist: Phoebe Violet Rebhorn

Phoebe Violet Rebhorn was born here in Charlottesville. She is a student at Burley Middle School where she enjoys being in the singing group Burley Bearettes, working at the WBMS-TV station, and hanging out with her friends. For the past two summers she has been admitted to Reflections, the Summer Regional Governor’s School Program for middle school artists. Phoebe loves to work in oils but also enjoys working with pen and ink, pencils, and watercolor. She can also sew and crochet, enjoys swimming, and is learning field hockey.  Phoebe loves the theater and has spent a lot of time in Live Arts’ camps and workshops; she definitely would consider being a costume designer! Most of Phoebe’s art until now has ended up in the hands of friends and family – this is only her second composition in a competitive show.

Phoebe plans to go to college in a couple of years and would consider going to an art or design school.  Her dream is to one day live in New York City in a small apartment with a cat and a window looking on to the fire escape, and have an amazing, creative job.

Omar Nazeer & Paige Speight

Portrayed: Omar Nazeer

I am everything, he tells me
a little purple
Oh but he’s green, his mother says,
he’s also always been green
his toothbrush is green
his sport teams are green

He is not restless
but eager
a crow he says
a crow in spirit:
cautiously curious,
free and sharply intelligent

quite like the way he talks
full and open and withholding all at once,
not to fill the space
but considering the shape of words

would you love me if
and how often

he is a kaleidoscope
cascading his environment
beautiful, dazzling
about to
be everything all
at once. 

The Artist: Paige Speight

I’m an accent of red, she says
unexpected berries in shade
she’s blue, her father says
her room was blue, her shirts

a badger heart, she says,
fierce, eating
all the fruit in the room.

she’s from Maine,
and clings to this identity,
the trees, despite having moved
to here and not gone back.

a full time artist,
at least, until she decides
she can’t be.

she seeks people and their stories,
wraps themselves in her paint
thick motion, real & not
and sends them
back out.

Randy Taylor & Tobiah Mundt

Portrayed: Randy Taylor

Randolph “Randy” Taylor was born in Colvino, California in 1957. He loves all things nature and especially loves fishing, trees, and flowers. He was introduced to drugs at the age of 10 and has been a long-time substance abuser, living life to support the habit. Randy came to Charlottesville to Piedmont Halfway House after being released from State Prison. He has committed to a new way of living, knowing that it’s never too late to achieve his dreams. Randy is currently a student at PVCC with a goal to graduate with a degree in Agricultural Sciences.

The Artist: Tobiah Mundt

Tobiah Mundt’s needle felted wool sculptures have been poked thousands of times with a barbed needle, compacting the wool into its final form. This meticulous and repetitious process informs her work which focuses on capturing the emotions of herself and those around her. Tobiah’s received Bachelor of Architecture in 2000 from Howard University. She has exhibited her artwork nationally, including “Being”, a solo exhibit at Lawndale Art Center (Houston, TX), and in group exhibitions, “Plush you LA!” at Munky King (Los Angeles, CA), “Plush you!” at Schmancy Gallery (Seattle, WA), and “Mortal Plush: I am not your Toy” at Whino Gallery (National Harbor, MD). In 2016, she was the New City Artist-in-Residence, where she mounted a solo exhibition at Welcome Gallery. She is currently Co- owner of The Hive,  an Arts and Crafts lounge and studios in Charlottesville, VA.

Randy Taylor & Tobiah Mundt

Portrayed: Rusty Carlock

When I heard the name, “Rusty Carlock,” I imagined a 50-something scruffy redhead with a big beard and coveralls with an embroidered name patch, hunched over the engine of a rusted-out antique truck somewhere in downtown Belmont. So, I wasn’t expecting to see a clean-shaven history teacher with a love of surfing the first time I met Rusty at The Bridge. As it would turn out, Rusty is full of surprises—the kind that can only come from living an unconventional life. Talking to him, you would never know about his extraordinary journeys abroad or his impressive list of accomplishments. To Rusty, he’s just a teacher, husband, father and surfer who wants there to be more love and empathy in the world. 

With degrees from JMU, UVA and Harvard, Rusty followed his passion into a life of teaching.  His students from his first year on the job, who were predominately from Central America, inspired him to travel abroad to learn more about their culture.  In 2005, Rusty moved to El Salvador to learn a new language and, of course, to surf. Together with his students, he started a sister school program with a public school in El Salvador. He fell in love with the country and with a woman named Marcela Courtade Avilés.  After he and Marcela moved back to the U.S. in 2007, they married and had a son, Sebastián Avilés, in 2011. In 2012, Rusty became the Lead Coach of the ESOL and World Languages programs in Albemarle County and started teaching U.S. history and ESOL at Albemarle High School, which he is currently doing full-time. 

When Rusty is not busy leaving his imprint on the world, he is spending time with his beautiful family, hiking, traveling, surfing, and living his life in the moment.

The Artist: Kristie Wood

After an unintentional 20-year hiatus from creating art, I reluctantly enrolled myself in a painting class in hopes that it would provide me with the inspiration I needed to start creating again.  It worked, and though I stuck with painting for about 6 months, I never truly connected with the medium. It was only after I was introduced to encaustic painting that I found my true passion.

The encaustic medium – made up of beeswax, damar resin and pigments – is incredibly versatile; from painting solely with encaustic paints, to photo transfers, collage, incorporating ink and charcoal and even using it in a 3-dimensional capacity, the possibilities are endless.  This versatility is what left me enamored because I am not an artist who is driven by intense emotion, symbolism or social and political themes; I am driven simply by the process itself, the endless experimentation, and ultimately what I find to be beautiful. I find inspiration in hundred-year-old photos, antique books, and anything that has a mysterious story or history that I can attempt to retell through art. 

In the portrait I created of Rusty, I started by sorting through the many photos I took of him and his family, as well as looking at some of his favorite personal photos from over the years to better get a sense of his background.  I ultimately chose to use one photo that I felt best captured Rusty’s kindness and contemplative nature and then incorporated it with colors and textures that represent land and sea and his love of travel and surfing.