In Focus: The Art of Hair

Listen to artist Keith Alan Sprouse and Program Director Serena Gruia discuss The Art of Hair on WVTF and WTJU

About the Project

The Art of Hair, one of a series of community-based art projects highlighting the vibrant community living and working in the Strategic Investment Area (SIA) of Charlottesville, focuses on hair stylists and barbers who practice their art in a wide variety of settings within the SIA. Through portraits and documentary images, the Art of Hair tells the story of these artists, their finely-honed skills, their boundless creativity, the intimate connections they establish with their clientele, and the environments in which they collaborate with their clients to create hairstyles that express their individuality.

About the Artist

Keith Alan Sprouse is a documentary and portrait photographer based in Charlottesville, where he lives with his wife Sarah and their dog Paco. His fascination with stories and storytelling led him to complete graduate work in comparative literature and into academia, where he taught a wide variety of literature and cultural studies courses for the better part of two decades. Later, he underwent training to become a therapist and has spent the past few years working with his clients to gain insight into their own stories and to take charge of rewriting them as a way of dealing with their mental health and substance abuse issues.  He brings this passion for storytelling to his portraiture and documentary projects, creating visual narratives in collaboration with his subjects and sharing those stories in a wide variety of contexts, ranging from art galleries and photo essays in publications to advertising and other commercial work. He is also the photographer for Charlottesville Ballet, a local professional ballet company.