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Ron Herd II AKA R2C2H2 the Artivist: Sharing the Love through Diversity at Mo’s
MEMPHIS, TENN. (January 17, 2007)…What better month to present Ron Herd’s “From Tha Artivist With Love,” than Black History Month in February? His beautiful works embody the message of equality, which echoes through each brushstroke. Herd AKA R2C2H2 as he is known professionally will have his art opening on February 14, Valentine’s Day, at Mo’s Music and Art Café, 3521 Walker. The exhibit runs through February 28. Admission opening night is $7 and also includes poetry readings and a talent showcase by R2C2H2 who also is a musician. The event begins at 7 p.m. Call 901.324.7892 for more info or www.memphisoriginals.com.
And what is an artivist? “My job as an artivist (artist plus activist) is to actively promote understanding, love and appreciation for the creative arts as well as for creative people,” said R2C2H2. “I use my art to break down all types of walls and barriers of prejudice. My goal is to teach the world how to love and not just to tolerate.”
"Lady Sings the Blues"
R2C2H2’s “Tha Artivist with Love” exhibit will share the love through 10 colorful Expressionist pieces with a message including Delta Bluesman, Lady Sings the Blues, Howlin’ Wolf and Lady Wails the Blues.
“I feel artists are like synthesizers, taking in all foreign information and materials and mixing it with experiences and knowledge,” R2C2H2 added. “My art is created through the motivation of three of my main passions: My love of art, my love of music and my love of history, in particular, African-American History.”
Artists that he most admires include an eclectic list including Picasso, Charles White, Van Gogh, William H. Johnson, Romare Bearden, Lois Jones, Archibald Motley, George Hunt and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
R2C2H2’s collective career is as diverse as his message and includes that of musician, specifically trumpeter, visual artist, radio news talk blogger, actor and author.
Currently, he is an art instructor for Coleman Elementary Art Club and is a former instructor for Hope Presbyterian Church (spring break and summer camps, 2005). He was an “emerging artist” for the UrbanArt Commission, Memphis City Hall Project (2003) and an art instructor at the Memphis College of Art (2001). As an actor, he regularly performs in plays at the Hattiloo Black Rep Theatre. As an author, he wrote and illustrated James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant, published by Booksurge Publishing (2005). The book, which was named to the Smithsonian
Institution's "Jazz Books for Kids and Young Adults" list, tells the story of one of the most popular black men in North America who organized the first black musicians’ union in the U.S. It can be purchased from R2C2H2’s website, www.r2c2h2.com or from www.booksurge.com. On the community front, R2C2H2 is a former arts educator at Chips In Motion's Reach & Teach Through The Arts Program (fall 2001-spring 2002) where members of disadvantaged communities are taught about health through the arts.
R2C2H2’s honors and awards are too numerous to list but include a multiplicity of scholarships for both academic and artistic achievement including the John B. Ervin Scholarship from Washington University in St. Louis, where he obtained his bachelor of fine arts degree in print making/drawing. He also received the William H. Kohn Award for artistic excellence, Eliot Review literary magazine (spring 2001), for which he has provided illustrations. He also provided illustrations for African Voices magazine (2004) and is an ongoing illustrator for The Sister Nineties Literary Magazine.
His one-person shows have included R2C2H2: The Movement at Wachovia Gallery of The Richland County Public Library in Columbia, SC (2005); Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale Library Art Gallery (2005); R2C2H2: In The Black at the Ross Gallery of Christian Brothers University (2005); R2C2H2: Visual Stories at the Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery (2004); R2C2H2: Visualizing Jazz at the Sheldon Art Galleries, St. Louis (2003); Featured Artist of the month, Hope Presbyterian Church (2003); FedEx World Corporate Headquarters fall exhibition (2002); St. Louis's Prince Hall, one-man show (2002); R2C2H2: Evolution of a Style at Vaughn Cultural Art Center of the St. Louis Urban League (2002); R2C2H2's Rhythm-N-Art series at Washington University (fall 1999-2001); and TheatreWorks in Memphis (August 2001).
In his spare time, East Memphis resident R2C2H2 embraces another medium. This year, he added blog talk radio to his repertoire with a new weekly internet radio show, “Tha Artivist Presents…at W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio,” www.blogtalkradio.com/weallbe. And he’s created a comic strip (www.soldierboygrip.blogspot.com) and a Web site for his first book (www.jazzlieutenant.blogspot.com). He also has a site with job information and internships, (www.ctherd.blogspot.com).
“Art is diverse in so many ways, yet all the elements involved are fundamentally the same,” R2C2H2 said. And so it is with people.