Black History Month: Enjoy Excellent Black Art

Artist Brandon Van Leer with some of his older works depicting Barack Obama and Ice Cube.

Brandon Van Leer is prepared to set the stage for this year’s Black History Month with Black Excellence, the Art Show at Main Street Gallery. The show aims to highlight African Americans across all industries who have exhibited true excellence. While Brandon has worked alongside universities and celebrities, this will be his first solo show.

As an African American artist, Brandon wishes to generate a since of self-pride in the black community for its rich history and culture, of not only the past, but of the present as well. Van Leer says “This will be my first solo art show, and I’m looking forward to it! I’m blessed by my support system and all of those around me.”

Nashville native Brandon Van Leer is a graduate of Tennessee State University, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree concentrating in Graphic Design. After graduation, he began working on his career as an artist of different mediums, balancing graphic design projects with charcoal/graphite portraits.

“I grew up in an artistic household,” says Van Leer. “I’ve been drawing and sketching since I can remember, and I know the household I grew up in had a heavy influence towards that. Having sketchbooks and ‘how-to-draw books’ as a kid has paid off, and once I realized the talent I had, and actually thought about it in freshman year of college, I decided that I was blessed and that I should not waste my God-given talent.”

Van Leer creates portraits of all sorts and, over the last few years, he’s built a collection of portraits of African Americans who have displayed excellence within their industry of choice, including Maya Angelou, Mike Tyson, Stevie Wonder, and Barack Obama.

“There will be finger food, a few drinks, some vendors to purchase from, and I will be selling prints and maybe some originals too. I am beyond excited for this show and look forward to seeing each and every one of you there! The show opens at 6:30 PM and at 7:30 PM is the big new art reveal!”

The event is Thursday, Feb. 21 at Main Street Gallery, 625 Main St., Nashville, from 6:30-9:00 p.m. and is free to attend. There will be snacks and wine to sip on while people mingle. Nashville based clothing brand Live Above will also be present as a vendor.

Vanguard Art Show: 3rd Annual Black History Project by Paragon Social Club and Vanguard Nashville is Saturday, Feb. 16, 7:00 – 11:30 PM at Track One Nashville, 1211 4th Ave South, Nashville, TN 37203.

Jefferson Street Art Crawl
Saturday, February 23, from 6 PM – 9 PM. Woodcuts Gallery, One Drop Ink Tattoo Parlour and Gallery, and The Garden Brunch Cafe will highlight Sensei ArJae Mirari, XPAYNE, Ty Christian, David Ikard, Omari Booker, and more. One Drop Ink Tattoo Parlour and Gallery at new location 1511 Jefferson Street will have their grand opening celebration “Dashikis and Daiquiris” during and after the art crawl from 8-11pm.