“Living Walls” Virtual Artist Talk Video on YouTube

Hear artists Genevieve Lowe, Michele Brody, and Jennifer Tomaiolo speak about their site-specific, large-scale paper art installations! The exhibition, titled LIVING WALLS, celebrates our connection to the natural world. Curated by Laura James/BX200, the exhibit will be on view at 1 Fordham Plaza outside the Metro-North Fordham Station through August 2020. . This exhibition is made possible through a collaboration between the New York City Department of Transportation and nonprofit Chashama.

Woman In Water, 2004

Laura James Art Featured on Vogue.com

It’s exciting to see Vogue.com embracing greater diversity! Honored to be featured on the following occasions:

Woman In Water: Featured June 18, 2020 – https://www.vogue.com/article/being-targeted-workout-ads-to-fix-my-mommy-pooch-during-a-pandemic

A Woman Reading: Featured July 13, 2020 – https://www.vogue.com/article/loss-of-appetite-stress-ways-to-cope

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Boonoonoonous Hair! at Indian Summer Festival

Olive Senior reads from Anna Carries Water and Boonoonoonous! Hair at Canada’s Indian Summer Festival 🙂

The first reading starts at the 12 minute mark and the second at the 34 minute mark.

This is a special Saturday morning read-along session with some of Canada’s best loved children’s book authors. Join Olive Senior, Paul Yee, and Sirish Rao reading aloud from their books in this special 30-minute online event for children 3-6 years old. Kids will enter the fabulous world of Commonwealth Writer’s Prize-winning Jamaican writer Olive Senior’s books where they meet Jamila and her electric, kinetic, twirly, whirly, fuzzy, snappy Boonoonoonous hair. Governor General’s Literary Award-winning writer Paul Yee will take them to China to meet a farmer called Bamboo, and his wife Ming’s magical bamboo grove. ISF’s very own co-founder Sirish Rao introduces children to the quirky Indian artist Siena Baba in his Sunday Times Best Children’s Book ‘That’s How I See Things’. https://www.indiansummerfest.ca/event/isf2020-boonoonoonous-hair/

“Living Walls” exhibit open at 1 Fordham Plaza

I really enjoyed programming this space! Grateful for the opportunity to present this work where people still have access to it 🙏🏼🙏🏼 … if you happen to be in the area please check it out!

“LIVING WALLS” now up at Fordham Plaza! With artists Genevieve Lowe @genmacleay and her project “Ataraxia” 🌿☘, Jennifer Tomaiolo’s “Ocean Altar” 🧜🏽‍♀️🌊 @jennniferartist and Michele Brody’s “CommuniTea” 🍵🍵 @mbrody16 .
Through July 31st @ChaShaMa’s Space to Connect: Fordham Plaza 2020 Window Exhibitions

See exhibit on ChaShaMa’s website here.

WHAT: Chashama’s LIVING WALLS art installation

WHERE: 1 Fordham Plaza, between Third Ave and Webster Ave.

WHEN: May 18th – June 30th, 2020

Since January, Chashama has had the pleasure of partnering with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to present three exhibitions in the windows at their beautiful and wonderfully accessible space at 1 Fordham Plaza. The third and final presentation this season, LIVING WALLS, showcases installations by three artists who use their work to celebrate our connection to the natural world.

“At a time when we are all feeling isolated, this display is intended for pedestrians and passersby to remember we are part of a larger, living world, which is still very much alive. With traditional venues for viewing art, and even local places to enjoy nature like the New York Botanical Garden and The Bronx Zoo now closed, a public exhibit like this becomes even more important and we hope to add a bit of comfort in these uncertain times,” says exhibition curator Laura James.

Living and working in the Bronx, artist Jennifer Tomaiolo’s work explores the play of patterns, figurative illusions, and the landscape. Her imagery is inspired by travels in America, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Jordan, and Morocco. The ancient Greek Goddess Thalassa, the goddess of the ocean, serves as inspiration for this installation. From her “Ocean Altar,” she presides over sea creatures, both fanciful and real, in a swirl of ocean waves. “Ocean Altar combines my greatest inspirations as an artist: powerful representations of women, love of ancient art and the sacred patterns and imagination of nature,” states Tomaiolo.

An artist whose work experiments with translating environments both imaginary and real, Genevieve Lowe’s installation, Ataraxia, subtly references the saturation and shift of colors as seasons move from Spring to Summer to Fall and then Winter. Each window showcases a three-dimensional wallpaper of foliage, going from full-color lush greens into monochromatic black and white.

Consisting of a variety of patterns, plant shapes and imagery, the “living walls,” in this installation suggests an urban jungle and flora camouflage. “The sculptures I create are essentially portraits of objects that are very much alive and living in their found landscapes. Utilizing various materials, my work creates a portrayal of these landscapes without using the traditional modes of landscape history painting,” she explains.

Gracing the windows on Webster Ave, Michele Brody’s work ComuniTea shows the culmination of her on-going interactive, community-based public art project inspired by the worldwide tradition of drinking and sharing tea. The ritual performance of preparing loose-leaf tea within special paper filters is shared with individuals and groups, after which participants’ conversations are preserved by being transcribed onto the stained tea bags after they’ve been dried and flattened, ending in the creation of an ever-growing set of fluttering paper quilts. “From afar these quilts form an overall composition of a craggy mountain range reminiscent of the mountainsides where tea grows, while when read up close you see they’re pieced together with over a thousand individual handwritten notes and unique drawings,” she says.

Chashama values the opportunity to create and bring artists together, but with everyone’s health and safety in mind. This installation was completed following the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing and protective wear, no more than 3 individuals were allowed in the space at once. 

Chashama is a 501(c)3 that supports artists by partnering with property owners to transform unused real estate into space to present and create and provides free art classes to under-resourced communities. Annually Chashama awards $9 million worth of real estate to artists, operates 137 subsidized studios, presents 200 free exhibitions and performances, and provides 300 free art classes for 3,500+ participants in the Bronx, Washington Heights, and Sunset Park.

For more information about LIVING WALLS, please visit our website.


Hoodie Collab with Snack on Art, NY

Collabo:  Artists working together w/ Snackonart to create something special. 
Guest artist: Laura James 

This lightweight pullover hoodie is comfortable and cool.  

– 260gsm, 95/5, recycled 

– Made from post consumer waste (40 plastic water bottles)

– Standard fit

– 2 piece lined hood

– Set in sleeves

Manufacturing times are between 5 and 7 business days, and then 3-5 business days for shipping

– Set in sleeves

Visit Snack on Art for more info and ordering

“Book of the Gospels” featured in U.S. Catholic Magazine, May 2020

Let the vibrant art of Laura James lead you through scripture
James’ compositions challenge and inspire toward a deeper understanding.
By John Christman

Liturgists are sometimes fond of repeating an old theological principle: Lex orandi, lex credendi. Broadly, this means, “The way we pray shapes what we believe.” The more varied one’s experience with differing Christian liturgical traditions, the more this truth is borne out. How we pray not only shapes but also proclaims our understanding of God and of ourselves.

Through her art, Laura James has been shaping Catholic worship in the United States for more than 20 years. In parishes throughout the country, as the opening hymn rings out, a Book of the Gospels (Liturgy Training Publications) is held aloft with Laura James’ imagery proudly emblazoned across its cover. As the Word is proclaimed, her sacred images illuminate its pages. We see Mary joyously greet Elizabeth in a verdant landscape on the Fourth Sunday of Advent. We see red glowing tongues of fire descend upon a diverse group of disciples at Pentecost. Each powerful image is a unique visual proclamation of the gospel and shapes the faith of the local community.

Read the full article at US Catholic online or Download a PDF here.

“COME TOGETHER” at 1 Fordham Plaza

Curated by
Laura James, BX200

Artists Chelsea Hyrnick Browne, Antoinette Legnini, and Diana Schmertz reveal site-specific installations in the windows of Fordham Plaza through a collaboration between the New York City Department of Transportation and nonprofit Chashama. The exhibit, titled COME TOGETHER, was curated by Laura James and will be on view at the plaza outside the Metro North Fordham Station at 1 Fordham Plaza from March 3rd, 2020 through April 30th, 2020.

Artist Chelsea Hyrnick Browne’s installation Array of Reflection layers together intricately hand-cut paper, paint and embellishments to form larger abstract paintings. Chelsea’s work is part of the permanent collections at numerous hospitals and centers for healing across the United States. Her work was featured in the Art Space of the famed Flatiron Building on 23rd Street in Manhattan. 

Antoinette Legnini is an Italian-American artist born and raised in the Bronx. Her installation Bronx Faces is a collaborative community art project pairing the stories and experiences of Bronx natives with a mixed media portrait made from paint and recycled materials. Antoinette is a graduate of Fordham University and was recently the Artist-In-Residence at the BX Arts Factory.

Mixed media artist Diana Schmertz presents her installation Declarations on Human Rights, which emphasizes the importance of positive social agreements as an alternative to the current political and social hostilities that surround us. Her ink paintings depict diverse races of people pulling each other up. Each grouping is laser cut with text from international covenants for Human Rights actualized by the United Nations. 

About the Artists
Chelsea Hrynick Browne was born in Athens, Georgia in 1989. After graduating college in Madison, WI, where she studied math and fine art, Browne moved to NYC to pursue her art career and has since created artwork for Brookfield, The Flatiron Building and Cibar Lounge in addition to several hospitals across the country. She practices yoga daily and is close with her family.

Annie Legnini is an Italian-American artist born and raised in the Bronx. She graduated from Fordham University in 2016 with a B.A. in Visual Arts and Women’s Studies. Legnini’s main body of work is comprised of mixed media collage portraits. Today, Legnini is a Teaching Artist with Spark: an art, yoga, and meditation program for kids in New York City. Legnini lives and works in the Bronx.

Diana Schmertz completed her BFA from Purchase College at the age of 19 and moved to Amsterdam, Holland to start her art career as a recipient of De Ateliers 63’ grant and residency program. In addition to showing her work at traditional galleries and museum spaces, Schmertz has made public art supported by grants. Most recently she had a solo exhibit at the University of Maine Museum of Art and a public art work presented at NOW Project Space in Jersey City.

About BX200
BX200 is a dynamic, online platform that showcases a curated selection of artwork by two hundred artists identified with The Bronx. The directory connects the borough’s artists and art organizations to curators, collectors, art enthusiasts, businesses and other artists worldwide.

For further information about BX200 and their full mission statement and more, visit their website: https://bx200.com/


LauraJames Home Sweet Home

“Home Sweet Home” featured in The Times Literary Supplement

This painting, Home Sweet Home, or The Red Bat, has always been difficult for me… interesting to see it used in current issue of The Times Literary Supplement @the.tls to illustrate a review of important American philosopher Judith Butler’s new book, a very good match imo. It’s really great when people ‘get’ my work 😎😎😎

“Judith Butler’s latest book, “The Force of Nonviolence,” argues that our times, or perhaps all times, call for imagining an entirely new way for humans to live together in the world—a world of what Butler calls “radical equality.”

CARIBBEAT: Caribbean-rooted artist Laura James wields art and prayer-power to fight COVID-19 fears

So pleased to see this post in the NY Daily News!

“The artist intentionally shared works that represent various religions of the world, to express the concern for, and connect with, coronavirus victims around the globe. “Religious or not, humanity must get on common ground as a global family; it’s time,” said James, who featured paintings representing “various belief systems” in her post. “I made this post because I wanted to show an example of how one person can easily appreciate and respect different sacred traditions and all people, and we can all do that,” James said.”

See the full article by Jared McCalister at nycdailynews.com here.

Usually a clever memes and social media posts would get a “like” from me. But in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent moving post sparked me to share the creation in this column.

“Really nice. Really timely,” was my immediate response last week to seeing and reading a Facebook post by Bronx-based veteran artist Laura James, whose parents were born in Antigua. James specializes in amazing works featuring religious themes and Bible dramatizations.

Artist Laura James is known for her works with religious themes.

Her March 16 post — on the “Laura N James” Facebook page — linked six pieces of her moving religious-focused art creations with this simple, positive statement: “No matter who you believe in, let’s all meditate on healing our planet and its inhabitants.”

The colorful and inspirational paintings include “Buddha In Deer Park”; “Yemaya” (the West African goddess who is respected in Haiti’s Vodou religion); “Sermon On the Mount” (featuring Jesus with outstretched arms), and a vigilant “Guardian Angel.”

James — interpreting that “humanity is worried” about the virus crisis from news reports and “posts are from every corner of the globe” — shared her art-based message of hope.

The colorful and inspirational paintings in James’ Facebook post included (l. to r.) “Buddha In Deer Park;” “Yemaya” [the West African goddess who is respected in Haiti’s Vodou religion]; and “Sermon On The Mount” [featuring Jesus with out-streched arms].

The artist intentionally shared works that represent various religions of the world, to express the concern for, and connect with, coronavirus victims around the globe.

“Religious or not, humanity must get on common ground as a global family; it’s time,” said James, who featured paintings representing “various belief systems” in her post.

“I made this post because I wanted to show an example of how one person can easily appreciate and respect different sacred traditions and all people, and we can all do that,” James said.

On a personal note, her painting post came after the “Bronx Now 2020” exhibition, of works from than 30 artists, was postponed due to coronavirus-related crowd restrictions. The third annual exhibition was curated by James and Eileen Walsh

Also online, the often-ignored content of some social media posts are standing out for their sincerity and timeliness, in the midst of the pandemic panic.

James also used her vigilant “Guardian Angel” in her social media post to combat COVID-19 panic. (Laura James)

See the full article by Jared McCalister at nycdailynews.com here.